Nikola, GM Put Spike in Badger

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Nikola Badger pickup truck.

General Motors pulled out of deal in which it would have acquired equity in Nikola, putting a stake in development of the Badger pickup truck. The truck launch was contingent upon a partnership between the electric truck maker and GM. Nikola said it will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the pickup truck. Published reports cited the company’s determination to focus its attention on bigger commercial trucks.

The two companies will work together on Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 heavy trucks using hydrogen fuel-cell technology from GM. The new memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a global supply agreement related to the integration of GM’s Hydrotec system into Nikola’s heavy trucks.

Under the terms of the MOU, Nikola and GM will work together to integrate fuel-cell technology into Nikola’s zero-emission heavy trucks for the medium- and long-haul trucking sectors. Nikola said it expects to begin testing production-engineered prototypes of the trucks by the end of 2021, with testing for the beta prototypes expected to begin in the first half of 2022.

“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, Nikola CEO, in a prepared statement. “Heavy trucks remain our core business and we are 100 percent focused on hitting our development milestones to bring clean hydrogen and battery-electric commercial trucks to market. 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.”

According to published reports, the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Nikola’s business caused GM to rethink the Badger pickup truck deal.