GM and Nikola collaborate on EV and fuel cell production


Multi-billion dollar deal starts with General Motors producing Nikola's Badger

GM and Nikola collaborate on EV and fuel cell production
The Nikola Badger

 

General Motors and Nikola have formed an electric vehicle and fuel cell strategic partnership that involves the former take an 11 per cent stake in the latter.

As part of the deal, General Motors gains a $2 billion equity stake in Nikola, and will be tasked with engineering, validating, homologating and building the battery electric and fuel cell variants of Nikola’s flagship Badger ute.

Nikola will be responsible for the Badger's sales and marketing and will retain the Nikola Badger brand, which is anticipated to enter production by year-end 2022.

General Motors expects to receive more than $4 billion of benefits between the equity value of the shares, contract manufacturing of the Badger, supply contracts for batteries and fuel cells, and EV credits retained over the life of the contract.

It will also be the exclusive supplier of fuel cells globally (outside of Europe) to Nikola for Class 7/8 trucks, providing validation and scale in a multi-billion dollar total addressable market

Nikola anticipates saving more than $4 billion in battery and powertrain costs over 10 years and more than $1 billion in engineering and validation costs, including for its other programs involving the Tre, One, Two and NZT vehicles.

As part of the agreement, Nikola will utilise GM's Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cell technology, representing a key commercialisation milestone for GM.

"Nikola is one of the most innovative companies in the world. General Motors is one of the top engineering and manufacturing companies in the world. You couldn’t dream of a better partnership than this," Nikola founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton says.

"By joining together, we get access to their validated parts for all of our programs, General Motors’ Ultium battery technology and a multi-billion dollar fuel cell program ready for production.

"Nikola immediately gets decades of supplier and manufacturing knowledge, validated and tested production-ready EV propulsion, world-class engineering and investor confidence.

"Most importantly, General Motors has a vested interest to see Nikola succeed.

"We made three promises to our stakeholders and have now fulfilled two out of three promises ahead of schedule. What an exciting announcement."


Nikola's 675kW Badger after piece of electric ute pie


A strategic partnership with Nikola, which GM deems an "industry leading disruptor", continues the broader deployment of GM’s Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell systems, chair and CEO Mary Barra says.

"We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability," Barra says.

"In addition, applying General Motors’ electrified technology solutions to the heavy-duty class of commercial vehicles is another important step in fulfilling our vision of a zero-emissions future."

GM's battery development work is ongoing, the statement adds.

Its Ultium battery technology roadmap includes silicon anodes and lithium metal anodes, which are expected to improve vehicle range and affordability and provide reduced dependence on rare and costly metals.

It is already demonstrating automotive-grade durability and significantly higher energy density, the company says.

GM sees additional growth opportunities in multiple transportation, stationary and mobile-power end markets.

Meanwhile, Nikola recently received a huge battery-electric waste trucks order from recycling and solid waste provider Republic Services.

The order includes 2,500 electrified chassis, with the option to increase the order up to 5,000 units, and is deemed to be the largest single order in the waste industry.

On-road testing is likely to begin in early 2022, with full production shortly after.

The truck chassis and body will be provided directly to Republic Services from the Nikola factory, with the electric platform is expected to offer up to 150 miles on a single charge.

 

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