Car News

GM to Build, Engineer Badger Pickup for Nikola Motors

General Motors has announced it's teaming up with alternative-power-vehicle company Nikola. GM will get 11 percent of Nikola and will engineer and build Nikola's Badger fuel-cell/battery-electric pickup.

The deal will see GM engineer, validate, homologate, and build the Badger – both the fuel-cell and EV variants. Which makes us curious as to how much of the 906 hp zero-emissions pickup was ready for production given that it was expected to make its public debut at the end of this year and start production in 2022.

“This strategic partnership with Nikola, an industry-leading disruptr, continues the broader deployment of General Motors’ all-new Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel-cell systems,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “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.”

GM has already gone big on fuel cell technology, and with Nikola planning to build a fuel-cell semi, this expands GM's efforts into that segment, which could help commercialisation and fuel distribution.

Nikola says it anticipates saving $4 billion in battery and powertrain costs by using Ultium, as well as more than $1 billion in engineering costs. GM expects $4 billion in benefits between the equity in the company and the contract assembly of the Badger, as well as EV credits and battery and fuel cell supply deals. Nikola will have access to GM components, allowing them to skip one of the more difficult, expensive, and time-consuming parts of the vehicle development process.

“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. “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."

Don't expect Badgers at GM stores, or to wear a GM badge – Nikola retains the sales and marketing as well as the brand itself. Nikola has opened $100 pre-order reservations starting today and the parties expect the deal to close by the end of the month.