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IVECO and Nikola open JV plant for electric heavy-duty trucks; 25 Nikola Tre BEVs to Hamburg

IVECO and Nikola formally unveiled the manufacturing facility in Ulm, Germany for Nikola Tre electric heavy-duty trucks; production will begin by year end. The first Nikola Tre models produced here will be delivered to select customers in the United States in 2022.

On the occassion of the launch, the two partners also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hamburg Port Authority AöR (HPA), stating their joint intent to partner in two phases encompassing up to 25 Nikola Tre battery-electric vehicles (BEV) for delivery to the Port throughout 2022.

In addition to the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) production model, the next evolution of this modular heavy-duty platform was also on display to the public in the form of the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) prototype of the Nikola Tre. This subsequent model will enter production in Ulm by the end of 2023.

Spanning 50,000 square meters, of which 25,000 are covered, the Ulm manufacturing facility features 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 following years. The site is expected to operate according to the principles of the World Class Manufacturing program, with the goal of achieving zero waste, zero accidents, zero failures and zero stock, confirmed by its key characteristics which include fully digital shopfloor management designed to guarantee 100% traceability and paperless operations.

Based on the IVECO S-WAY truck platform with an electric axle co-designed and produced by FPT Industrial, the Nikola Tre features Nikola’s advanced electric and fuel cell technology, along with key components provided by Bosch. Together, the teams have designed a modular platform 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, Nikola said.

MOU with Hamburg Port Authority. The first phase of the agreement with the Port involves testing of the Nikola Tre BEVs for transport and logistics operations together with high-performance charging solutions. A more definitive second phase in the project partnership plans to see the full integration of the BEV vehicles in port operations, installation of charging infrastructure and on-site service support including major suppliers.

The vehicles provided for these two phases will be the US version of the Nikola Tre with special permissions for in-port operation.



Nikola is actually going to produce something? At least 25 battery electric trucks and maybe some more that will be exported to the US. However, it seems that seems that most of what Nikola is adding is their name. The rest of it is IVECO, Bosch, etc. They were originally going to make fuel cell trucks in Arizona and then announced that they would make battery electric trucks first. Most what they have produced so far were some gravity powered mockups that rolled down a ramp.

The originally were started making a prototype in Salt Lake City and made some big announcements. They got some sort of sweetheart deal from Arizona to move their manufacturing to Arizona. They were moving out of their building in SLC at the same time my company was moving into a much larger space in the same building. I was allowed to take a self guided tour of their prototype which I now know that was only a mockup. I wondered at the time why they were worth so muck more than we were. At the time, we were producing more than million dollars of self-propelled high tech agricultural equipment per month and had over 100 employees. Now my company (I was a founder and still own a fair share but have mostly retired) makes equipment worth about $3 million a month and has over 200 employees and is looking to move into a larger space. I guess we did not generate enough hype.

Have to wait and see if Arizona ever gets anything out of their deal other than hype and empty promises.



I completely agree.
I am generally a proponent of hydrogen instead of just batteries, but Nikola has been powered by hot air, not hydrogen, as I have repeatedly said.

If you want a hydrogen truck,there are Toyota, Hyundai and Hyzon to choose from, who are all reputable companies who actually have trucks on the road.

Nikola got nothing, other than hopes of making fast bucks.



As best I can tell, if want to purchase a hydrogen fuel cell truck in the US, they do not exist. That is, there are none that are available to purchase at this time. Toyota has tested some trucks in Southern California in drayage operations.

Hyundai has plans to operate 30 units of Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, starting from the second quarter of 2023. They note that this will be the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks in the U.S.

Hyzon has modified some Freightliner trucks to run on fuel cells for test. However, if you look at their specs, it is clear that they are not intended for long haul as they only have a 120kW of fuel cell power and are governed at a max speed of 55 mph. A long haul truck in the US would need to have about 300kW of continuous power and a continuous speed of at least 75 mph.

More on the subject above, it is interesting that IVECO does not have operations in the North American (US, Canada, and Mexico) market.

Anyway, if you are going to run local delivery or drayage operations, you do not need to use hydrogen. Batteries will work and will be lower cost to purchase, maintain, and to fuel.

I think that there is a place for hydrogen and maybe they will be a market for long-haul fuel cell trucks but I would not invest my money in fuel cell trucks or light duty vehicles. The place for clean hydrogen is more likely to be making ammonia, other chemicals, and maybe steel and cement manufacturing.

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