Nikola Motors needs to be understood/categorized as a start-up in the process of implementing its business plan. The construction of its factory in Coolidge, Arizona is underway, and the first battery–electric trucks (BEV trucks) are already with customers. This year should see 300 to 500 of these, along with sufficient capacity for 2,400, which should reach 20,000 by 2023. In Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, the number of units produced by partner Iveco is to increase from 2,000 to 10,000.
Breathtaking racing championships often serve as a test bed for new technologies. But it’s not just Formula 1 or Formula E which are putting the latest engineering advances through their paces; off-road races are also getting a look-in.
A shell company has helped Hyzon Motors make its stock exchange début: SPAC (special purpose acquisition company). The current value of the company is approximately US$ 1.7 billion, based on the total number of shares. Hyzon builds trucks that run on hydrogen. The US start-up sees itself as technologically quite advanced, after all, the know-how acquired within the last twenty years by Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies in fuel cell research has now been successfully transferred to the public limited company, which has only existed since 2020.
As previously announced (see H2-international, August 2020), Daimler Truck and the Volvo Group have embarked upon a joint venture in which each company holds a 50 percent ownership stake. At the beginning of March 2021, the two organizations announced that the company formerly trading as Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co. KG had been renamed cellcentric GmbH & Co. KG.
The highs and lows of hydrogen and fuel cell stocks in recent weeks can be best described as a bumpy ride following a significant and rapid increase in prices. It seems to me that the market has entered a major consolidation phase. Yet this is no reason to lose faith, especially as the wild fluctuations that have been raging since early December 2020 – with some stocks climbing more than 50 percent inside a month – begged a correction. A process which is now in full swing. At the end of the day, it’s the future of the industry that counts and so here I stand by the old stock market maxim: The trend is your friend.
The company Weichai Power, which I’ve so far only mentioned in this column as partnering Ballard, has a revenue around the EUR 20 billion mark and a stock market valuation of the same order. In 2020, a good EUR 1 billion was marked up as profit, with dividends also paid out. Weichai Power has several bus brands to its name and is the nation’s largest diesel engine manufacturer; it has clearly recognized the potential offered by fuel cells in the commercial vehicle sector and, in its own words, is intent on becoming the market leader.
Two years ago, the interest of German truck manufacturers and freight forwarders in fuel cells was extremely low. It’s different today. Almost all logistics companies are now in some way concerned with the question of what fuel their vehicles will be powered by in the future.
The good news is that fuel cells for materials handling equipment are no longer confined to a niche market. Entire warehouses in North America are currently being served by hydrogen-powered forklift trucks. This type of fuel cell application is also becoming increasingly popular in Asia and Europe, but their logistics industries will have some catching up to do.
Hydrogenics (Nasdaq: HYGS) has a full schedule with USD 151.2 million in backlog for several types of fuel cell applications, from truck conversion kits (Scania in Norway) to bus stacks in China to H2 refueling stations and power-to-gas systems. A loss of USD 5.7 million (minus USD 0.45 per share) in the second quarter can be considered a temporary slump, as the company said that some shipments had been moved to the third. Hydrogenics intends to stick to the forecast it had published for the entire year.
Soon, Toyota may not only be known for its fuel cell cars and buses, but for trucks as well. A new initiative called Project Portal aims to build a 36-ton truck equipped with two fuel cell stacks originally designed for the Mirai. They will be supported by a 12-kilowatt-hour battery to provide 500 kilowatts of output and 1,800 Nm of torque at a range of 320 kilometers (199 miles).