Nikola Motor has filed a lawsuit against Tesla claiming the Semi electric truck to be “substantially” similar to Nikola Motor’s own design of a fuel cell electric semi truck. In the filing, the infringement is estimated to be worth a loss of 2 billion dollars to Nikola. Tesla denies the allegations.
The lawsuit is based on six design patents issued in the U.S. between February and April 2018 for its Nikola Motor’s wrap windshield, mid-entry door, fuselage, fender, side cladding and the overall design of the Nikola One. Hence Nikola’s claim of the infringement being substantial.
Tesla had reportedly revealed the Semi electric truck last November and has since been taking orders from the likes of FedEx, DHL, or UPS and also opened the books in several European countries (we reported).
Back to the court case and the filing that reads: “Nikola estimates its harm from Tesla’s infringement to be in excess of $2 billion,” although it is unclear where Nikola takes this number from. The U.S. American company had presented their fuel cell truck Nikola One in December 2016 and has since been taking orders. So many in fact, that just a few weeks ago, the company announced it would not require any deposits any longer and that is had received pre-orders valued at 8 billion dollars already (we reported).
It appears as if Nikola Motors is really wanting (or having) to go head to head with Tesla in the race for the electrification of the heavy duty vehicles business. Whilst Tesla is loosely planning to launch the Semi electric truck around 2019 or 2020, the Nikola One and Nikola Two fuel cell trucks are only due by 2021.
Nikola plans to build a 1 billion dollar manufacturing facility for its fuel cell trucks near Phoenix, Arizona next year.