A new partnership has been formed between Nikola motors and General Motors which will see GM produce the Nikola Badger as well as receive battery and fuel cell supply contracts and EV credits.
The Nikola Badger, now expected to hit the market in 2022, created a buzz with its 600 mile range and impressive looks especially after the unveiling of Tesla’s Cybertruck created a considerable amount of negativity. This design, plus the option for a hydrogen fuel cell variant, was widely seen as the most impressive looking EV truck to date.
Production problem solved
Nikola’s only issue was going to be building the truck for the mass market. Enter General Motors which has the resources to bring their dream to life. GM has extensive manufacturing capacity to add the Badger to an assembly line without all the upfront costs in building a factory.
“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,” said Nikola Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton. “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 will remain an independent company and will market and sell the Badger on its own. Badger production is expected to start in late 2022 at a location to be announced at a later date.
GM will receive an 11% stake in Nikola valued at $2 billion dollars in exchange for certain in-kind contributions. These contributions will likely mean access to Nikola’s technology which they can use throughout their lineup as well as being the exclusive provider of Nikola hydrogen fuel cell class 7/8 semis globally. Many see the commercial EV semi market as a multi-billion dollar market potential with many companies chasing it like Toyota.
“This strategic partnership with Nikola, an industry leading disrupter, continues the broader deployment of General Motors’ all-new Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell systems,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability. 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.”
The Ultium battery technology uses silicon anodes and lithium metal anodes. GM says their roadmap to EV technology “will improve vehicle range, affordability, and reduced dependence on rare and costly metals.” They also say their new battery is already showing it is quite durable and capable of significantly higher energy density than other EV batteries.
Finally, both companies will see a massive savings in developing EV technology which is one of the most costly powertrains to develop and produce. Joint partnerships like this one and the recent Honda and GM partnership should help both companies bring products to market faster and see significant savings upwards of $4-5 billion dollars. Plus, GM will be able to sell the EV credits (a very lucrative market) from the Nikola Badger sales.