GM Signs MoU with Nikola to Supply Hydrotec Fuel Cells

Ken Zino of on General Motors Gen 2 Hydrotec Fuel Cell System

Nikola and GM are attempting a partnership that begins with the Badger and promises “cost reductions” at all of Nikola’s programs, including the Badger, Tre, One, Two and NZT. As part of the deal Nikola will use GMs’ Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cells. It’s a slow step toward commercialization of fuel cells for GM after decades of casual dabbling.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) today announced it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Nikola Corporation for a global supply agreement to provide its Hydrotec fuel cell system for Nikola’s Class 7/8 semi-trucks. (The MoU replaces a transaction announced 8 Sept. 2020. Nikola and General Motors Partner! Nikola Badger Truck to be Engineered and Manufactured by GM)

Despite decades of fuel cell research, GM appears to be far behind Toyota in the market use of fuel cell commercial vehicles – increasingly looking like a mandatory segment for survivors of the commercial truck wars.  (Toyota to Use Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Zero Emission Trucking, Toyota, 7-Eleven Japan to Study Fuel Cell Trucks, Toyota and Hino to Develop Heavy-Duty Fuel Cell Truck, JR East, Hitachi, Toyota to Develop Fuel Cell Railway Vehicles)

Under the potential agreement in the MoU, GM would engineer its Hydrotec fuel cell system to the specifications mutually agreed upon by both companies. GM and Nikola will discuss the appropriate scope of services that GM would provide for the integration of the fuel cell system into Nikola’s vehicles.

GM said that it is expected that the potential arrangement would be cost plus, and that Nikola would pay upfront for the capital investment for the capacity. GM and Nikola will also discuss the potential of a supply agreement for GM’s versatile Ultium battery system for Nikola’s Class 7/8 trucks.

GM’s Hydrotec fuel cell system will be engineered at its Michigan technical facilities in Pontiac and Warren and manufactured at its Brownstown Charter Township battery assembly plant.

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