CNH Industrial joins Nikola, the US startup specialising in fuel cell and battery-electric trucks, with 250 million dollars. The investment is part of a new round of financing in which Nikola intends to generate more than a billion dollars in capital.
According to a statement, the cooperation will go beyond the financial transaction: Iveco and FPT Industrial, CNH Industrial’s commercial vehicle and powertrain brands, will support Nikola with development and production expertise to commercialize its planned fuel cell and battery trucks. This will benefit the Nikola One and Two models for the North American market, among others.
“Global climate change, geopolitical conflicts, future availability of fossil fuels and a self-aware circular economy all call for a fundamental change in how we operate,” says Gerrit Marx, President of Commercial and Special Vehicles at CNH Industrial, about the investment. “While today LNG delivers significantly lower well-to-wheel emissions, which can be reduced to virtually zero when using biogas, in the medium to long-term, fuel-cell and BEV technologies will deliver the ultimate goal of zero-emission trucking,” he added.
Nikola and CNH Industrial are also planning to set up a European joint venture. The Nikola Tre, a fuel cell heavy-duty truck suitable for Europe, is to be developed here. According to Nikola, the joint venture will incorporate its fuel cell know-how, technologies for the onboard storage of hydrogen, infotainment, control units and the development of over-the-air updates. In the long term, fuel cell trucks will also be developed here for Europe.
The commercial vehicle engine specialist FPT and Iveco have so far relied heavily on natural gas as an alternative fuel and, according to the communication, have “have been instrumental in the development and expansion of Europe’s natural gas refuelling network, in addition to successfully introducing new powertrain technology”. Nikola now intends to implement similar measures with partners in North America and Europe, but with hydrogen.
“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,” says Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Corporation. “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”. Nikola will use Iveco’s European sales, service and warranty channels, among other things.
Later this year, a press conference and fleet day will be held in Europe to explain the partnership in more detail.
Almost three years ago, Nikola Motor caused a sensation with the announcement of its Nikola One fuel cell truck. The interest was high from the beginning. It took Nikola Motor no more than two years to present a hydrogen-powered truck designed especially for the European market. Earlier this year Nikola presented their H2 trucks for Europe for which, among other things, Bosch has developed the fuel cell drive and the vehicle chassis. Nikola claims that interest from Europe inspired them to expand. The Nikola Tre is an adaptation for Europe’s size and length restrictions and the first market Norway, in fact “Tre” means three in Norwegian.
CNH Industrial was created in 2013 by the merger of GNH Global and Fiat Industrial as part of the restructuring of the Fiat Group – more or less parallel to the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the automotive sector. CNH Industrial’s commercial vehicle brands also include Iveco Bus, Steyr, New Holland, Hueliez Bus and Magirus.