Nikola updates electric semi truck plans with new hydrogen fuel cell tech

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Nikola has released new details and an updated timeline for the introduction of its electric semi-trucks.

The Arizona-based automaker plans to launch production of a battery-powered version of the Nikola Tre Cabover tractor aimed at local and regional operation with a range of 300 miles late this year and will follow it in 2023 with a hydrogen fuel cell version for longer trips that can cover 500 miles between fill-ups.

The short cabover style of the Nikola Tre is primarily meant to meet European truck length regulations, but offers advantages in any tight urban area.

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The fuel cell combines stored hydrogen with atmospheric oxygen through a chemical reaction that generates electricity without any onboard emissions and the hydrogen tanks can be refilled much quicker than a battery with the same amount of energy storage can be charged.

In 2024 the company will begin deliveries of the Nikola Two FCEV sleeper cab tractor designed for long-haul trucking on America's open roads that features a fuel cell powertrain with a range of 900 miles, which is 150 miles more than originally advertised.

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Nikola is building a hydrogen refueling network for its customers to facilitate the use of its vehicles and will utilize General Motors' Hydrotec fuel cell powertrain technology in its vehicles.

The company has been reworking its business plan since founder Trevor Milton stepped down from his position as executive chariman last fall amid allegations of fraud from short-seller Hidenberg Research.

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