Nikola anticipates raising over $1 billion in Series D funding

CNH Industrial will take a $250 million strategic stake in Nikola as the lead Series D investor, and Bosch and Hanwha will remain strategic investors from prior funding rounds.

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Nikola Corporation has attracted interest from CNH Industrial N.V. to enter into a strategic and exclusive heavy duty truck partnership, as part of its Series D funding. CNH Industrial will take a $250 million strategic stake in Nikola as the lead Series D investor. Pre-money valuation was set at $3 billion.

IVECO and FPT Industrial, the commercial vehicle and powertrain brands of CNH Industrial, respectively, will assist in engineering and manufacturing expertise to industrialize Nikola’s fuel-cell and battery electric trucks. The following vehicles will benefit from this partnership: the Nikola ONE, a NAFTA- compliant class 8 sleeper truck; the Nikola TWO, a NAFTA-compliant class 8 day-cab truck; and the Nikola TRE, a European compliant cab-over heavy duty truck.

Nikola will contribute technologies for a European joint venture with CNH Industrial that will include fuel-cell expertise, e-axles, inverters, independent suspension, on-board hydrogen fuel storage, over-the-air software update functionality, infotainment, vehicle controls, vehicle-to-station communication protocols, power electronics, and access to a hydrogen fuelling network.

Strategic near-term project milestones include the industrialization of the Nikola TWO fuel cell- powered class 8 truck for the North American market, as well as the integration of IVECO S-Way truck technology into the battery-electric powered Nikola TRE cab-over model for both the North American and European markets. In the long-term, a European joint venture will cover both battery electric vehicles (BEV) and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) launched by Q4 2022. Nikola plans to leverage IVECO’s European sales, service and warranty channels to accelerate access to the European market.

Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Corporation, said: “The time has come to finally provide a zero-emission solution to the heavy duty truck market. 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. 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. It is exciting to see IVECO taking the lead in providing zero-emission solutions in Europe through its partnership with Nikola. By bringing CNH Industrial on board, we now have access to manufacturing know-how, purchasing power, validated truck parts, plant engineering and much more. Few will doubt our ability to commercialize a truck now.”

Nikola anticipates raising over $1 billion in the Series D round, granting approximately 25% ownership to new investors and business partners, including CNHI.

Nikola also announced two strategic investors from its prior funding rounds. Bosch and Hanwha have each invested at least $100 million, totalling $230 million.

Bosch has been an instrumental partner for Nikola in the development of its heavy-duty vehicle fuel cell system and battery technology. Hanwha is Nikola’s exclusive solar panel provider (Q CELLS), generating the clean electricity that is critical to the production of renewable hydrogen.

“Bosch can help us commercialize very complex vehicle components and Hanwha can provide us with clean energy at hydrogen locations where possible. Rather than going at this alone like many start-ups do, my goal was to build the most powerful network of partners in the world, and I believe we have done a pretty good job at that with CNHI, Bosch, Hanwha and others,” said Milton.

Nikola attracted $210 million of funding in its Series C round in November 2018. This year, the US Department of Energy awarded Nikola a $1.7 million grant to advance its research into fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA).

Nikola is pursuing a new approach and unique MEA architecture to satisfy the high-power output and durability requirements of heavy-duty applications with its academic partners: Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University and Georgia Institute of Technology. In this project, Nikola will bring together advanced concepts in catalysts, ionomers, proton exchange membranes, and gas diffusion layers within a robust MEA by using appropriate, scalable fabrication methods. Nikola’s hydrogen station partner NEL Hydrogen of Oslo, Norway was also awarded a $2 million award from the Department of Energy.

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