Hydrogen truck maker Nikola Motors has announced that it has opened its first ever H2 refuelling station, for trucks only, in the California city of Ontario, 35 miles (56km) of downtown Los Angeles — on the same road as an existing Shell H2 filling stop for trucks.

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Nikola’s new Hyla-branded refuelling station — one of six to be built across southern California with $58.2m of grants from a range of local public bodies — consists of a mobile liquid-hydrogen tanker with a built-in dispenser.

According to photos and a video released by Nikola, the filling station is separated from trucks by a temporary plastic barrier, with the pump manned by a Nikola operator, rather than it being a self-service station.

Curiously, it has been sited at 2445 E Guasti Road, a ten-minute drive from Shell’s own self-service hydrogen truck filling station at 4325 E Guasti Road, Ontario — both of which are a stone’s throw from the Interstate 10 highway, which runs from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida. The state’s other two truck-only hydrogen filling stations are both close to the Port of Long Beach.

The new Ontario refuelling stop will be able to fuel up to 40 Nikola hydrogen-powered Class 8 trucks daily, although it will also be open to other brands of trucks.

The company plans to open 60 H2 refuelling stations by 2026, with nine installed by the end of the first half of 2024.

“Easing the transition to a zero-emission trucking future and prioritising access to a hydrogen solution network is our top objective and we're just getting started,” said Nikola’s president of energy, Ole Hoefelmann.

“Once the nine planned solutions are in place by mid-2024, Nikola will have established one of the world's largest heavy-duty hydrogen refueling networks, providing customers accessibility at their current locations and along their planned routes.

It is a bold move for Nikola Motors, given its current financial situation. According to its most recent financial statement, for Q3 2023, the Arizona-based company has accumulated $2.9bn losses since its foundation ten years ago, and its share price has fallen so low that it is now facing delisting from the Nasdaq stock exchange.