Walmart first major retailer in Canada to introduce hydrogen fuel cell electric semi-truck

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Walmart Canada’s new hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric semi-truck is now on the roads in Mississauga, Ont., as the retailer continues its goal of a 100 per cent alternatively powered fleet.

Walmart Canada is the first major retailer in Canada to introduce a hydrogen fuel cell electric semi-truck to its fleet. Operating with zero tailpipe emissions, the Nikola Hydrogen Fuel Cell EV Class 8 tractor has a range of about 800 kilometres and on average can avoid 97 metric tons of CO2 tailpipe emissions annually, according to the manufacturer.  According to Nikola, Walmart Canada is also the first retail fleet to operate one of these trucks in North America.

The introduction of trucks powered by hydrogen fuel opens the door to longer-haul travel with alternative power, extending the range that’s currently possible with the fleet’s electric options. This first hydrogen FCEV was sourced by Etobicoke, Ont.-based ITD Industries Inc., a transportation solutions provider, and will be deployed in Ontario for longer-haul trips.

“We’re proud to be introducing Walmart Canada’s first hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle as a major milestone on our journey to becoming a regenerative company,” said Gonzalo Gebara, president and CEO, Walmart Canada. “This is a first for a retailer in Canada and is an example of how we will continue to push forward, embrace new technology and spark change within the industry.”

“At Nikola, we are incredibly proud to support Walmart’s sustainability initiatives and to be supporting their historic milestone of being the first retail fleet in Canada to operate a hydrogen fuel cell electric semi-truck,” said Steve Girsky, Nikola president and CEO. “This collaboration with Walmart Canada, a brand committed to a more sustainable future, aligns perfectly with our mission to drive innovation and environmental responsibility in the transportation industry. This achievement underscores our shared vision for a zero emissions future and the positive impact we can make together for our communities and the planet overall.”

The Nikola hydrogen fuel cell electric semi-truck carries high-pressure gaseous hydrogen onboard in specialized tanks, similar to how a conventional truck carries diesel. The hydrogen then runs through the fuel cell stack, which is converted to electricity by combining it with oxygen, with water vapor as the only byproduct. This electric power is transferred to the high-voltage power-net, which can charge the on-board batteries and transfer power to the pavement via an e-axle with integrated electric motors.

“Walmart Canada has an ambitious plan to power 100 per cent of our fleet with alternative power. We’re proud to be the first retailer in Canada to introduce a hydrogen fuel cell semi-truck to our fleet as a major milestone towards achieving that goal,” said Michael Buna, senior director, national fleet, Walmart Canada. “As we work to be more sustainable in our day-to-day fleet operations, embracing additional types of alternative power allows us to go further, faster.”