When I first commented on Nikola some readers emailed the technology was vaporware. Clearly it isn't.

SupplyChain247 reports Anheuser-Busch Orders 800 Hydrogen-Electric Powered Semi-Trucks from Nikola Motor Company.

Anheuser-Busch and Nikola Motor Company today announced that America’s leading brewer has placed an order for up to 800 hydrogen-electric powered semi-trucks from the pioneer in hydrogen-electric renewable technology.

The zero-emission trucks - which will be able to travel between 500 and 1,200 miles and be refilled within 20 minutes, reducing idle time - are expected to be integrated into Anheuser-Busch’s dedicated fleet beginning in 2020.

Through this agreement, Anheuser-Busch aims to convert its entire long-haul dedicated fleet to renewable powered trucks by 2025.

Nikola’s cutting-edge technology will enable the brewer to achieve this milestone across its long-haul loads, while also helping to improve road safety through the trucks’ advanced surround viewing system.

The order would be large when compared to pre-orders so far for Tesla Inc’s all-electric Semi and is further evidence that fleets needing to move cargo hundreds of miles are willing to give nascent, costlier technologies a try.

“Hydrogen-electric technology is the future of logistics and we’re proud to be leading the way,” added Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company.

“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. By 2028, we anticipate having over 700 hydrogen stations across the USA and Canada. With nearly 9 billion dollars in pre-order reservations, we are building to order, not speculation, and are very excited for what’s to come.”

Nikola Not Driverless

Nikola is sorely lacking on one issue, and it's a key one: driverless. When I last called them, about two years ago, they had no plans for driverless.

Mish: “How does autonomous driving fit in?

Nikola: “It doesn’t“.

Mish: “In what timeframe will you have it?

Nikola: “We will announce that when we are ready.

Perhaps that's changed. I will give them another call next week.

Curious About the Name?

The truck is named after Nikola Tesla a Croatian-born electrical engineer.

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Tesla vs Nikola

In contrast to firm orders and a real product, Elon Musk says Tesla Semi All-Electric Truck Arriving in September.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his company will unveil its electric tractor-trailer truck this September, calling the vehicle “seriously next level” and praising the Tesla team for doing “an amazing job.”

He also revealed that Tesla will show off an electric pickup truck in “18 to 24 months,” and that the next Tesla roadster sports car will be a convertible.

We have heard Tesla promises before, and the hype always exceeds reality.

Competition is Good

Pot shots at Musk aside, competition is always good.

The market will sort this out.

Addendum

I get 120 characters for a summary. "Nikola is the solution [for AB]". I just added [for AB] using up 120 characters. I also need to add "for now" exceeding my character limit.

I do not propose this technology is any kind of global solution. But it could be. And readers should know that. I thought it was implied, especially when I mentioned Nikola had no self-driving plans. Nonetheless, two readers misinterpreted what I said, one I believe on purpose.

The problem I see is that one company or perhaps a few companies are working on hydrogen-electric hybrids but there are thousands working on electric.

It seems more likely that the major solution will come from the space where everyone automotive company is focused.

Regardless, self-driving is the future, especially of trucking.

Can multiple technologies be involved? Of course. But that also means we need hydrogen refill stations in addition to electric recharging stations.

As I said, "The market will sort this out." But there is still no mention of self-driving on the Nikola website.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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