Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Electric Vehicles

Anheuser-Busch Orders 800 Fuel Cell Trucks From Nikola Motors

Anheuser-Busch has placed an order for 800 Nikola One battery electric trucks. The Class 8 tractors have an onboard hydrogen fuel cell that extends range to about 1200 miles.

This has been the week for news about Nikola  Motors, the Salt Lake City-based startup that is working to bring clean electric trucks to America’s highways. On Tuesday, it announced it had sued Tesla for trampling on its truck design patents. Most saw that as an underhanded way of raining on Tesla’s parade just before the Silicon Valley company had its Q1 earnings call. As it turns out, it didn’t much matter, as Elon Musk did his level best to turn the earnings call into a sideshow without any help from Nikola Motors.

Nikola One fuel cell truck

Today, Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewing company in North America, announced it has placed an order for 800 heavy duty Class 8 Nikola One electric trucks, according to CNN. Those trucks replace the diesel engine found in most tractor trailers with electric motors, batteries, and a hydrogen powered fuel cell that supplements the output of the batteries. Nikola claims a maximum range of 1,200 miles for its trucks. Anheuser-Busch has also placed an order for 40 Tesla Semis.

The fuel cell Nikola will use is being supplied by Robert Bosch, one of the largest global suppliers to the automotive market. Bosch is also the company that provided diesel exhaust control systems for passenger cars during the past several decades, including Volkswagen.

There is much debate about the pros and cons of fuel cells. Elon Musk calls them “fool cells,” primarily because while their waste products are only water vapor and heat, hydrogen does not exist in its pure form in nature. It has to be manufactured, a process that takes a significant amount of energy. It can be made by splitting water into its component molecules, but in the United States, it is usually derived from methane — one of the most powerful greenhouse gases known to science.

Most methane is derived from fracking, a process that is anything but environmentally friendly. It often leads to millions of gallons of contaminated water and is often associated with earthquakes near drilling sites. (Not to mention tap water that is combustible.)

The Nikola One truck will weigh about 2000 pounds less than a conventional semi, even with high pressure hydrogen storage tanks inside its frame rail and a 320 kWh battery. Nikola says it will construct 28 hydrogen refueling stations to serve the needs of the Anheuser-Busch fleet. Those locations will also be available to drivers of fuel cell powered cars. The company says it will construct as many as 700 hydrogen fueling stations over the next few years.

Each truck will store up to 3 megawatt-hours of energy and consume more than 70 kilograms of hydrogen each day. Nikola claims average fuel economy will be more than 15 mpg with a fully loaded trailer attached — about double what a conventional diesel truck is capable of. In addition to lower total fuel costs, the Nikola One is expected to need far less expensive maintenance compared to a conventional truck.

Anheuser-Busch will begin testing the Nikola One tractors later this year and expects to have all 800 trucks in service by the end of 2020. The debate about whether pure battery powered trucks are better than fuel cell enhanced units will rage on, with Tesla supporters vigorously defending their brand.

The truth is that different trucks will be best suited for different uses. Choices are good in the marketplace and anything that reduces the number of diesel tractors on the highways is a good thing for all Americans. Five years from now, a  clear winner may emerge, but for now, competition is a good thing to move the clean transportation revolution forward.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Pepsi & Frito-Lay have been waiting for their 100 Tesla semis for nearly five years-- is it finally time?

Clean Transport

Two years ago, I wouldn't have guessed Nikola would be the one with trucks on the road first!


Zero-emissions when you can, lower emissions when you can't, and a ready infrastructure in the ground.

Clean Transport

Want a Tesla Semi? Now you can order one if you have $25,000 available.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.