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Nikola (NKLA), Iveco Unveil Plant in Germany for Electric Trucks

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Nikola Corporation (NKLA - Free Report) and Iveco, the truck and bus business of CNH Industrial (CNHI - Free Report) , recently inaugurated the joint-venture (JV) manufacturing facility in Ulm, Germany, dedicated to the development of the Nikola Tre electric heavy-duty trucks. The facility, which is ready to start production by year end, was unveiled to the public at a recent event.

Spanning 50,000 square meters, the Ulm manufacturing facility encompasses a final assembly process that has been designed for specifically electric vehicles (EVs). The production line, currently anticipated to be capable of manufacturing approximately 1,000 units per shift per year, will likely be substantially ramped up in the upcoming years. The plant, which has a target of achieving zero waste, zero accidents, zero failures and zero stock, has fully digital shop-floor management designed to ensure full traceability and paperless operations.

The first Nikola Tre models produced at the facility will be deployed for select customers in the United States in 2022. Along with the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) production model, the next phase of development involves the development of the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) prototype of the Nikola Tre. This subsequent model is anticipated to commence production in Ulm by the end of 2023.

Both companies are highly optimistic about the new plant. The partnership between the two companies, which was first announced in September 2019, has achieved a milestone with the opening of the Germany plant as per schedule. The inauguration of this plant has also set course for an exciting new chapter in Iveco and Nikola’s sustainable transport story. Nikola credits Iveco’s proven expertise and established footprint, which has given the former a modular platform capable of fuel cell as well as battery propulsion technology for the development of its Tre trucks. Now, both companies are focused on successfully executing this operation, in order to capture a niche in the climate-neutral long- and short-haul heavy-duty transport sector.

On the occasion of the Nikola-Iveco manufacturing facility opening in Ulm, the companies also announced their collaboration for the testing and subsequent implementation of heavy-duty EVs and charging infrastructure at the Port of Hamburg during 2022. The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Hamburg Port Authority, which states their intent to partner in two phases involving the delivery of 25 Nikola Tre BEVs to the Port throughout 2022, making the Port of Hamburg its pilot customer in Europe.

The first phase involves testing of the Nikola Tre BEVs at the Port for transport and logistics operations, while the second phase plans to witness the full integration of the BEV vehicles into Port’s daily operations. The vehicles provided for these two phases will be the U.S. version of the Nikola Tre.

Nikola Tre, designed to be safe, reliable and high-performing, is being developed to drive the revolution in the sustainable transportation sector. Based on the Iveco S-WAY truck platform with an electric axle co-designed by FPT Industrial, it features Nikola’s advanced electric and fuel cell technology along with crucial components provided by Bosch. The heavy-duty truck, with a driving range of 560 kilometers (348 miles), is designed for shorter trips, such as moving freight within industrial ports or garbage collection. The battery technology will be launched first, followed by the addition of the fuel cell version as a range-extension technology.

With its electrifying partnership with Iveco, Nikola is looking to turn its fate after a tumultuous period last year, where it was accused of serious fraud with regard to the company’s EV proprietary technology, in a report from Hindenburg Research. This was also followed by General Motors  dropping a tentative plan to take a stake in the company and produce an electric pick-up called the Nikola Badger.
 
Nikola — peers of which include Daimler AG (DDAIF - Free Report) and PACCAR Inc. (PCAR - Free Report) — currently carries a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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