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Nikola Awarded $1.7 Million U.S. Department of Energy Award

Award will advance Nikola’s fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA) development

  • Award will advance Nikola’s fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA) development
  • Nikola to partner with leaders from Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University and Georgia Institute of Technology on fuel cell technology research

PHOENIX, AZ (August 7, 2019) — As Nikola Motor Company marches toward a zero-emission future with durable hydrogen technology for commercial trucking, the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the Phoenix company a $1.7 million grant to advance its research into fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA).

“This award provides an opportunity for the highly talented Nikola team to leverage expertise in academia and exceptional resources within the DOE Fuel Cell Consortium for Performance and Durability to accelerate a breakthrough that will benefit the entire hydrogen and fuel cell industry and community,” said Jesse Schneider, executive vice president, Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technologies, Nikola.

The joint grant was funded by the US Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Transportation Office under the recently announced FY19 Commercial Trucks and Off-Road Applications FOA.

Nikola is pursuing a new approach and unique MEA architecture to satisfy the high-power output and durability requirements of heavy-duty applications with its academic partners: Carnegie Mellon University Prof. Shawn Litster, Northeastern University Prof. Sanjeev Mukerjee and Georgia Institute of Technology Prof. Younan Xia.

In this project, Nikola will bring together advanced concepts in catalysts, ionomers, proton exchange membranes, and gas diffusion layers within a robust MEA by using appropriate, scalable fabrication methods.

Nikola’s hydrogen station partner NEL Hydrogen of Oslo, Norway was also awarded a two million dollar award from the DOE. Nikola executives are serving as the technical lead on that project as well.

There are currently more than 14,000 Nikola class 8 trucks on order. The Nikola trucks feature up to 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 ft-lbs of torque. Nikola recently announced a battery-electric vehicle option for the urban, short haul trucking market. Nikola’s trucks will be manufactured in Coolidge, Ariz. Testing will begin on Arizona roads this year with full production expected in late 2022.


Nikola Corporation designs and manufactures hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and hydrogen stations. The company is bringing the nation’s most advanced semi-trucks to market with more than 14,000 trucks on preorder. Nikola is led by its visionary CEO Trevor Milton (Twitter: @nikolatrevor), who has assembled one of the most talented teams in the country to bring the Nikola products to market. The company is privately-held and headquartered in Arizona. For more information, visit or Twitter: @nikolamotor.

MEDIA CONTACT: Colleen Robar, [email protected], 313-207-5960