Walmart Canada deploys first Nikola hydrogen fuel-cell-electric truck

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Drivers in the Toronto area may soon see their first Nikola Tre fuel-cell-electric truck delivering goods, decked out in Walmart white, blue and yellow.

The retailer became the first in Canada to deploy a hydrogen-fueled Nikola truck this week. It was revealed at a yet-to-be-opened fully automated distribution center north of Toronto June 27 and delivered its first load to a Vaughan, Ont., Walmart store just hours after the celebratory launch.

(Photo: James Menzies)

Walmart has declared it will eventually become a fully zero-emission fleet, and has become the first retailer in Canada to deploy a hydrogen fuel-cell-electric truck. The vehicle, supplied by ITD Industries, where it will also fuel, has a range of about 800 kilometers.

“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.”

“At Nikola, we are incredibly proud to support Walmart’s sustainability initiatives and to be supporting their historic milestone of being the first retail fleet in Canada to operate a hydrogen fuel cell electric semi-truck,” added Steve Girsky, Nikola president and CEO.

“This collaboration with Walmart Canada, a brand committed to a more sustainable future, aligns perfectly with our mission to drive innovation and environmental responsibility in the transportation industry. This achievement underscores our shared vision for a zero emissions future and the positive impact we can make together for our communities and the planet overall.”

The Nikola Tre carries high-pressure gaseous hydrogen onboard in specialized tanks, similar to how a conventional truck carries diesel. The hydrogen then runs through the fuel cell stack, which is converted to electricity by combining it with oxygen, with water vapor as the only byproduct. This electric power is transferred to the high-voltage power-net, which can charge the on-board batteries, and transfer power to the pavement via an e-axle with integrated electric motors.

John Bayliss, chief operating officer for Walmart Canada, took the wraps off the truck during a special ceremony with visitors and dignitaries.

“Walmart Canada is the first major retailer in Canada to introduce a hydrogen fuel-cell-electric semi truck into its fleet, and according to our great partners at Nikola, we’re the first retail fleet to operate one of these trucks in North America,” he said.

“Our customers can now take comfort, knowing that more products from Walmart Canada are arriving on their doorsteps through more sustainable means.”

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