General Motors and Nikola Corp. announced in separate statements Nov. 30 that the companies have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for a global supply agreement for GM to provide its Hydrotec fuel cell system for Nikola’s Class 7 and 8 zero-emission semi-trucks for the medium- and long-haul trucking sectors.
Under the terms of the agreement, Nikola and GM will work together to integrate GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell technology. The companies will also discuss the potential of a supply agreement for GM’s Ultium battery system for Nikola’s Class 7 and 8 trucks. However, this means the Nikola Badger electric pickup’s future is uncertain.
This is a scaled-back deal compared to one announced in September that would have had GM take a stake in Nikola.
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 said.
In its statement, Nikola reiterated that it expects to begin testing production-engineered prototypes of its hydrogen fuel-cell powered trucks by the end of 2021, with testing for the beta prototypes expected to begin in the first half of 2022.
With this agreement, the Badger pickup’s future is uncertain, as Nikola shifts to heavy trucks.
“We are excited to take this important step with GM, which provides an opportunity to leverage the resources, strengths and talent of both companies,” said Mark Russell, CEO of Nikola.
“Heavy trucks remain our core business, and we are 100% focused on hitting our development milestones to bring clean hydrogen and battery-electric commercial trucks to market," Russell continued. "We believe fuel cells will become increasingly important to the semi-truck market, as they are more efficient than gas or diesel and are lightweight compared to batteries for long hauls. By working with GM, we are reinforcing our companies’ shared commitment to a zero-emission future.”