IVECO and Nikola Corporation have formed a partnership to further the cause of sustainable transport. Both parties have formed a joint venture to build electric heavy-duty trucks. The manufacturing facility located in Ulm, Germany, will be ready to start production of the Nikola Tre electric heavy-duty truck by year-end.
This is a milestone reached at record speed and delivered on schedule, as previously communicated by IVECO, the commercial vehicles brand of CNH Industrial N.V., and Nikola Corporation.
The first Nikola Tre models produced in Ulm will be delivered to select customers in the United States in 2022. In addition to the battery electric vehicle (BEV) production model, both parties have also shared that the next evolution of this modular heavy-duty platform i.e. the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) version of the Nikola Tre, is scheduled to enter production in Ulm by the end of 2023.
“Despite all the industry and global pandemic challenges we have been facing since we first announced this partnership in September 2019, it is extremely rewarding to be able to stand here today as a team and witness the execution of all of our hard work delivered on time and according to our original plans,” said Gerrit Marx, President Commercial & Specialty Vehicles at CNH Industrial and designated CEO of the Iveco Group. “Thanks to IVECO’s proven expertise and established footprint we have provided a platform upon which Nikola’s technology can thrive. Now our focus is on ensuring the success of this operation and jointly taking the lead when it comes to climate-neutral long-and short-haul heavy-duty transport.”
The Ulm manufacturing facility spans 50,000 square meters, of which 25,000 are covered. It will also feature a final assembly process that has been designed for “electric-born” vehicles. This site, and first phase of industrialization, represents joint investment by IVECO and Nikola and involves a projected 160 suppliers in the process from start to finish. The production line is currently anticipated to be capable of manufacturing approximately 1,000 units per shift per year, and is expected to undergo progressive ramp-up in the subsequent years.
The site is also expected to operate according to the principles of the World Class Manufacturing programme, with the goal of achieving zero waste, zero accidents, zero failures and zero stock. This is one of its key characteristics resulting from a fully digital shopfloor management designed to guarantee 100% traceability and paperless operations.
“This new facility is beautiful, and we are grateful to the IVECO and Nikola teams for their collaboration and perseverance to bring it to life,” said Nikola CEO and President Mark Russell. “This is yet another important milestone for Nikola as we execute on our strategy and vision to be a global leader in zero-emissions transportation solutions.”
The Nikola Tre electric truck is designed and projected as a safe, reliable and high-performance, zero-emission transport solution. Based on the IVECO S-WAY truck platform, it uses an electric axle co-designed and produced by FPT Industrial, and features Nikola’s advanced electric and fuel cell technology, along with key components provided by Bosch. Together, the teams have designed a modular platform that is capable of fuel cell as well as battery propulsion technology. Launching the battery technology first will drive the maturity of the underlying platform before adding the fuel cell as a range-extension technology.
Among those present at the launch ceremony were Winfried Herrmann, State Minister of Transport in Baden-Württemberg; Martin Bendel, First Mayor of the city of Ulm; and Massimiliano Lagi, Consul General of Italy in Stuttgart, Germany.