General Motors has formed a strategic partnership with up-and-coming electric truck manufacturer Nikola.
The automaker says Nikola will utilize its Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cell technology in its future products, which will include the Badger electric pickup truck, NZT side-by-side and the One, Two and Tre semi-trucks.
Additionally, GM will engineer, validate, homologate and build the Nikola Badger pickup truck, while Nikola will be responsible for the sales and marketing of the vehicle and will retain the Nikola Badger brand. The Badger will be offered with both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric powertrains, so it will utilize both Ultium and Hydrotec technology.
Nikola, for its part, will exchange “$2 billion in newly issued common stock for the in-kind services and access to GM’s global safety-tested and validated parts and components,” the automaker said. The deal will help Nikola save over $4 billion in battery and powertrain costs over 10 years and over $1 billion in engineering and validation costs. GM is expecting to receive $4 billion in benefits from the deal thanks to the equity value of the shares, contract manufacturing of the Badger, supply contracts for batteries and fuel cells as well as any EV credits retained over the duration of the contract.
“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,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a prepared statement. “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 Badger pickup truck is slated to make its official public debut sometime during the first week of December in Arizona. Production is expected to start in late 2022, though the location will be announced at a later date. Interestingly, the electric pickup will compete directly with GM’s new GMC Hummer EV truck and the yet-to-be-named electric Chevrolet pickup, though the commercialization of the Ultium batteries is far more important than the competitive standing of these future products. Additionally, with Nikola paying GM in issued common stock, the automaker has a vested interest to see the startup succeed.
The announcement of this partnership comes less than a week after GM announced it had entered a strategic alliance with Honda to share its Ultium batteries with the Japanese automaker, along with its BEV3 global electric vehicle platform and connected technology such as OnStar and V2X, among more. Partnerships like these will be more common in the automotive industry going forward due to the immense costs associated with developing and producing electric and semi or fully autonomous vehicles.