Yet another major industry deal has been made.
Last week it was Honda and now General Motors has struck a deal with another automaker. GM and Nikola Corporation have just announced a very much welcomed strategic partnership that will see the former receive $2 billion in newly issued Nikola common stock while Nikola will be granted access to GM's global safety-tested and validated parts and other relevant components.
In addition, GM will engineer, homologate, validate, and even build the Nikola Badger battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell pickup truck. The Detroit automaker is also being granted the right to nominate one Nikola board member and over $4 billion worth of benefits, a combination of equity value, contract manufacturing, and fuel cell and battery supply contracts. It'll also receive EV credits and 11 percent ownership of Nikola.
"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."
GM also benefits from the opportunity to increase its so-called "EV footprint" in the industry. "We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability, said GM CEO, Mary Barra. "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."
Another interesting element of this partnership will be in the semi-truck market. GM's fuel cell technology will be utilized for Nikola's also upcoming Class 7/8 semi-truck which has global aspirations, with the exception of Europe. The fact that Nikola has made a deal with a major automaker is not unexpected. Not long ago, Milton said his company was seeking a manufacturing partner for the Tesla Cybertruck rivaling Badger, even going so far as to approach Hyundai for a partnership around the same time it launched the Ioniq sub-brand. Tesla is one of the very rare cases of a start-up automaker having its own manufacturing operations.
Nikola believes it'll now save $4 billion in battery and powertrain costs over the next decade and another $1 billion in engineering and validation costs. The Nikola Badger is expected to begin production by the end of 2022 but $100 pre-orders are now being accepted. It's also important to know that Nikola will remain an independent company, not a new GM brand division.
Assuming there are no antitrust regulatory issues, both companies hope to finalize the deal before the end of this month.