Nikola Motor has signed a deal with General Motors that will see its first pickup truck, the Badger, manufactured by the legacy automaker. According to reports, GM will be responsible for engineering the battery and fuel cell electric vehicle variants of Nikola’s introductory passenger vehicle.
GM will receive a $2 billion equity interest in Nikola, in exchange for the “in-kind services.” The Detroit-based GM will need to test, homologate, and develop the Nikola Badger, which will save the company more than $4 billion in battery and powertrain costs over a decade. Often saving another billion dollars in the expense of engineering and validation.
According to @andyjayhawk on Twitter, GM plans to earn more than $4 billion in benefits “between the equity 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.”
GM will also be the sole supplier of fuel cells outside the European market for Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 vehicles. These two categorizations are for “heavy trucks” that will weigh 26,001 pounds and up.
General Motors confirmed this morning’s announcement on Twitter and said the Nikola Badger will use GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell technology and Ultium battery systems.
Over the past few months, GM has extended its research into the production of EV and alternative-fuel vehicles. Doug Parks, Executive Vice President, said the automaker has “multiple teams” working on developing zero-cobalt batteries, solid-state electrolytes, and ultra-fast charging infrastructures.
But GM taking on the projects from Nikola is a whole different ballgame compared to a typical EV project. While Nikola’s vehicles are mainly based on hydrogen fuel cells, the Badger pickup will be available in both FCEV and BEV versions.
In the past, Nikola was the target of heavy skeptic criticism. CEO Trevor Milton has expressed his interest in pushing the planet toward more sustainable modes of transport. There’s plenty of criticism from the EV community for the business head who’s been vocal in his support for his venture.
A collaboration with an existing automaker could help Nikola start manufacturing its vehicles in a more efficient timeframe. The Badger is not expected to be manufactured until 2022 and the company is currently working on the construction of a production facility in Coolidge, Arizona.
Reported by Teslarati.
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