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Nikola Spikes on Plan for California Hydrogen Filling Stations

Nikola shares jumped after the electric-truck maker agreed to install two hydrogen filling stations at California locations of TravelCenters of America.

Nikola  (NKLA) - Get Nikola Corporation Report has signed a deal under which it will open two hydrogen filling stations at California locations of truck-stop franchisor TravelCenters of America.

In a statement the companies said they saw the accord as a first step toward building out a nationwide network of hydrogen fuel stations.

If the deal closes, the filling stations would open in first-quarter 2023. That would coincide with Nikola's launch of its Tre fuel-cell semi-truck, Bloomberg News reported.

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“Our collaboration in Southern California will form a basis for building an expanded network of hydrogen fueling stations for Nikola vehicle customers and for industry use overall,” Nikola's president of energy and commercial, Pablo Koziner, said in a statement.

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The two stations would “provide for an open fueling network available to any truck customer and will follow a common industry standard for heavy-duty fueling protocols, ensuring compatibility across all hydrogen fuel-cell truck manufacturers,” the companies said.

The companies said that "[paired] with the expected 500-mile range" of the Nikola Tre, "the launch stations will enable operations of zero-emission heavy-duty commercial vehicles in and around the greater Los Angeles region and north through California’s Central Valley."

Finding a partner to help build a hydrogen-distribution network has been a challenge for Nikola, Phoenix.

Nikola had collaborated with BP (BP) - Get BP p.l.c. Report, but that deal stalled when Nikola Founder Trevor Milton stepped down as chairman in September, Bloomberg reported.

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At last check Nikola shares were trading almost 20% higher at $12.29.