Nikola fell from grace when Hindenburg Research accused it and its founder, Trevor Milton, of lying to investors. Milton is no longer at the company. GM just didn’t say it quit its partnership with the startup to avoid admitting it did lousy due diligence about it. Despite all that, Nikola seems to be doing good. Its CEO recently promised to mass-produce hydrogen.
Although hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element in the universe, it still lacks a fueling network that could make FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles) more attractive. They already are the clean vehicles that make more sense for carrying cargo. Despite that, they are not viable without proper refueling infrastructure.
That is why Mark Russell saying Nikola will mass-produce hydrogen in the video below suggests the company will keep committed to creating this hydrogen network. When Trevor Milton was around, the idea was to use electrolyzers associated with PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) along main federal transmission lines.
The latest we heard about these hydrogen plans does not include producing green hydrogen. Opal Fuels will associate with Nikola to obtain the gas from biomethane, a renewable natural gas. That makes the hydrogen coming from this process be classified as blue hydrogen, with some carbon emissions – even if it was already taken from the atmosphere instead of coming from fossil sources.
To be more specific, Russell said that Nikola would start mass-producing hydrogen “by the time that truck rolls out of here.” He was referring to the Tre BEV that was about to leave the production line. That probably means that Nikola already is producing the precious gas. We’ll try to check that with the company.
Trevor Milton was often accused of trying to copy Tesla. He was very active on Twitter, which some saw as an effort to be like Elon Musk. Establishing a hydrogen network was seen as one of these attempts to follow Tesla’s steps. If the competitor created its Supercharging network and it became one of Tesla’s most important advantages, Nikola could create a hydrogen network.
The difference is that it would focus on all FCEVs instead of only on Nikola’s vehicles. From what Russell stated in the video below, that may be happening right now.