It looks like the Tesla Cybertruck will be facing charged competition from General Motors as the auto giant formed a strategic partnership with the electric car company that goes by the name of Nikola.
Yes: Nikola versus Tesla, with GM backing the former and Elon Musk for the latter. You can't make this stuff up.
If the name sounds familiar, Nikola revealed the Badger electric pick-up concept several months ago. It makes 900 PS and over 1,300 Nm of torque, is capable of towing 3,628 kg of payload and can sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds.
Nikola has yet to begin production of their Cybertruck fighter. But thanks to the new partnership, the Nikola Badger will become a reality as it will be manufactured by GM. That's right, GM will engineer, validate, homologate, and build the Badger pick-up. Meanwhile, Nikola will be responsible for the sales and marketing of the Badger and will retain the Nikola Badger brand. In total, GM will receive a $2 billion equity stake in Nikola in exchange for certain technologies that the company will use for in further developing and refining battery-electric and fuel-cell technology.
One of the key technologies Nikola will be able to use is GM's Ultium battery tech. It's a proprietary battery pack that is capable of having 50 to 200 kWh worth of charge which translates to a range of about 640 km or more. GM also said that the Ultium battery pack will allow their EVs to sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in as little as 3 seconds, not too far off from the Badger's claimed 2.9-second sprint to 100 km/h.
“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. 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,” said Trevor Milton, founder and executive chairman of Nikola.
As for GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, the strategic partnership between the two companies will lead to the continued growth of EVs, while also scaling down the costs of battery and fuel cell technology for the future.
“This strategic partnership with Nikola, an industry-leading disrupter, continues the broader deployment of General Motors’ all-new Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell systems. 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,” added Barra.
With GM getting to start production as soon as possible, could they beat Tesla in launching an all-new electric pick-up truck? Perhaps, as Tesla said that they plan to release the Cybertruck in late 2021. Despite having over 650,000 reservations for the Cybertruck, the promised maximum range of Tesla's pick-up has yet to attained, and no further news regarding the Cybertruck has been revealed as of late.
But with the Badger's production expected to begin in late 2022, the Tesla Cybertruck might still get ahead of the GM and Nikola's upcoming EV pick-up. However, the Badger will officially make its public debut this coming December 3 – 5, 2020 at Nikola World 2020 in Arizona. If GM and Nikola managed to somehow find a way to streamline development and production, they might be able to start making the Badger sooner rather than later.