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Nikola fuel cell electric truck gets huge backing

Nikola fuel cell electric truck gets huge backing

NZ Truck & Driver News

 October 2019   
In a huge boost for US-based electric truck startup Nikola, IVECO's parent company CNH Industrial is investing $US250million in the disruptive tech company.

The strategic (and exclusive) partnership with Nikola is aimed at industrialising fuel-cell electric and battery electric trucks – for North America and Europe.

CNH Industrial becomes the main investor in Nikola's bid to raise $US1billion in its current call for backers.

And hard on the heels of the CNH deal, Nikola has also announced that German companies Bosch and Hanwha are investing a further $US230million.

The backing boosts Nikola's ambition to be the first to production with a practical, economically-viable, zero-emissions heavy-duty truck – powered by its proprietary hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology.

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In a huge boost for US-based electric truck startup Nikola, IVECO's parent company CNH Industrial is investing $US250million in the disruptive tech company.
The strategic (and exclusive) partnership with Nikola is aimed at industrialising fuel-cell electric and battery electric trucks – for North America and Europe.
CNH Industrial becomes the main investor in Nikola's bid to raise $US1billion in its current call for backers.
And hard on the heels of the CNH deal, Nikola has also announced that German companies Bosch and Hanwha are investing a further $US230million.
The backing boosts Nikola's ambition to be the first to production with a practical, economically-viable, zero-emissions heavy-duty truck – powered by its proprietary hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology.
Its disruptive business model pitches a pioneering all-inclusive ownership deal, comprising a lease that takes in the truck…and its lifetime service, maintenance and fuel costs – thus guaranteeing total cost of ownership certainty that it says will match or undercut diesel truck costs.
CNH Industrial's deal comprises $100m cash and $150m in services, such as product development, manufacturing engineering and other technical assistance – as well as supply of key components to accelerate the production timeline of the Nikola TWO and Nikola TRE models. 
Nikola says that investors in the current call for backers will own around 25% of the company.
CNH's truck and powertrain divisions, IVECO and FPT Industrial, will assist with engineering and manufacturing expertise to industrialise Nikola's fuel-cell and battery electric trucks – the North American Class 8 Nikola ONE sleeper and Nikola TWO day cab models and the Euro-targeted Nikola TRE cabover.
Nikola will contribute technologies for a European JV with CNH including fuel-cell expertise, e-axles, inverters, independent suspension, onboard hydrogen fuel storage, over-the-air software updating, infotainment, vehicle controls, vehicle-to-station communications, power electronics and access to a hydrogen fuelling network.
FPT Industrial has built 50,000 natural gas-powered engines and IVECO is a leader in natural gas trucks and buses, with around 28,000 of them on the road.
Together they have developed Europe's natural gas refuelling infrastructure and have successfully introduced the new powertrain technology – exactly the same process that Nikola and its partners are working on for hydrogen fuel cell technology and its necessary refuelling networks. 
It's believed that CNH and Nikola will collaborate initially on the industrialisation of the Nikola TWO for North America and the integration of IVECO S-Way technology into the battery-electric Nikola TRE cabover, for the US and Europe. 
Later the Euro JV will cover battery electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles, with Nikola leveraging IVECO's European sales, service and warranty systems to speed up its entry into Europe.
Nikola CEO Trevor Milton says "the time has come to finally provide a zero-emission solution to the heavy-duty truck market. 
"While other OEMs believe zero-emission solutions cannot happen in the timeframe regulators have mandated, Nikola, FPT Industrial and IVECO are proving that these timelines are not unreasonable. 
"Nikola has the technology, but needs a partner with a European network to achieve it in a timely manner. With CNH Industrial's investment and partnership, we can now bring zero-emission trucks to Europe. 
"It's exciting to see IVECO taking the lead in providing zero-emission solutions in Europe through its partnership with Nikola. By bringing CNH Industrial on board, we now have access to manufacturing know-how, purchasing power, validated truck parts, plant engineering and much more. Few will doubt our ability to commercialise a truck now."
Bosch, which already has fuel cell and battery technology for heavy trucks, can "help us commercialise very complex vehicle components," says Milton – while Hanwha makes solar power systems which can deliver Nikola "green" electricity to generate hydrogen. 
Milton: "Rather than going at this alone like many startups do, my goal was to build the most powerful network of partners in the world – and I believe we've done a pretty good job at that with CNHI, Bosch, Hanwha and others."  


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