Anheuser-Busch announced Thursday it has ordered up to 800 Nikola hydrogen-electric semi-trucks, according to engadget. The company plans to put them in service in 2020 as part of converting its entire long-haul fleet to renewable power by 2025.
The AB order is a combination of Nikola One sleepers and Nikola Two day cabs. All of the trucks will be delivered with the ability to run as fully autonomous vehicles but that capability will not be activated until proven safe and driverless systems are properly regulated.
Engadget says the reason AB chose the Nikola brand over Tesla's electric rig for the larger order comes down to range. Nikola says its semis can travel between 500 to 1,200 miles on a full tank versus Tesla's 500-mile maximum. Anheuser-Busch ordered 40 Tesla Semi trucks last December which will be used on short routes.
As part of the deal, Nikola will build 28 hydrogen fueling stations to support Anheuser's distribution routes. Over the next seven years, Nikola intends to build about 700 fueling stations which will be open to any hydrogen-electric vehicle.
Bud did not release the cost of the order but Nikola's business model is leasing its trucks on a per mile basis, with the lease payments covering the truck, fuel, maintenance and warranty. According to The Verge, Ryder Services handles all of Nikola's sales and service work. Fitzgerald, best known for its glider kits, will assemble the trucks.
Last week, Nikola filed a patent lawsuit against Tesla alleging design patent infringements. Both companies are named after the Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla.
image: Nikola Motor Company