In April, at the global launch of its range of hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks for the North American and European markets, Nikola Motor Company’s CEO Trevor Milton revealed that he was looking for a partnership with an established heavy truck manufacturer. The objective was to establish a ready-made manufacturing and engineering base with an existing support network and range of products. It has now been revealed that Nikola’s chosen partner is CNH Industrial, the owners of truck maker IVECO and engine maker FPT Industrial. To create the partnership, CNH Industrial will be investing $250 million into Nikola Motor Company.
The immediate priorities will be the industrialisation of the Nikola TWO, the day-cab North American model and the incorporation of technology from the newly launched IVECO S-WAY into the European-style TRE. Interestingly, the announcement only mentions the TRE as a battery-electric vehicle, while saying the TWO will be fuel cell-powered.
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 is 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 commercialize a truck now.”
On the same day, at an investor event in New York, CNH Industrial has confirmed the rumoured separation of its businesses into two separate entities, both of which it claims will be world leaders. “On-Highway” will incorporate IVECO commercial vehicles, IVECO BUS and Heuliez Bus passenger vehicles, and FPT Industrial powertrains, while “Off-Highway” will manufacture ASTRA heavy-construction trucks, IVECO defence vehicles, Magirus firefighting vehicles, and Case IH, New Holland and STEYR agricultural machines. Full implementation of the plan is expected by the end of 2022. The news was accompanied by the announcement of an ambitious five-year business plan which highlights significant increases in sales and earnings.