Battery-electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles maker Nikola Corp. (NKLA:NASDAQ) today announced that its "Nikola Energy division and TravelCenters of America Inc.(TA:NASDAQ) (TA-Petro), the largest publicly traded operator/franchisor of full-service travel centers in the United States, have agreed to collaborate on the installation of hydrogen fueling stations for heavy-duty trucks at two existing TA-Petro sites."
The firms advised that partnership effort is an important first step for the parties to jointly explore the build out of a nationwide network of hydrogen fueling stations. The two firms are still currently in discussions regarding the final details in order to reach a definitive agreement.
The companies stated that the locations of the first two stations will be installed at existing TA-Petro locations in California. The fueling stations are expected to be fully operational by Q1/23.
Nikola advised that it anticipates that the stations will help accelerate the adoption of hydrogen fuel-cell-powered commercial electric trucks. The company stated that together with its Nikola 500-mile range Tre fuel-cell electric vehicle the launch stations will promote the use of zero-emission heavy-duty commercial vehicles in the Los Angeles metro area and California's Central Valley.
The firms noted that the planned hydrogen fueling stations being jointly developed by Nikola and TA-Petro will be compatible with an open fueling network. Access to fueling services will be made available to any truck customer and will comply with the accepted industry standards established for heavy-duty fueling protocols across all of the hydrogen fuel-cell truck manufacturers.
Pablo Koziner, president of energy and commercial at Nikola, commented, "Today we announce an important advancement in enabling the growth of heavy-duty fuel-cell electric vehicles by partnering with a leader in commercial fueling sites and high quality customer services. Our collaboration in southern California will form a basis for building an expanded network of hydrogen fueling stations for Nikola vehicle customers and for industry use overall. This collaboration forms an essential part in delivering the hydrogen-based ecosystem required to advance zero emission solutions for commercial trucks."
TA-Petro's CEO Jon Pertchik stated, "This exploration into hydrogen supply expands on our commitment to provide customers the widest range of fuel and non-fuel offerings, and on our Mission to 'return every traveler to the road better than they came...Through our new business unit eTA, we are positioning ourselves to facilitate the transportation industry's shift toward alternative fuel offerings including hydrogen, a leading form of energy for Class 7 and 8 vehicles."
"We are excited about this first foray into the future of heavy duty, long-haul trucks and look forward to supporting our loyal fleet customers as they increasingly adopt decarbonization strategies," Pertchik added.
Nikola Corp. was founded in 2015 and is based in Phoenix, Ariz. The company designs and manufactures zero-emission battery-electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage systems, EV drivetrains, vehicle components and hydrogen fueling station infrastructure.
TravelCenters of America was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Westlake, Ohio. The report indicated that it is the largest publicly traded full-service travel center network in the U.S. The firm employs about 20,000 people and operates through more than 270 locations across 44 states in the U.S. and in Canada. The company operates primarily under the brand names the TA®, Petro Stopping Centers® and TA Express®. The locations cater to both professional drivers and the general motoring public and typically offer diesel and gasoline fuel, truck maintenance and repair, convenience stores, full/quick-service restaurants and vehicle parking. TravelCenters of America "operates nearly 650 full-service and quick-service restaurants and 9 proprietary brands including Iron Skillet® and Country Pride®."
Nikola Corp. began the day with a market cap of around $4.0 billion with approximately 391.9 million shares outstanding and a short interest of about 10.3%. NKLA shares opened nearly 7% higher today at $10.9911 (+$0.7011, +6.81%) over yesterday's $10.29 closing price. The stock has traded today between $10.30 and $12.79 per share and is currently trading at $11.91 (+$1.62, +15.75%).[NLINSERT]
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