Anheuser-Busch will haul beer in Nikola hydrogen-electric trucks

It's a symbolic win over Tesla.

The rivalry between Nikola and Tesla is only getting hotter... figuratively speaking. Mere months after ordering 40 Tesla Semis, Anheuser-Busch has ordered "up to" 800 of Nikola's hydrogen-electric semi-trucks to introduce them into its beer-carrying fleet starting in 2020. The deal should help Anheuser-Busch convert its entire long-haul roster to renewable-based trucks by 2025 and will be equivalent to taking over 13,000 cars off the road. As to why it's not just relying on Tesla? One word: range.

The Nikola semis will travel between 500 to 1,200 miles on a full tank versus Tesla's 500-mile maximum. Nikola's system will depend on relatively rare hydrogen stations, but it's counting on having 700 of the facilities in service by 2028. However underdeveloped hydrogen infrastructure is right now, it's ultimately better-suited to Anheuser-Busch's long-distance logistics than existing electric-only options.

Suffice it to say this is a big deal for Nikola, which doesn't have as many high-profile customers as its nemesis. The move could spur further orders from companies that see Anheuser-Busch's purchase as a sign of confidence. And the fierce competition is good for everyone -- it promises a future where emissions-free cargo transportation is the norm.