Colorado Welcomes Arrival of New Zero-Emissions Big Rigs 

Zero-Emission Vehicle Portfolio Lineup Includes a Re-Engineered Cabover and a Projected 900-Mile Range Sleeper (image courtesy nikolamotor.com)

New All-Electric Trucks Will Help Colorado Meet Its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals and Save Consumers Money

Roads in Colorado will soon be seeing green 18-wheelers — big trucks with plenty of power but zero emissions.

That’s the result of Nikola Corp.’s announcement recently that it would begin selling its new Nikola Tre truck in Colorado through Wagner Equipment Co. Colorado Energy Office Director Will Toor and Colorado Department of Transportation Office of Innovative Mobility Chief Kay Kelly on Tuesday joined officials from Nikola, Wagner Equipment and the Colorado Motor Carriers Association to hail the arrival of the electric big rigs.

A Nikola Tre truck, recently on display at the Capitol, is a fully battery-electric vehicle (BEV) offering a range of up to 350 miles. Beginning in 2023, Wagner will also include the Nikola Tre hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as part of its portfolio of trucks.

“Colorado recently released a draft Clean Truck Strategy, which is among the most comprehensive plans in the U.S. to build and scale the market for zero-emission trucks,” said Toor. “This strategy will reduce air pollution in our most vulnerable and polluted corridors across the state and help us achieve our climate goals. The strategy includes ambitious plans to transition to zero-emissions electric and hydrogen trucks and buses. It’s great to see the Nikola Tre here today as a real-world example of an electric heavy-duty truck.”

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like tractor-trailers represent less than 10% of all the vehicles on the road but are responsible for 22% of on-road transportation greenhouse gas emissions as well as ozone precursors.

“It’s exciting to see zero-emission products entering the heavy-duty market,” said Kay Kelly, Chief of Innovative Mobility at the Colorado Department of Transportation. “The growing number of zero-emissions offerings in the medium and heavy-duty truck market is giving Colorado fleets more opportunity than ever before to choose clean, quiet trucks with lower operation and maintenance costs. Colorado’s comprehensive Clean Truck Strategy will further develop the supportive ecosystem necessary for fleets to be successful in deploying these compelling new products.”

Colorado’s Clean Truck Strategy would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by at least 45% in Colorado by 2050.

“Nikola applauds the state of Colorado for working to better understand the challenges and opportunities associated with transitioning fleets to zero-emissions,” said Elizabeth Fretheim, Nikola’s Global Head of Sustainability and Social Responsibility. “As a company dedicated to the advancement of innovative zero-emissions truck solutions and the energy infrastructure required to make this feasible, we especially appreciate the focus on and recognition of the differences in the path forward for passenger cars versus medium- and heavy-duty trucks through the development of a specific Clean Truck Strategy.”

Electric vehicles not only offer zero emissions, but also the potential for cost savings. Currently, for a daily route of 300 miles in Colorado, the cost to electrically charge the Nikola Tre is around half the cost of diesel fuel for the same trip. Charging an electric vehicle for personal use costs the equivalent of about $1 a gallon.

In the last three months of 2021, Colorado saw record-breaking EV sales; electric vehicles accounted for nearly 13% of new light-duty vehicle registrations in December. This precipitous increase puts the state on a trajectory to meet its 2030 targets: 940,000 light-duty EVs and at least 1,000 zero-emissions transit buses by 2030. The state is also leading by example, electrifying state facilities and setting the stage for the delivery of dozens of new electric state fleet vehicles in 2022 and 2023.

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