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Nikola issues a purchase order for $30 million in hydrogen generation equipment

This is a huge down payment on the company's first five heavy-duty hydrogen filling stations.

Nikola Tre
Nikola wants to get America on-board the hydrogen train and it's starting with five heavy-duty filling stations.

The main problem with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is the spotty availability of not only the stations but also of the hydrogen itself. Electric semi company Nikola wants to fix that and has taken a big step in creating a new, more extensive hydrogen fueling network by issuing a purchase order for $30 million worth of electrolyzers, according to a press release issued on Wednesday.

$30 million is a lot of bones, clams or whatever you call them -- particularly for a company like Nikola. Still, if it's going to make its dreams of a hydrogen-powered electric future work, this is an important step toward that.

It is buying the hydrogen electrolyzers (aka the machines that make hydrogen from water) from a company called Nel Hydrogen, which is based in Oslo, Norway, and operates worldwide. The combined output of all the electrolyzers is estimated to be around 40,000 kilograms (or 88,000 pounds) per day. For some perspective, the Toyota Mirai's hydrogen tanks hold just five kg.

"We are building the largest hydrogen network in the world and I couldn't be prouder to have Nel part of it," said Trevor Milton, Nikola Corporation's founder and executive chairman, in a statement. "These electrolyzers will support five heavy-duty hydrogen stations which will cover multiple states and trucking routes. The future of clean transportation is here, and fleets are lining up to be part of the transition with Nikola."

Nikola estimates that it will be ready to submit another order for the remainder of the equipment needed for its stations in a few months.

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