GM invests in e-truck startup Nikola

September 09, 2020 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
GM invests in e-truck startup Nikola
General Motors and Nikola have inked a strategic partnership. It includes a far-reaching collaboration that includes Nikola using GM production capabilities and technologies and carries cost reductions throughout Nikola’s programs. As part of the agreement, Nikola will utilize General Motors’ Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cell technology, representing a key commercialization milestone for General Motors. In return, GM takes an 11 percent stake in the startup company.

According to the agreement, General Motors will engineer, validate, homologate and build the Nikola Badger for both the battery electric vehicle and fuel cell electric vehicle variants as part of the in-kind services. Nikola anticipates saving over $4 billion in battery and powertrain costs over 10 years and over $1 billion in engineering and validation costs.

The move extends General Motors’ utilization of its fuel cell technology to the Class 7/8 semi-truck market and represents a high-volume commercialization of its Hydrotec fuel cell system, complementing the company’s battery-electric propulsion. According to Nikola’s and GM’s belief, fuel cells will become increasingly important to the semi-truck market because they are more efficient than gas or diesel. General Motors sees additional growth opportunities in multiple transportation, stationary and mobile-power end markets.

General Motors’ battery development work is ongoing. Its Ultium battery technology roadmap includes silicon anodes and lithium metal anodes, which will improve vehicle range, affordability, and reduced dependence on rare and costly metals. It is already demonstrating automotive-grade durability and significantly higher energy density.

Nikola will be responsible for the sales and marketing for the Badger and will retain the Nikola Badger brand.

Nikola remains an independent company. The investment is subject to customary antitrust regulatory approval and closing conditions. The parties anticipate closing the transaction prior to Sept. 30, 2020.

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