Nikola said its long-range fuel-cell semi truck will get as much as 900 miles on a tank of hydrogen when it comes out in 2024

Nikola GM Germany

Nikola Corp. said that its long-range fuel-cell semi truck will get as much as 900 miles (1450 kilometers) on a tank of hydrogen when it comes out in 2024, as the startup works to bolster its position in the increasingly competitive field of zero-emission freight vehicles.

The company released an update Tuesday after having said that the Nikola Two fuel-cell vehicle would go at least 750 miles on a tank of hydrogen. Nikola also affirmed that its Tre shorter-range fuel-cell truck, which can run 500 miles, remains on schedule to start production in the second half of 2023.

The update is meant to show that Nikola is making progress as rivals muscle in to sell hydrogen freight haulers. Last month, established semi-truck producer Navistar International Corp. said it plans to enter the market in 2023 using a fuel-cell system from Nikola supplier General Motors Co.

Staying on schedule is vital for startups like Nikola. The company has no revenue and relies on investor confidence to raise cash. Shares of a so-called bank-check company that is combining with electric-vehicle maker Lucid Motors Inc. plunged 42% Tuesday morning after the startup said that its battery-powered sedan would be delayed and that it would burn $10 billion in cash by 2024.

Nikola dropped 11% to $18.59 at 9:42 a.m. in New York. The shares had almost doubled in the 12 months through Monday.

Nikola said that the first Tre FCEV prototypes are scheduled to begin assembly in Arizona and Ulm, Germany, in the second quarter of this year and that testing and validation would continue into 2022. The Nikola Two 900-mile truck will have a sleeping cabin for drivers and a new chassis designed for North American highways.

Nikola plans to start production of a battery-electric semi called the Tre next year. It will be built in Ulm, Germany, as part of a joint venture with CNH Industrial NV and based on that company’s Iveco S-way truck platform.

Bloomberg was first to report that the first production versions of fuel-cell trucks would also be based on the S-way platform and could use either GM or Robert Bosch GmbH fuel cells.

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