The car company GM is cooperating with the truck specialist Nikola – on fields that Tesla also wants to occupy. The share of the electric car pioneer has clearly lost value in the past few days.
Dhe Tesla product range has so far been limited to sedans and sporty off-road vehicles. But the electric car manufacturer also wants to build larger vehicles in the future. He is working on a pick-up truck, which he has given the futuristic name “Cybertruck”, and a truck that is due to come out next year.
In these segments he will face an alliance of two American competitors in the future. On Tuesday, the automotive company General Motors (GM) and the truck specialist Nikola announced a far-reaching partnership. According to this, GM will develop and manufacture the upcoming pick-up from Nikola and also supply fuel cells for Nikola’s trucks. As part of the cooperation, GM will also take over an 11 percent stake in Nikola.
Tesla for trucks
The planned pact caused a lot of movement on the stock exchange on Tuesday: Nikola’s share price rose by more than 40 percent, GM was 8 percent up. In recent times, Tesla in particular has been euphoric on Wall Street. The course of the electric car manufacturer has more than quintupled this year, although it has been falling again in the past few days. On Tuesday, Tesla shares lost 21 percent in value. Tesla is valued at around $ 325 billion, making it the most expensive automaker in the world. GM on the other hand only comes to around 45 billion dollars.
Nikola is often described as a Tesla for trucks. The two companies have a connection in their name alone, they are both based on the inventor Nikola Tesla, who is known for achievements in the field of electricity. Nikola went public in June and is valued at just under $ 17 billion without having a market-ready product or significant sales. The trucks and pickups the company is working on are slated to hit the market in the next few years. Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors Trevor Milton, like Tesla boss Elon Musk, is known for full-bodied announcements. In June he told the FAZ that one day his company could become bigger than Tesla.
With Nikola, Milton is strategically focusing on fuel cells, which are considered to be the technology of the future in the automotive and commercial vehicle industries, of which Elon Musk, however, thinks little. Vehicles are powered by electricity obtained from hydrogen. In addition, Nikola also wants to bring out products with conventional lithium-ion batteries. The partnership that has now been agreed should include both technologies.
GM wants to develop and manufacture Nikolas pick-up “Badger” in an ordinary electric and a fuel cell variant. The group is also set to become the exclusive supplier of fuel cells for Nikola trucks outside of Europe. GM sees the cooperation as a “milestone” in the commercialization of its “Ultium” battery system and its “Hydrotec” fuel cell technology. For its Ultium batteries, the automaker has already entered into a cooperation with Japanese competitor Honda this year.
More and more alliances are being formed in the automotive and commercial vehicle industries. This has to do with the fact that high investments are required for electromobility and autonomous driving. Cooperations make it possible to distribute these burdens. Volkswagen and Ford, for example, signed a partnership for electric vehicles and autonomous driving last year.
Nikola is already working closely with the commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco and wants to manufacture its first trucks in its German plant in Ulm. The company also works with the German suppliers Bosch and Mahle. However, partners are not the only ones involved in production. The foundation stone for the first truck plant in the American state of Arizona was recently laid. However, Nikola does not want to produce his “Badger” van himself.
Nikola hopes that the alliance with GM will save $ 4 billion on batteries and another $ 1 billion in development costs over the next ten years. GM puts the financial benefit of the cooperation at $ 4 billion.