The Anonymous Widower

Hydrogen Truck Startup Nikola’s Valuation Jumps To $3 Billion With Investment From CNH Industrial

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Forbes.

This is the first paragraph.

Nikola Motor, an Arizona startup that wants to shake up the trucking world with zero-emission hydrogen and battery-powered semis, is making progress toward a $1 billion fundraising goal to get its technology on the road as CNH Industrial committed to a quarter of that amount.

Note that CNH is the company, that owns Iveco.

If you read the whole article, you will find the following.

  • Nikola Motor have a simple model based on hydrogen-powered trucks and a network of zero-carbon hydrogen filling stations.
  • They are backed by large well-known companies like Bosch.
  • Hydrogen-powered trucks should be lighter in weight than battery-powered ones like the Tesla Semi.

Given the financial backing seems to be flowing to Nikola Motor and the simple business model, I feel the company’s objectives may be attained.

Would Nikola Motor’s Business Model Work In The UK?

Consider.

  • UK heavy trucks may be smaller than some American big rigs, but are very similar, if not the same to those used all over Europe, with the driver’s seat on the other side.
  • Many large users of heavy trucks, deliver goods from a large distribution centre, seaport or airport.
  • The UK’s power network is generally reliable and is increasingly powered by renewable sources.
  • Parts of the UK are developing a hydrogen network.

Because of our electrical grid and hydrogen availability, Nikola Motor’s filling station concept in a densely-populated smaller UK, might be a modified version of that used in the wide-open spaces of North America.

I can’t see any reason why if Nikola Motor’s hydrogen-powered trucks are successful in North America, they wouldn’t be successful in the UK.

A Zero-Carbon Distribution System For A Large Retailer

Retailers like Asda, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco and many others distribute product to their stores by heavy truck, usually from a large distribution centre in the middle of the country.

Tesco even make a lot of fuss about creating less CO2, by moving goods up and down the country by rail.

A Tesco-Branded Train

Because of retailers’ centralised model based on trucks from a distribution depot, using hydrogen-powered trucks, would not require a great change in the method or operation.

  • Diesel traction would be replaced by hydrogen traction.
  • The depot would have a hydrogen filling station, either using locally-created or piped hydrogen.
  • Trucks would leave the depot with enough hydrogen to do a full delivery without refuelling and return to base.

But think of the advertising, if all the company’s heavy trucks displayed proudly that they were hydrogen-powered and emitted no CO2.

As supermarkets are like sheep and follow each others’ good ideas, if it worked for the first company, it wouldn’t be long before several others went down the hydrogen-powered route.

Would Hydrogen P{ower Work With Other Vehicle Fleets?

Many vehicles that I see in London and other large cities are members of large fleets based in those cities.

  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Delivery vans
  • Cement trucks.
  • Refuse trucks.

If cities are going to effectively ban diesel, there are only two alternatives battery and hydrogen.

Some vehicles will be better suited to battery power, especially if they could be charged overnight at the central depot, but other like double-deck buses and cement trucks may be better suited to hydrogen.

Cement trucks could be a niche market, where Nikola Motor could produce a very attractive package of trucks and a filling station.

Conclusion

If Nikola Motor is successful in the next few years, they could prove that hydrogenpowered vehicles are not a novelty, but a serious zero-carbon alternative, that is affordable.

 

 

 

September 4, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,

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