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Nikola scores huge Bud backing

Nikola scores huge Bud backing

NZ Truck & Driver News

 June 2018   
TESLA ELECTRIC TRUCK ARCH-RIVAL NIKOLA HAS scored a huge deal – to convert American brewer Anheuser-Busch's entire truck fleet to renewable power by 2025.

The brewer, owner of brands including Budweiser, says the order will run to as many as 800 trucks. While Tesla is staying true to its battery electric concept, Nikola Motor Company long ago switched its focus to long-haul trucks equipped with hydrogen fuel cells that produce the electricity to power them.

Nikola reckons its tractor unit will have a range of 800 to 2000 kilometres, with a full load of hydrogen taken on board in just 20 minutes.

The deal, jointly announced by Nikola and Anheuser-Busch, will help Nikola build its hydrogen-fuelling network – with the establishment of 28 fuelling stations on key Anheuser-Busch delivery routes part of the agreement.

Nikola has already pledged to build its own nationwide network of hydrogen refuelling stations, CEO Trevor Milton saying the aim is 700 North...

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TESLA ELECTRIC TRUCK ARCH-RIVAL NIKOLA HAS scored a huge deal – to convert American brewer Anheuser-Busch's entire truck fleet to renewable power by 2025.

The brewer, owner of brands including Budweiser, says the order will run to as many as 800 trucks. While Tesla is staying true to its battery electric concept, Nikola Motor Company long ago switched its focus to long-haul trucks equipped with hydrogen fuel cells that produce the electricity to power them.

Nikola reckons its tractor unit will have a range of 800 to 2000 kilometres, with a full load of hydrogen taken on board in just 20 minutes.

The deal, jointly announced by Nikola and Anheuser-Busch, will help Nikola build its hydrogen-fuelling network – with the establishment of 28 fuelling stations on key Anheuser-Busch delivery routes part of the agreement.

Nikola has already pledged to build its own nationwide network of hydrogen refuelling stations, CEO Trevor Milton saying the aim is 700 North American stations in the next 10 years. The 28 stations will be open to all Nikola operators.

The companies say the first Nikola tractor units will be delivered in 2020 and the trucks' advanced surround vision will help improve safety as well as seeing Anheuser-Busch's fleet begin the switch to renewable fuels.

"At Anheuser-Busch we're continuously searching for ways to improve sustainability across our entire value chain and drive our industry forward," says Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris. "The transport industry is one that is ripe for innovative solutions, and Nikola is leading the way with hydrogen-electric, zero-emission capabilities. We are very excited by the possibilities our partnership with them can offer."

Trevor Milton says that "Anheuser-Busch has a long history of investing in progressive, sustainable technology, and we are excited to partner with them to bring the largest hydrogen network in the world to the USA.

"With nearly $US9billion in pre-order reservations, we are building to order, not speculation, and are very excited for what's to come." "The Nikola hydrogen electric semi-trucks will begin testing with fleets in 2019 and begin full production in 2021," says Milton.

The partnership with Nikola will contribute to Anheuser-Busch's recently announced 2025 sustainability goals, which include reducing CO2 emissions by 25%.

Once fully implemented, the carbon reductions gained from these 800 trucks will reduce the brewer's carbon emissions from logistics by more than 18% — equivalent to taking more than 13,000 cars off the road annually.

Emission reduction has been a longterm focus for the brewer. In 2006 it joined the US Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport programme and in the last 10 years has cut its total energy use in US breweries by more than 30%.

The order is a victory for Nikola over Tesla, particularly since Anheuser-Busch had previously ordered 40 Tesla electric tractor units.

Meantime, Nikola has also reportedly filed a $US2billion lawsuit against Tesla, accusing its rival of breaching design patents by copying the design of its Nikola One and Nikola Two tractor units.

In the lawsuit, filed in Arizona, Nikola says it sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tesla last November pointing out features on the electric Tesla Semi that resembled features on its own trucks, including the wraparound windscreen, mid-entry door and aerodynamic bodywork.

It demanded that Tesla delay the public unveiling of its truck until the infringement issues were settled – but Tesla did not respond, says the papers. And Tesla boss Elon Musk unveiled the truck soon after.

Nikola said the introduction of Tesla's truck has caused "confusion in the market" and hurt its ability to attract investors and partners.


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