TodayApril 15, 2022

General Motors buys part of Nikola not Tesla

Nikola World 2020 in Arizona

  • General Motors to receive a $2 billion equity stake in Nikola in exchange for specific in-kind contributions.
  • General Motors to 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 ten years and over $1 billion in engineering and validation costs.
  • General Motors expects to receive more than $4 billion of benefits between the shares’ equity value, contract manufacturing of the Badger, supply contracts for batteries and fuel cells, and EV credits retained over the contract’s life.
  • General Motors to be the exclusive supplier of fuel cells globally (outside of Europe) to Nikola for Class 7/8 trucks, providing validation and scale in a multi-billion dollar total addressable market
  • The parties anticipate closing the transaction before Sept. 30, 2020.
  • $100 Badger pre-order reservations are now available
  • Badger to enter production by year-end 2022

If you see articles poking fun at GM buying part of Nikola and not Tesla let me enlighten you. Nikola Tesla was an electrical and mechanical engineer, best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. The car company, Tesla Motors, is named after Nikola Tesla, as is Nikola Corporation. And now you know the rest of the story.

Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) announced a strategic partnership that begins with the Nikola Badger and carries cost reductions through Nikola’s programs, including Nikola Badger, Nikola Tre, Nikola One, Nikola Two, and NZT. 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.

Nikola will exchange $2 billion in newly issued common stock for the in-kind services and access to General Motors’ global safety-tested and validated parts and components. General Motors will be subject to a staged lock-up provision beginning in one year and ending in June 2025. General Motors will engineer, homologate, validate and manufacture the Nikola Badger battery electric and fuel cell versions.

“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 already fulfilled two out of three promises ahead of schedule. What an exciting announcement.”

“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.

Also, applying General Motors’ electrified technology solutions to the heavy-duty class of commercial vehicles is another crucial step in fulfilling our vision of a zero-emissions future.”

Nikola’s agreement extends General Motors’ utilization of its fuel cell technology to the Class 7/8 semi-truck market and represents high-volume commercialization of its leading Hydrotec fuel cell system and complements the company’s battery-electric propulsion.

Fuel cells will become increasingly crucial to the semi-truck market because they are more efficient than gas or diesel. General Motors sees additional growth opportunities in multiple transportations, 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. The Badger was first announced on Feb. 10, 2020, and will make its public debut Dec. 3-5, at Nikola World 2020 in Arizona. Badger production expects to start in late 2022.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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