Walmart first major retailer in North America to deploy hydrogen semi truck

Walmart Canada continues its march towards a 100% alternative fuel fleet with the deployment of its first hydrogen fuel cell-powered Nikola Tre.

With the deployment of this truck, Nikola says Walmart Canada has become the first major retail chain in North America to introduce a hydrogen fuel cell electric semi truck to 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.”

The Nikola HFCEV is a Class 8 tractor with a range of about 800 kilometers (over 400 miles) “per tank” and an 82,000,000 GCWR that can, when compared to a conventional semi, avoid putting nearly 100 metric tons of CO2 tailpipe emissions into the air each year – which is one of the reasons electrifying the commercial truck sector is so critical.

“People might wonder why build a semi truck?” said Elon Musk, at Tesla’s Nevada gigafactory in late 2022, when the company delivered a handful of semi trucks to Pepsi. “It’s 20% of US vehicle emissions.”

Walmart isn’t waiting on Tesla

Walmart Canada and the Nikola Tre HFCEV.

Back in April, Reuters reported that retailers like Walmart and Pepsi were becoming frustrated by long waits and continued delays for Tesla’s electric semi trucks, and were turning to rival electric-truck makers as the moved to decarbonize their trucking fleets.

“Walmart Canada has an ambitious plan to power 100% of our fleet with alternative power. We’re proud to be the first retailer in Canada to introduce a hydrogen fuel cell semi-truck to our fleet as a major milestone towards achieving that goal,” said Michael Buna, senior director, national fleet, Walmart Canada. “As we work to be more sustainable in our day-to-day fleet operations, embracing additional types of alternative power allows us to go further, faster.”

Electrek’s Take

Coyote Container completes historic trip in fuel cell truck
Image via Coyote Container.

Nikola’s hydrogen-powered trucks seem to be a popular choice among fleet buyers – a group that seems especially susceptible to the not-quite-true promise of five-minute refueling stops that proponents of hydrogen often repeat on social media.

Still, it seems to be a solution that’s slightly better than diesel. And, until hydrogen’s fans figure out that battery-electric is the best way forward, it seems like this change might be better than no change at all.

SOURCE | IMAGES: Nikola; Reuters.

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