General Motors Scores Vehicle Partner for Ultium EV and Hydrotec Fuel Cells

General Motors Co. in Detroit today announced a strategic partnership with an up-and-coming OEM that will utilize GM’s Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cell technology. The deal represents a key commercialization milestone for General Motors.
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Nikola Badger pickup
GM and Nikola are partnering to use GM’s Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cell technology. Its collaboration will begin with the Nikola Badger pickup. // Photo courtesy of Nikola Corp.

General Motors Co. in Detroit today announced a strategic partnership with an up-and-coming OEM that will utilize GM’s Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cell technology. The deal represents a key commercialization milestone for General Motors.

The partnership with Nikola Corp. in Phoenix begins with the Nikola Badger pickup and carries cost reductions through other programs, including the Nikola Tre (semi-truck), Nikola One (semi-truck), Nikola Two (semi-truck), and NZT (off-highway vehicle).

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. GM will be subject to a staged lock-up provision beginning in one year and ending in June 2025, and 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,” says Trevor Milton, founder and executive chairman of Nikola. “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, GM 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.”

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

Fuel cells will become increasingly important to the semi-truck market because they are more efficient than gas or diesel. General Motors sees additional growth opportunities in multiple transportation, stationary, and mobile-power end markets.

“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,” says Marry Barra, CEO and chairman of GM.

“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.”

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 reduce 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 of 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 is expected to start in late 2022 at a location to be announced at a later date. In celebration of this announcement, $100 Badger pre-order reservations are now available at nikolamotor.com/badger.

Nikola remains an independent company. The investment is subject to customary antitrust regulatory approval and closing conditions. The parties anticipate closing the transaction prior to Sept. 30, 2020.

Founded in 2015, Nikola is a designer and manufacturer of zero-emission battery-electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and hydrogen station infrastructure. For more information, visit www.nikolamotor.com.

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