Nikola, the troubled start-up company that General Motors had previously planned to acquire an equity stake in, has received an order for 10 of its battery-electric Nikola Tre semi-trucks.
Illinois-based trucking company Heniff Transportation Systems announced this week it had placed an order for 10 Nikola Tre trucks to be delivered in the first half of 2022. If this initial order goes to plan, the company also has an option to purchase an additional 90 examples of the trucks for a total of 100. The order was placed through Thompson Truck Centers, which is one of Nikola’s U.S. retailers.
“The agreement between Heniff Transportation and Thompson Truck Centers is a fleet-as-a-service model where Thompson will provide the sales, service, maintenance, and energy infrastructure required to operate the Nikola Tre BEV trucks. Deliveries are expected to commence first half of 2022,” Heniff Transportation said in a statement.
“Heniff is a family of companies recognized as a leader in liquid bulk transportation, rail transloading, ISO depot operations, tank cleaning, and related maintenance,” the company also said.
GM had previously entered an agreement with Nikola to acquire an 11 percent equity stake in the company and planned to work with it to develop new hydrogen fuel cell systems for use in heavy trucks. GM also agreed to design, develop and produce the Nikola Badger on behalf of the company – a battery-electric pickup truck that would compete with offerings like the Rivian R1T or Ford F-150 Lightning. Nikola CEO Trevor Milton was later charged with three counts of criminal fraud for lying about Nikola’s technology and misleading investors, leading to GM backing out of the deal shortly after it was signed.
Milton stepped down as CEO shortly after his fraud was revealed, although Nikola continued on its mission to electrify the trucking industry. The company’s Tre semi-truck is currently being produced at a plant in Germany and can travel an estimated 350 miles thanks to its 753 kWh battery pack. It also has a gross combined weight rating of 82,000 lbs and a top speed of roughly 75 mph.
While GM and Nikola no longer have a close working partnership, the two companies retained the fuel cell technology sharing portion of the agreement. The two companies have plans to “work together to integrate GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell technology into Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 zero-emission semi-trucks for the medium- and long-haul trucking sectors,” helping GM scale its Hydrotec technology and giving Nikola access to high-quality hydrogen powertrain components.