GM takes $2 billion ownership stake in Nikola, plans to engineer, manufacture Badger truck

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

General Motors anticipates having $4 billion in returns from its investment.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) is expanding its stake in an alternative fuels future. The auto industry giant is receiving a $2 billion equity stake in Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA) for in-kind contributions relating to the engineering and manufacturing of the company’s hydrogen-powered pickup truck, the Badger.

The deal includes putting GM’s hand in the full product planning process including engineering, validating, and homologating the Badger for both battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicle variants.

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.

Nikola Badger
Nikola has revealed renderings of its hydrogen- and battery-powered pickup truck.
Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

“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 now fulfilled two out of three promises ahead of schedule.”

Nikola says that the engineering and manufacturing process would have cost the company $4 billions in battery and powertrain costs over 10 years and $1 billion in engineering and validation costs. Through its $2 billion investment, GM expects to receive inn excess of $4 billion in benefits between the equity value of the shares, contract manufacturing of the Badger, supply contracts for batteries and fuel cells, and EV credits retained over the life of the contract.

Nikola will utilize General Motors’ Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cell technology. General Motors debuted the Ultium battery system earlier this year. It will be an integral part of the company’s lineup in the future including the GMC Hummer EV pickup and SUV and Cadillac Lyriq.

Nikola Badger
The Nikola Badger powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology will include a water tap in its cabin.

Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

Nikola is expected to introduce the Badger in early December. Badger is expected to enter production by the end of 2022. Deposits are currently being accepted for the model. Early in the reservation process, Milton divulged that 1,500 people per day were reserving the truck.

Another side of the Nikola business deals with tractor trailer technology. General Motors will be the exclusive supplier of fuel cells globally (outside of Europe) to Nikola for Class 7/8 trucks. This will allow Nikola to validate and scale to a possible multi-billion dollar operation.

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.

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