Nikola and FirstElement Fuel (FEF), a specialist in hydrogen refuelling station solutions, have formalized a ten-year agreement to refuel Nikola’s hydrogen fuel cell electric truck at FEF’s hydrogen refuelling station in Oakland, California.

The companies say the collaboration ‘unifies their commitment to driving the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and marks a significant step towards a greener and more sustainable tomorrow’.

Under the strategic partnership, FEF is appointed as an authorised ‘Nikola Fuelling Solutions Partner’. The collaboration enables Nikola customers to access fuelling services at the new FEF multi-use heavy-duty truck station situated strategically near the port in Oakland, Calif.

The station, which uses FEF’s proprietary design, anticipates a fuelling capacity of approximately 200 trucks per day, and will have the world’s first heavy-duty truck H70 fast-fill lane for efficient hydrogen refuelling. The station received funding from the California Energy Commission under the NorCal Zero Project.

“FirstElement is a recognised leader in hydrogen vehicle fuelling in California, and the Nikola team is inspired by the immense possibilities created by this agreement,” said Nikola President of Energy, Joe Cappello. “Our customers now have access to fuel at FEF’s first heavy-duty site in Oakland, California. With additional stations planned, this signifies a powerful synergy between Nikola and FEF, driving us towards a shared vision of a future with cleaner and more sustainable solutions.”

Nikola plans to utilise several paths to achieve a network of up to 60 stations in the coming years, including mobile and permanent HYLA branded stations, customer-owned stations, and new and established public truck stops via Nikola’s fuelling station partner network. Two fuelling solutions locations are slated by the end of 2023 — one HYLA branded fueling station in Ontario, Calif. and the FEF Oakland location. Several additional fuelling solutions locations are planned by the close of Q2 2024.

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By GlobalData

Nikola’s broader strategy involves working with industry-leading partners to ensure a robust hydrogen supply chain, transport logistics, storage solutions, and dispensing locations. As Nikola previously announced, enough energy offtake has been secured to support customer operations through the beginning of 2024. The team is actively working to secure additional hydrogen offtake for future sales while continuing to develop the refuelling ecosystem.

“This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to transform the transportation industry and we are proud to play a role in powering Nikola’s innovative hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks,” said Joel Ewanick, Founder and Executive Chairman of FEF. “We are confident the synergy between our shared expertise and vision will help to reshape the landscape of clean and sustainable transportation, driving towards a future powered by hydrogen.”

California leads in reducing carbon emissions, especially in high-traffic ports, with Nikola’s Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric truck playing a crucial role in advancing these initiatives, Nikola says.

FEF is in the process of installing a number of hydrogen refuelling stations capable of fast-filling for Class 8 trucks.

Nikola plans to develop a series of new hydrogen fuelling locations under the brand name HYLA throughout Southern Calif. in the coming months followed by Northern Calif. to support the recent launch of the Nikola hydrogen fuel cell electric truck.  Supplementing these stations will be a network of hydrogen fuelling solution partners that will create additional hydrogen fuelling opportunities for Nikola customers.

Nikola says the combination of these hydrogen fuelling options will help facilitate the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks and the decarbonization of transportation.