skip to main content
Supplier Strategies
skip to main content
By Andrew Tanner-Smith on 04/07/23

Iveco taking control of its joint venture with Nikola is a shot in the arm for hydrogen as a fuel for heavy vehicles. Expect changes soon. UPDATED!

Iveco's decision to take ownership of the joint venture with Nikola is a significant step towards driving the fuel cell industry and the FCEV market forward. A major heavy vehicle brand backing hydrogen encouraging news for the industry. Whilst the hope in hydrogen has been gaining traction recently, with countries such as the US, India, Norway and the EU ploughing large funds into hydrogen production and infrastructure in the coming years, it also has vocal detractors.

Pinned against the backdrop of claims of Hydrogen’s expense as a fuel for heavy vehicles it may encourage other major heavy vehicle manufacturers to review their technological trajectory.

The jury is still out on hydrogen as a transport fuel. Proponents pint to the fact that Hydrogen is the most abundant element available to us and that with further development it can be made economical viable. Opponents dismiss it as too expensive and cumbersome to be used in mass transport applications. Currently the market is bearing the opponents out. News from hydrogen car trailblazer Toyota that it has shipped fewer than 25,000 units of its Mirai hydrogen fuelled family car since 2014, combined with the fact that sales actually fell in 2022 is disappointing to say the least. In terms of haulage transport the “hydrogen is too expensive” argument is being made by MAN Group. It’s CEO, Alexander Vlaskamp believes that whilst hydrogen may have a role to play in fuelling exceptionally heavy loads, the market will be dominated by electric battery powered.

This might be so, but Hydrogen’s cheer leaders have a different perspective. They argue that whether we mine for fossil fuels or mine for lithium, we are still mining and that there has to be a better way. The French Government’s funding of HyAMMED an ambitious programme aiming to replace fossil fuel haulage in the south of France (and of which Iveco has no small interest) is part of a wider push by governments around the world to nurture their hydrogen industries.

Iveco's decision to take ownership of the joint venture with Nikola maybe marks a moment in time for the market: Where hydrogen begins to stake out its real market. Iveco has clearly seen hydrogen as a possible route to carbon free road haulage. For Nikola, we believe this was a crucial deal. We expect Iveco to impose its requirements on Nikola fairly early on. It will invest in restructuring the company, we expected job losses, which were indeed announced last month. We also expect to see further development, organisational restructuring and possibly some rebranding in the coming months.


We didn’t publish this in time to pre-date this piece of news regarding the re-branding of Iveco Nikola!