Tesla Semi rival Nikola Motors aims to be US’ ‘largest energy consumer’ by 2028

Tesla Semi rival Nikola Motors recently revealed a rather ambitious goal for the future energy consumption of its hydrogen-electric trucks. In a post on its official Twitter page, Nikola announced that in ten years, the company would become the United States’ largest energy consumer.

Nikola pointed out that by 2028, its fleet of hydrogen-electric trucks will be supported by an estimated 820 refilling stations operating across the country. Considering the expected consumption of its long-haulers and estimates that each station will fill 160 trucks daily, each H2 station will likely consume 422 MWh of energy every day. At ~820 refilling stations, Nikola expects its fleet of hydrogen-electric trucks to consume a total of 349 GWh of energy per day.

The hydrogen-electric truck startup did clarify that it intends to exclusively utilize renewables for its fleet’s energy consumption. In a follow-up to its initial announcement, the company even noted that it primarily uses solar with wind and hydropower as backups for its operations. Nikola further noted that its energy sources are all renewable, with on-site generation and zero-emissions “from production to consumption.”

Ultimately, Nikola Motors’ recent Twitter announcement gives the company an ambitious target. That said, if the company ramps the construction of its network of H2 refilling stations, its 10-year timeline could prove to be more than enough. 

Nikola Motors’ recent announcement about its energy consumption estimates stands as the latest bold declaration from the startup truckmaker. Earlier this year, Nikola issued another bold announcement, seemingly throwing shade at Tesla by stating that all reservations placed for the Nikola One and Nikola Two will be refunded. As an aside, the company further noted in its post that it doesn’t “use (customers’) money to operate (its) business.” Nikola also announced that companies who wish to reserve its future vehicles could do so for free. On May, the company did get a large order for its electric trucks from brewery giant Anheuser-Busch, which ordered 800 units of the hydrogen-electric trucks. 

Nikola has since adopted a more unfriendly stance against Tesla. The company has filed a $2 billion lawsuit against the electric car maker alleging that the Tesla Semi violated its design patents for the Nikola One. The hydrogen-electric truck maker lists several aspects of the Tesla Semi that were allegedly copied from the One, including its wraparound windshield, mid-entry door, front fenders, and the electric truck’s aerodynamic body. Nikola further alleged that due to the similarity of the One and the Semi, its brand is at risk due to Tesla’s reputation. 

“Tesla’s design has caused confusion among customers. The confusion has diverted sales from Nikola to Tesla. Further, any problems with the Tesla Semi will be attributed to the Nikola One, causing harm to the Nikola brand. For example, Tesla has had problems with its batteries starting fires and its autonomous features causing fatal accidents. Should these problems arise with the Tesla Semi, the market will attribute these problems to Nikola because of the similarities between the two vehicles.”

The US Patent Office granted Tesla its own design patents for the Semi back in August, though, despite the examiner from the agency using the Nikola One as one of the comparison points for the all-electric truck. If Nikola opts to pursue its case against Tesla, it would have to prove that the US Patent Examiner made a mistake — a feat that would be very challenging to accomplish.

Nikola is currently preparing for a three-day event in April 2019, which would involve the unveiling of the pre-production models of its hydrogen-electric trucks, as well as a 2.3-megawatt hydrogen fueling station that would serve as a model for the company’s upcoming network of refilling stations.

Tesla Semi rival Nikola Motors aims to be US’ ‘largest energy consumer’ by 2028
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