GM Takes Large Stake in Nikola, Will Build Electric Badger Pickup Truck

September 08, 2020 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

General Motors will take a large stake in hydrogen and fuel cell truck startup Nikola Corp. and they will work together to bring the Badger pickup truck and other projects to market.

Nikola will exchange $2 billion in newly issued common stock for the in-kind services and access to GM components and technology. GM will engineer and manufacture the Nikola Badger battery electric and fuel cell pickup. It will take an 11 percent stake in Nikola and gain a seat on the company’s board of directors.

Phoenix. Ariz.-based Nikola will be responsible for the sales and marketing for the Badger and will retain the Nikola Badger brand. The truck goes into production at the end of 2022.


Trevor Milton, Nikola’s founder and executive chairman, is claiming some impressive specifications for the truck. He said the Badger can generate more than 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque. It will have an estimated 600-mile range.

The electric Bader will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in approximately 2.9 seconds.

The truck’s hybrid drive will allow it to travel 300 miles off the battery for those who aren’t near a hydrogen filling station.

But Nikola is attempting to address that issue, both for its heavy-duty trucks and light vehicles. It said it plans to build 700 hydrogen stations to give North America hydrogen coverage. Milton plans to announce the locations in the coming months.

With a fully loaded trailer and combined vehicle weight of 18,000 lbs., the Badger will be able to launch from a standstill on a 30 percent grade without motor stall, he said.

There will be plenty of competition. Ford, Rivian, Workhorse Group and others also are developing electric pickup trucks.


“General Motors is one of the top engineering and manufacturing companies in the world. You couldn’t dream of a better partnership than this,” Milton said.

The deal provides the startup “decades of supplier and manufacturing knowledge, validated and tested production-ready EV propulsion, world-class engineering and investor confidence,” he said.

Nikola is developing several models of electric and hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty trucks for both the U.S. and European markets.

GM also will be the exclusive supplier of fuel cells globally — outside of Europe — to Nikola for Class 7 and 8 trucks. That puts the Detroit automaker into the heavy-duty truck market, a segment where it doesn’t compete now.

“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 Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive.

“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.”

Jerry Hirsch June 8, 2020
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