Nikola Motor Company has signed a $16m order to purchase equipment for the first phrase of its fuel cell development laboratory.

The order represents the initial instalment in an overall investment plan that totals several hundred million dollars.

“It is critical that we move fast and have the best equipment as part of our truck development process,” said Mark Russell, Nikola Motor Company President.

“By creating our own facility, Nikola will be able to test and validate its fuel cell components in half the time it would take other OEMs and third-party labs,” Russell continued.

The laboratory is intended to be the most advanced fuel cell research and development facility in the world. The new facility will enable Nikola to develop, validate and test its entire fuel cell system, including membrane electrode assemblies, stampings, stacks, and power electronics.

Nikola’s lab will also include climate-controlled chambers and dynamometers to test components independently or as a complete powertrain system.

“This lab will be filled with extremely talented fuel cell engineers and is a critical part in our truck development – enabling Nikola to set a new efficiency benchmark for heavy-duty fuel cell systems,” said Trevor Milton, Nikola CEO.

“We believe the fuel cell will replace the diesel engine in the next 10 years. It is a race to the finish line now for our team. Other OEMs have expressed interest in using Nikola’s fuel cell drivetrain and hydrogen stations and we plan on making them available to other OEMs who share our vision,” Milton concluded. 

The company plan to reveal more about the facility at next months Nikola World event between 16th-17th April in Scottdale.