Anyone considering the Nikola Badger alternative?

DucRider

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100 years ago when the gas vs electric question for vehicles was first experienced, the deciding factor was the expansion and ready availability of gas filling stations. The same is likely to hold true in the electricity vs hydrogen question. Electricity is readily available most places - hydrogen not so much.

If technology advances enough to make on site hydrogen production as efficient as battery charging (90%+), we may see advantages to using the electricity to split water instead of charging batteries. But a major hurdle is going to be the additional electricity required to compress and cool the hydrogen gas to the levels required to fill a vehicle storage tank (currently 10,000 psi). The most recent info I've seen suggests that the electrolysis process itself is currently about 80% efficient, so a long way to go.
 

ajdelange

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Yes, quite right you are. Thanks.
 

ajdelange

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If technology advances enough to make on site hydrogen production as efficient as battery charging (90%+), we may see advantages to using the electricity to split water instead of charging batteries. But a major hurdle is going to be the additional electricity required to compress and cool the hydrogen gas to the levels required to fill a vehicle storage tank (currently 10,000 psi). The most recent info I've seen suggests that the electrolysis process itself is currently about 80% efficient, so a long way to go.
I just went through the whole song and dance as to why efficiency doesn't matter as long as the costs are in the black.
 

ohmman

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I just went through the whole song and dance as to why efficiency doesn't matter as long as the costs are in the black.
But you didn't do a comparison to those utilities investing in grid based battery storage. Which one is more black?

You're referencing curtailment, and I've heard his argument. The problem with the argument, from my view, is that levels of grid curtailment are still relatively low, and with more interconnects, export agreements and markets like EIMs and (see above) utility-scale and residential battery storage, it will likely remain low. If that's not enough, and someone can make hydrogen out of the potentially curtailed energy, why not displace the 10MM+ tons that are going to industry and are mostly being steam reformed with natural gas?

Maybe his plan works out - perhaps they will precipitate a drop in the price of electrolysers where they become a reasonable alternative to battery storage. It seems more sensible to leave that hydrogen where it's generated and use it to feed the grid instead of a personal vehicle.

I've got no skin in the game. I just can't wrap my head around the logic is all.
 

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I just went through the whole song and dance as to why efficiency doesn't matter as long as the costs are in the black.
From an economic point of view, the question is how do you sell your excess electricity for the most money. There are many potential competitors for any excess electricity in the grid. The model seems unlikely to work over the long term. It also means you can only produce hydrogen when the grid has excess capacity, which has its own limitations.
 

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I just went through the whole song and dance as to why efficiency doesn't matter as long as the costs are in the black.
Current hydrogen production is "in the black" at an average of $13.99/kg (with subsidies). This is equivalent to $5.60/gal for gas. More efficiency equals a lower cost that could possibly then be competitive with electricity and gas as a vehicle fuel.
Efficiency does matter.
 

thrill

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From an economic point of view, the question is how do you sell your excess electricity for the most money. There are many potential competitors for any excess electricity in the grid. The model seems unlikely to work over the long term. It also means you can only produce hydrogen when the grid has excess capacity, which has its own limitations.
The pricing of industrial electricity is not usually demand driven but sold in bulk at a fixed price based on the quantity pre-purchased, though sometimes in step (block) increments, but either way it's an agreed contract. If an H2 producer can buy it at $0.04 fixed and make H2 that can be sold for more then it could be sold/stored until the storage was full. Then, as Nikola is hoping to do, gaining a *predictable* demand for it by creating an ability to consume it where steady state transportation is known to occur results in Step 4) Profit!
 

ajdelange

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Current hydrogen production is "in the black" at an average of $13.99/kg (with subsidies). This is equivalent to $5.60/gal for gas.
That's hardly in the black.
Efficiency does matter.
Nope. If he can sell a trucking company a mile’s worth of trucking for less than it costs them now then he has a money maker irrespective of whether his kWh of H2 took 1.1 kWh to produce or 5. It ain't rocket science.

Note that I am not arguing as to whether he will likely get the juice at 4¢ or not because I haven't a clue. His analysis shows that if he can he can sell Class 8 trucking for a buck a mile and that is less than a trucking company pays now so they would be inclined to sign up for his service.
 
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jjwolf120

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The pricing of industrial electricity is not usually demand driven but sold in bulk at a fixed price
Everything is demand driven, ultimately. If the electricity can be sold for more than 4 cents, then eventually it will be.
 

ajdelange

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I certainly know as little as anyone else here but my impression is that if you need 50 MW for an hour you go to an exchange, make your need known and accept bids buying from the seller with the best offered price.

Thinking about this a bit more it seems that Nikola would call the dispatcher and say it wanted to buy x MWh in the next 24h at 4¢ or less and see if any generators were willing to sell him some at that rate.
 
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skyote

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Energy trading is a very interesting business, just ask Enron. There's a lot more to it that only SMEs know, and there are still companies that do this as their core business.
 

Coast2Coast

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My bad for calling GM's agreement with Nikola as an investment. It's more akin to a design, development and manufacturing agreement wherein Nikola pays GM for providing those services.

It's nearly no-risk for GM, except for negative reputational effects stemming from being associated with Nikola. Aside from whatever GM does, Nikola investors and shareholders are free to bring suit against Nikola.

Here's an excellent assessment - the best I've read - of the GM-Nikola agreement.
https://seekingalpha.com/article/43...tm_source=news.google.com&utm_medium=referral
 

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Nikola is doing exactly what they said they would from the start with the Badger:
"The Badger will be built in conjunction with another OEM utilizing their certified parts and manufacturing facilities." This was such an in-your-face case of badge engineering they even named it the Badge-er.

As for the semi, I suspect they have done some engineering as evidenced by their work with Bosch. But this would be more as an integrator than innovator. I think this is why they kept pursuing a partnership with Hyundai - they really don't want to be in the business of engineering, building and supporting vehicles and held hopes of sourcing the semi from Hyundai. What they want is to drive demand for hydrogen.

But even there, Nikola doesn't appear to be bringing any of their own tech to market as they are buying electrolysis equipment from others. What they are doing is trying to bootstrap the so called hydrogen economy by facilitating both supply and demand.

I can't speak to what has transpired behind conference room doors and I haven't read Nikola's SEC fillings so I will refrain from debating whether this is all a genius business plan or a devious business scam as has been alleged. People can draw their own conclusions in that regard. I will state that I think Nikola's actual investors have been dreaming of big pay days and seeing what they wanted to see in Nikola whether or not the facts supported those dream - Nikola's market cap is completely unjustified.
 

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Current hydrogen production is "in the black" at an average of $13.99/kg (with subsidies). This is equivalent to $5.60/gal for gas. More efficiency equals a lower cost that could possibly then be competitive with electricity and gas as a vehicle fuel.
Efficiency does matter.
How is that equivalent to $5.60/gal of gas?
 
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