Nikola Tests Tre FCEV Alpha Prototypes From Arizona to California

Trevor Milton’s defense is asking Nikola and the federal prosecutors to access the prototypes and vehicles he is accused of having lied about. The Nikola founder intends to prove that he was not lying about them. We’re not sure he ever mentioned a Tre FCEV. If he did, the first two alpha prototypes made a trip from Arizona to California.
Nikola Tre alpha prototypes refuel with hydrogen and head toward California 12 photos
Photo: Nikola
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Nikola talked about that in a tweet published on January 26. According to the company, the trucks made the trip on a single hydrogen tank, and they still had plenty of gas to spare when they reached their destination. Nikola also shared pictures of the two Tre FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) prototypes. Unfortunately, the company did not reveal multiple relevant aspects of the trip.

We have contacted Nikola to learn how big its hydrogen tanks are. We would also love to know if they use cryogenic hydrogen (in its liquid state) or the gas under high pressure. Talking about a trip to California – a neighboring State – is very vague.

The shortest distance to California would be Blythe, which is right on the border with Arizona. From Phoenix – where Nikola has its headquarters – until that Californian city, we’re talking about 150 miles (241 kilometers). Keeping on the same I-10 W highway, the closest hydrogen station in California – around Los Angeles – is 325 mi (523 km) away from Phoenix.

The Nikola Tre FCEV prototypes could have traveled more to the north of California, where there are also some hydrogen stations around San Francisco. We’ve randomly selected one of them, and it is 724 mi (1,165 km) distant from Arizona’s capital. That shows how “AZ to CA” is imprecise.

Another critical question is how much hydrogen the tanks can carry. If they hold liquid hydrogen, they can retain more energy, as Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has shown with its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Boot Zero-Emission. It is more likely that it will use the gas under high pressure.

Learning the precise distance they ran and how much hydrogen they used would give us an excellent idea of what the Tre can do. Considering it is still in the alpha stage and Nikola may not want to disclose too much to competitors, we are not sure we will get the answers we need. At least Nikola talks to the press, even if it is to say it has no comments about something.

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Editor's note: We got some answers from Nikola and you can read them here.

About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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