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Budweiser switches to Hydrogen trucks – what about Carlton United?

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Anheuser-Busch (“A-B”), the largest brewer in the USA and owners of Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois, Beck’s and other beer brands, has placed an order for 800 Hydrogen-Fuel-Cell EV trucks (“FCEV”) with US manufacturer, Nikola, to be delivered by 2020.

The order is the first step in a transition to a 100% renewable energy long-haul fleet, to be completed by 2025. Michel Doukeris, CEO of A-B, said that the company would “continuously searchsustainability across our entire value chain and drive our industry forward.”

The hydrogen would provide for ways to improve “zero-emission capabilities” for transport, he said.

A-B has already reduced carbon emissions across its brewing operations by 30% in the last 10 years and will use 100% renewable energy in brewing production by the end of 2018. It plans to further reduce corporate emissions by another 25% in the next 8 years.

As industrial production emissions are reduced, vehicle fleets become increasingly large emitters, proportionally, and are a logical step in the journey to zero-emissions beer.

If light vehicles are converted to EVs too, then A-B can achieve zero emissions from transport. If A-B’s suppliers and distributors are required to follow the same path, A-B’s beers can achieve zero emissions per Litre, apart from the bubbles.

Nikola CEO, Trevor Milton, said that the trucks would access an anticipated network of 700 Hydrogen stations across USA & Canada by 2028.

He noted that Nikola had already attracted USD 9b in orders for their Hydrogen

FCEV trucks and would be building trucks (and infrastructure) to order, rather than to speculation. “Hydrogen- electric technology is the future of logistics and we’re proud to be leading the way”, he said.

The supporting network of Hydrogen infrastructure across North America will be funded, constructed and operated by Nikola and their sub-contractors.

Hydrogen is free for the first 1 million miles per Nikola truck but non-Nikola trucks/vehicles will also be able to access the infrastructure at a fee per kg of Hydrogen.

The initial delivery in 2020 of Hydrogen trucks to A-B will be supported by a custom-located network of 28 Hydrogen refuelling stations.

Hydrogen will be produced by electrolysers located alongside the Hydrogen pumps. Electrolysers will be powered by renewable electricity from PV and wind, to align with the zero emissions strategy.

Nikola trucks will be leased to A-B for USD 90 cents per mile, including Hydrogen.

Nikola’s trucks have impressive technical specifications compared to diesel, with faster acceleration, more load carrying capacity, better range (up to 1200 miles per tank), similar refuelling time, better braking and less noise.

Anheuser-Busch also owns Carlton United Breweries (“CUB”) in Australia, which produces many of Australia’s beer brands including Pure Blonde and VB, Beez Neez, Cascade, Crown, the Yak range, Foster’s, Great Northern, Melbourne Bitter.

CUB has already followed A-B’s lead on 100 per cent renewable electricity, and has contract for a 112MW solar plant, and has plans to ensure it has enough installed on site to meet its target within 12 months.

  

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  • palmz

    This is great news for the decarbonisation of transport, and it may help us use excess RE power.

    I look forward to seeing these in production in 2020.

  • john

    I am not sure if this is going to play out in practice considering the cost of a storage facility. About 1 million dollars per facility.
    Plus the fact that Hydrogen is extremely volatile when released with a heat source.
    Why not skip this idea and just go to pure Electric ?

    • Joe

      What happened to the Elon’s EV Trucks?

      • RobertO

        Hi Joe, There a Court Case in the USA over the Truck Design, Nikola is claiming Telsa stole their design of central driver position (with all round views).

        • Joe

          Elon the stealer? Say it ain’t so.

          • Alexander Hromas

            Central driver position why is this such a big thing Tartra motor cars, made in Czechoslovakia, had this in 1936. Their design, rear air cooled flat 6 engine& monokque construction was stolen by Dr Porch to make the VW and the legal case was sorted out by a short German bloke who ordered the Nazi army to blow up their offices. P.S Tara still make trucks

        • MaxG

          In any case: Tesla has a truck that operates; where is Nikola’s?

    • RobertO

      Hi John, Reading the press release they plan a demand roll out, so does this mean that each truck will report it fuel level each hr in relation to its nearest fuel station so that if the station has excess RE it may be able to export it RE into the electrical network to gain extra income. I do not know what their plans are so the only thing I can confirm is that they plan on making a profit (somehow). I suspect that if they can get this up and running then it may turn a large profit for the company. Remember USA Fed Government spends lots of money to support self-sufficient in FF industries support and they may be in talks with Fed Gov to obtain some of that support.

      • john

        One aspect of the truck is the distance it can travel which will mean not as many H2 storage facilities.
        As to being able to export Electricity when prices are high that is a possibility however perhaps not such a good idea if your running a logistics operation.
        Utilization of the equipment with full loads is a high factor in the unit cost of delivery of goods.

        • RobertO

          Hi John, I was thinking of the fuel station, if it had plenty of fuel for all known trucks within its area could they export their spare electrical energy. Nikola are fuel suppliers and their web site is talking of 100 MW RE to run fuel station (somebody somewhere has done some calculations about what you need). I do like this idea of FCEV with battery able to be connected to network to change also. I suspect the answer will be that there will be both, battery only, and FCEV trucks and they will have different general usage profiles.

  • Stephen

    I hope this works out. I’m a tiny bit concerned though since Nikola has never actually produced a production vehicle have they?

  • Pedro

    Store the Hydrogen in the beer. Then you can have a light beer without reducing the alcohol content.

  • MacNordic

    Just from the numbers, I am a bit curious how things will play out in comparison to the Tesla Semi… Does not seem to be a competitive offering, coming in at just below two to three times the cost. Should also be way above comparable diesel trucks.

    Nikola:
    0.90US$ per mile including hydrogen, leased.
    Total cost for 500,000 miles: 450,000US$
    Total cost for 1,000,000 miles: 900,000US$

    Tesla Semi:
    200,000US$ for the truck (assuming founders edition), 0.07US$ per kWh (via Tesla Megacharger, guaranteed price), assumption 2kWh/ mile
    cost for 500,000 miles: 270,000US$
    cost for 1,000,000 miles: 340,000US$
    Unknown portion: repair and maintenance. Some maintenance possible for that price difference;-)

    • RobertO

      Hi MacNordic, I am sure that Anheuser-Busch (“A-B”), have done some sort of comparison, with an order for 800 Trucks (as a truck owner I could reserve my truck for US $1500). I would want anybody that I could find to place information with me so I could make my informed decision as to what I want to do. Nikola planned fuel stations are RE supplied (100 MW) See ps://nikolamotor.com/stations. NEL have been in the H2 market since 1927 so they a well-known.
      Like Telsa, any Nikola accident in the next 5-10 years will publicised, despite the fact that they are in generally much higher safely ratings (Telsa Cars have killed about 5 people in this last year, yet how many other car accidents have killed people that are not broadcast worldwide, NSW was about 350 last year.

      • MacNordic

        The order from A-B indeed intrigued me, especially due to the cost comparison of the available numbers.
        From a TCO point, my money would be on Tesla – that said, I would hold off on any decision at least until a truck has been on the market for a year (and all the kinks ironed out), providing real- world data and feedback…
        Service and customer support are also known and reasonably good at Tesla, from what is discernable from public coverage – and as yet unknown for Nikola.

        • RobertO

          Hi MacNordic, I never trust my back of envelopes workout on the simple grounds that the company I worked for billed about $1 billion monthly. We had a small error one day in one company bills, so we went and told the leaders of the company about the error and the net result from what we knew, as an error in their favour of about 3% discount on $36 million (about 300,000 accounts). They were very pleased to receive the extra discount but their instructions were, that we were not to tell the rest of their organisation. Some 6 months later one person called to say we had made a mistake on one of their bills and they asked (Demanded of) us to reprint all the bills. We let the leaders know about the request and they were astounded that this person wanted all the bills reprinted when they had received a discount of about $300 on that account. The net result was that we were not to talk to that person and they said “Refer all enquires to their manager”.
          Given that we do not have all the information about what they have agreed to, I just hope that they have done their due diligent.

          • RobertO

            Hi All, They would also know what their current TCO for the current fleet is so this order would have to be better than that. Also we do not always find out what extras were part of this offer to induce them to place the order (or maybe Telsa did something or left something out, who knows). Even a simple thing like we will supply replacement trucks if one fails within some time frame. Sometimes there are details kept from most people and this may be part of our problem trying to work out why they did this. Profit is the main driver of all companies, and there will be profit (somehow) for them to change.

          • etmax

            Hydrogen can only be economically derrived from crude oil/gas. A lot of this has to be underwritten by the oil companies. I suspect they will have a rude awakening

          • RobertO

            Hi etmax, Why? You need to read up on Nikola plan, they will tell you how they have started with a company called NEL and NEL have only been in business 91 years producing H2 and none of it from oil. So what is the problem?

  • RobertO

    Hi All, as much as I am in favour of this concept I also need to warn all that this announcement is also company spin, by Nikola. There are lots of questions with no answers, (How many trucks per week or per month or per year. Are these refrigerated setup, using more fuel or just plain cargo or some combo. What is covered by the lease, what the warranty, and is that covered by the lease arrangement somehow).
    Other will have better questions than I can ask!