Walmart Canada's first Nikola hydrogen fuel cell semi enters service

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Walmart Canada's first Nikola hydrogen fuel-cell
Walmart Canada has become North America's first major retailer to incorporate Nikola's hydrogen fuel cell EV Class 8 semi into its fleet.
Nikola Corporation

Nikola Corporation and Walmart Canada have announced that the retailer has inaugurated the first hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric semi into its Mississauga, Ontario fleet. The decision to purchase the FCEV Class 8 tractor stems from the retailer's goal towards a 100% alternatively-powered fleet. 

Walmart Canada is also the first major retailer in the Great White North and all of North America to introduce a hydrogen fuel-cell semi into its fleet. 

“We’re proud to be introducing Walmart Canada’s first hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle as a major milestone on our journey to becoming a regenerative company,” said Gonzalo Gebara, president and CEO, Walmart Canada. “This is a first for a retailer in Canada and is an example of how we will continue to push forward, embrace new technology and spark change within the industry.”

Nikola's hydrogen fuel-cell tractor produces zero tailpipe emissions and has a range of about 500 miles (800 kilometers) and, on average, is capable of avoiding 97 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. 

According to Nikola, its fuel cell semi carries high-pressure gaseous hydrogen onboard in specialized tanks, which is a similar setup to diesel-powered semis. The hydrogen then runs through the fuel cell stack, and is then converted to electricity when it's combined with oxygen. Water vapor is the sole byproduct. The electric power is then transferred to the high-voltage power net, which charges the onboard batteries. This power is released to the road via an e-axle with integrated electric motors. 

[Related: Nikola's CEO and software chief provide exclusive walkthrough of improved BEV 2.0]

“This collaboration with Walmart Canada, a brand committed to a more sustainable future, aligns perfectly with our mission to drive innovation and environmental responsibility in the transportation industry," said Steve Girsky, Nikola CEO. "This achievement underscores our shared vision for a zero emissions future and the positive impact we can make together for our communities and the planet overall.”

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Walmart Canada says the introduction of the Nikola hydrogen fuel-cell semi will open the door for additional long-haul travel featuring alternative power sources. 

“As our government massively expands production of clean, reliable and affordable energy we’re creating an environment for businesses to invest and create new jobs,” said Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Electrification. “It’s no surprise that Walmart has chosen to deploy its first hydrogen-powered semi-truck in its fleet here in Ontario. 

Nikola has been making headlines lately. Earlier this week, Nikola confirmed that its battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell trucks have completed more than 2.5 million miles of emissions-free driving. On June 25, the company's Nasdaq stock listing began trading on a split-adjusted setup in order to increase its stock price. 

Jay Traugott has covered the automotive and transportation sector for over a decade and now serves as Senior Editor for Clean Trucking. He holds a drifting license and has driven on some of the world's best race tracks, including the Nurburgring and Spa. He lives near Boulder, Colorado, and spends his free time snowboarding, climbing, and hiking. He can be reached at [email protected].

Hydrogen Fuel Cell & BEV Survey
The following survey was sent as a link in an email cover message in February 2023 to the newsletter lists for Overdrive and CCJ. After approximately two weeks, a total of 176 owner-operators under their own authority, 113 owner-operators leased or assigned to a carrier and 82 fleet executives and 36 fleet employees from fleets with 10 or more power units had completed and submitted the questionnaire for a total of 407 qualified responses. Cross-tabulations based on respondent type are provided for each question when applicable.
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