GM May Provide Hydrotec Fuel Cell System to Nikola Under Modified MoU

Modifying a September agreement, General Motors Co. in Detroit today announced it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Nikola Motor Corp. for a global supply agreement to provide its Hydrotec fuel cell system for Nikola’s Class 7/8 semi-trucks.
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GM Hydrotec fuel cell system
GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nikola Motor Corp. to provide its Hydrotec fuel cell system for Nikola’s Class 7/8 semi-trucks. // Image courtesy of General Motors Co.

Modifying a September agreement, General Motors Co. in Detroit today announced it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Nikola Motor Corp. for a global supply agreement to provide its Hydrotec fuel cell system for Nikola’s Class 7/8 semi-trucks.

The MoU replaces the previous transaction announced on Sept. 8, 2020. Under the potential agreement referenced in the new MoU, GM would engineer its Hydrotec fuel cell system to the specifications mutually agreed upon by both companies.

As part of the new deal, GM will no longer take an 11-percent equity stake in Nikola, which is based in Phoenix. The two companies also dropped plans to build a pickup called Badger.

GM and Nikola will discuss the appropriate scope of services that GM would provide for the integration of the fuel cell system into Nikola’s vehicles. It is expected that the potential arrangement would be cost plus, and that Nikola would pay upfront for the capital investment for the capacity.

GM and Nikola also will determine the potential of a supply agreement for GM’s versatile Ultium battery system for Nikola’s Class 7/8 trucks.

GM’s Hydrotec fuel cell system will be engineered at its Michigan technical facilities in Pontiac and Warren, and manufactured at its Brownstown Township battery assembly plant.

“This supply agreement recognizes our leading fuel cell technology expertise and development,” says Doug Parks, executive vice president of global product development, purchasing, and supply chain at GM. “Providing our Hydrotec fuel cell systems to the heavy-duty class of commercial vehicles is an important part of our growth strategy and reinforces our commitment toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future.”

Nikola’s business model centers on the provision of zero-emissions transportation and infrastructure solutions. It designs and manufactures battery-electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and hydrogen fueling.

Nikola became a publicly traded company in June through a reverse merger with VectoIQ, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company led by GM’s former vice chairman Stephen Girsky.

Nikola has yet to produce any vehicles, but in early August the company broke ground on a 1-million-square-foot factory in Coolidge, Ariz., located between Phoenix and Tucson. It is expected to open in late 2021.

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