The Iveco manufacturing facility in Ulm, Germany, will be the production hub for the Nikola TRE battery electric and fuel-cell electric heavy-duty truck models. Nikola Motor Co. will manufacture the TRE, through their European joint venture with CNH Industrial, at the Iveco facility in Ulm.
The manufacturing operations in Ulm are Iveco’s chassis engineering hub. Iveco and FPT Industrial are the commercial vehicle and powertrain brands of CNH Industrial N.V.
In the first stage of the project, €40 million will be invested by the joint venture to upgrade the Ulm 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 the Nikola TRE beginning in the same year.
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, Germany this September.
The first models to enter production will be the battery-electric 4×2 and 6×2 articulated trucks with modular and scalable batteries with a capacity of up to 720 kWh and an electric powertrain that delivers up to 480 kW of continuous power output.
The Ulm facility will receive module supplies from Iveco´s manufacturing locations in Valladolid and Madrid, Spain, which will enable a rapid ramp up to meet expected customer demand, CNH said. 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 joint venture forms part of a wider partnership 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.
This strategic and exclusive heavy-duty truck partnership saw CNH Industrial taking a $250 million stake in Nikola as the lead Series D investor. The partnership announcement in September 2019, was followed in December with the unveiling of the Nikola TRE, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) heavy duty truck, as a first step towards the fuel-cell electric (FCEV) model.
“Our European joint-venture with Nikola and today’s announcement, is real proof that zero-emission long-haul transport is becoming a reality, resulting in tangible environmental benefits for Europe’s long distance haulers and its citizens,” said Hubertus Mühlhäuser, chief executive officer, CNH Industrial. “The decision to build the Nikola TRE in Ulm – a center of heavy-duty truck engineering excellence – underscores the site’s strategic location at the heart of Germany’s fuel cell technology cluster.”
“The decision to volume produce the TRE in the city of Ulm is a fitting example of how to create jobs, foster innovation, provide certainty to new zero-emission parts suppliers and serve as an example to other OEM’s,” said Trevor Milton, chief executive officer, Nikola Motor Co. “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.”