It seems like Nikola Motors [Nasdaq: NKLA] was able to stop the bleeding of the past few months. The stock is rising again. Up to 30 million shares are now traded each day, a comparatively high volume for the company. The new-found optimism among investors seems to stem from reports about Nikola’s recent progress in meeting its targets. Construction of the Arizona factory is well underway. Then there are new production facilities being built in Ulm, Germany. And another boost for the stock came when competitor Daimler Truck announced its intention to have 5,000 hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty vehicles on the road over the next few years, with business partner Shell providing the fueling infrastructure. Sounds a lot like Nikola’s business model, the difference being that Nikola will produce its own hydrogen, and be able to keep the revenue, instead of outsourcing the task to another company.
Germany is experiencing a further ramp-up of hydrogen filling stations. On July 31, two new ones started serving customers in Sindelfingen at the A81 freeway and in Pforzheim at the A8. The former, a Shell station southwest of Stuttgart, is in direct vicinity of the Daimler factory that houses the carmaker’s R&D facilities on fuel cell technologies. Stijn van Els, chair of the German Shell companies, said: “Hydrogen is a promising technological field. We expect this alternative engine fuel to play an increasingly stronger role in markets such as Germany, the Benelux countries, the UK and the US from the 2020s on.”
Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh is looking to establish framework agreements with Chinese companies, as he believes the country to be a very promising market. China is said to have already invested more than USD 100 billion in fuel cell technology over the years, as it has recognized that there is large potential to tap (see Ballard). Talks with Chinese-based automotive suppliers are ongoing. In the US, Plug Power hopes that there will be other tax incentives for fuel cell vehicles. The investment tax credits have certainly been a factor in getting orders for forklift truck retrofits. Donald Trump, however, is said to be opposed to these types of incentives as much as in the wind and solar industry.
While some talk about the bankruptcy of start-up eZelleron from Dresden, Germany, others only say that the headquarters were relocated to the US. How much truth is to these rumors? First, what is certain is that the delivery of fuel cell device kraftwerk will be late, as bankruptcy proceedings for eZelleron GmbH began on April 18, 2016, at the local court in Dresden.
What impact does the ongoing electrification of the automotive industry have? Which technology fields will be affected by the structural changes? What needs to be done not to lag behind? Questions like these are a concern especially to regions highly dependent on the car industry. In a search for answers, the State Agency for Electric Mobility and Fuel Cell Technology, e-mobil BW