Hydrogen-electric truck maker Nikola, autonomous upstart Kodiak land investment cash

U.S. Xpress semi truck
Nikola Motor Company, a pioneer in the truck electrification market and one of the fledgling segment’s lead contenders, announced this week it has raised $100 million this month — half of its $200 million goal for Series C funding that the company says will help it scale its operation.

Nikola in late 2016 unveiled its Nikola One tractor, a hydrogen fuel- cell rig that converts hydrogen to electricity, which powers the truck’s wheels. It’s billed as a zero-emissions vehicle. Nikola says the One will be able to travel between 500 and 1,200 miles on a tank of hydrogen and can be refueled within 20 minutes. Nikola says One tractors will be deployed in real-world fleet operations in 2020 and enter full production in 2021.

The company is also working to build a hydrogen fueling network, with plans for 700 stations by 2028. It plans to complete construction of the first two stations this year and have 14 stations running by 2021.

The company says it has over a billion dollars in reservations for the tractor placed so far, including a massive 800-truck order placed by Anheuser-Busch in May.

New autonomous truck developer lands $40 million in startup cash

Kodiak Robotics, a Silicon Valley-based self-driving truck startup, announced this week it has raised $40 million in Series A financing. Kodiak is the brainchild of Don Burnette, who was a co-founder of autonomous devleoper Otto, before it was acquired by Uber in 2016. Uber announced this month it is ending its self-driving truck development program.

Kodiak hasn’t released any details about its technologies or its operations, but, says Burnette, the financing is “a huge validation for our vision.”

“We believe self-driving trucks will likely be the first autonomous vehicles to support a viable business model, and we are proud to have the support of such high-profile investors to help us execute on our plan.”