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Anheuser-Busch Orders up to 800 Hydrogen-Powered Trucks from Nikola

Anheuser-Busch has placed an order for up to 800 semi trucks powered by hydrogen gas from Nikola Motor Company. This order is in addition to the 40 plug-in electric semis from Tesla it ordered last year. Anheuser-Busch hopes to take delivery of the first test vehicles by the end of the year, and the entire fleet by 2020. 

Nikola semis use electric motors. The hydrogen is used only as an energy storage medium and stored in compressed gas tanks. Hydrogen is released into fuel cells, which then combines it with oxygen from the air and generates electric power and water vapor. By not having batteries, the vehicles are lighter and easier to refuel. 

The advantage of the Nikola hydrogen-powered trucks is hydrogen trucks have a much greater range and is faster to refuel. These semis can go up to 1200 miles on full tanks depending on driving conditions and can be refueled in about 20 minutes, same speed as the diesel trucks. Tesla semi has a maximum range of 500 miles and takes 30 minutes to reach up to 80% charge. The performance of an electric semi is also much better than that of a diesel-powered semi, with twice the acceleration and lower weight.  

The disadvantage of the hydrogen system is it requires a special fueling station and network, though Nikola, in the deal signed with Anheuser-Busch, will build 28 fueling stations to fit with the company's distribution routes. Nikola also hopes to build 700 stations over the next seven years to increase availability. The company has pledged to use only renewable power to produce the hydrogen fuel. The stations will also be open to other hydrogen-powered vehicle owners. 

Anheuser-Busch wishes to reduce its overall carbon footprint by 25% by 2025, and these trucks will be a big part of achieving that. 

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