Iveco’s parent company CNH Industrial has announced that the Nikola Motor Company new TRE truck will be manufacture the Iveco factory in Ulm in Germany.
This partnership saw CNH Industrial take a $250m stake in Nikola as the lead Series D investor. The partnership announcement in September 2019 was quickly followed in December with the unveiling of the Nikola TRE, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) heavy duty truck, which is the first step towards the fuel-cell electric (FCEV) model.
The Ulm site is Iveco’s chassis engineering hub and is striving to become a leading hub for fuel-cell mobility thanks also to its skilled workforce and research labs.
Hubertus Mühlhäuser, Chief Executive Officer, CNH Industrial, said: “Our European joint-venture with Nikola is proof that zero-emission long-haul transport is becoming a reality, resulting in tangible environmental benefits for Europe’s long distance hauliers and its citizens. “The decision to build the Nikola TRE in Ulm underscores the site’s strategic location at the heart of Germany’s fuel cell technology cluster.”
In the first stage of the project, €40m will be invested to upgrade the manufacturing facility, which will focus on final assembly of the vehicle. Start of production is anticipated within the first quarter of 2021, with deliveries of beginning in the same year.
Trevor Milton, Chief Executive Officer, Nikola Motor Company, said: “The Nikola TRE is proving to be the most advanced articulated truck in the world and will continue to set the standard for zero-emission vehicles today and in the future.
“The decision to volume produce the TRE in Ulm is a fitting example of how to create jobs, foster innovation, provide certainty to new zero-emission part suppliers and serve as an example to other OEMs. The world is ready for zero-emission freight transportation, and the joint venture between Nikola and Iveco will be the first to deliver. I look forward to seeing the first production vehicles come off the line.”
The first models to enter production will be the battery-electric 4×2 and 6×2 tractor units with modular and scalable batteries with a capacity of up to 720kWh and an electric powertrain that delivers up to 480kW of continuous power output.
The Ulm facility will receive module supplies from Iveco’s manufacturing locations in Valladolid and Madrid, which will enable a rapid ramp up to meet expected customer demand. Fuel-cell electric versions, built on the same platform, will be tested under the EU-funded H2Haul project during 2021 for an expected market launch in 2023.
The Nikola TRE currently in development is based on the new Iveco S-WAY platform and integrates Nikola’s truck technology, controls and infotainment. Testing is expected to begin in mid-2020 with prototypes showcased at the IAA 2020 commercial vehicle exhibition in Hannover this September.
Gerrit Marx, President Commercial and Speciality Vehicles, CNH Industrial, added: “By drawing on our Gold standard World Class Manufacturing sites in Madrid and Valladolid, where the Iveco S-Way is produced, we are able to accelerate final assembly, powertrain integration and high-end customization of the TRE for a timely market introduction in 2021.”
This Joint Venture forms part of a wider partnership established with Nikola to accelerate industry transformation towards emission neutrality of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks in North America and Europe through the adoption of fuel-cell technology.
The primary focus of the collaboration is to leverage each partners’ respective expertise to successfully deploy zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and to disrupt the industry with an entirely new business model.