The partnership between the global commercial vehicles manufacturer and the US-based group specializing in zero-emission Class 8 heavy-duty trucks and related energy solutions is about to begin its manufacturing journey in Ulm, Germany.
An exciting new chapter in Iveco and Nikola Corporation’s sustainable transport story set course today in Ulm, Germany as the manufacturing facility dedicated to the Nikola Tre electric heavy-duty trucks was unveiled to the public, ready to start production by year end. A milestone reached at record speed and delivered on schedule as previously communicated by Iveco, the commercial vehicles brand of CNH Industrial, and Nikola Corporation. The first Nikola Tre models produced here will be delivered to select customers in the United States in 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.
Today’s launch event was hosted in accordance with current COVID-19 standards and was limited to a select gathering of about 100 international and national stakeholders and media. Among those in attendance were Gerrit Marx, President Commercial & Specialty Vehicles at CNH Industrial and designated CEO of the Iveco Group; Mark Russell, Chief Executive Officer and President of Nikola; Winfried Herrmann, State Minister of Transport in Baden-Württemberg; Martin Bendel, First Mayor of the city of Ulm; Massimiliano Lagi, Consul General of Italy in Stuttgart, Germany.
“Despite all the industry and global pandemic challenges we have been facing since we first announced this partnership in September 2019, it is extremely rewarding to be able to stand here today as a team and witness the execution of all of our hard work delivered on time and according to our original plans,” said Gerrit Marx during his opening address. “Thanks to IVECO’s proven expertise and established footprint we have provided a platform upon which Nikola’s technology can thrive. Now our focus is on ensuring the success of this operation and jointly taking the lead when it comes to climate-neutral long- and short-haul heavy-duty transport.”
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 programme, 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.
“This new facility is beautiful, and we are grateful to the Iveco and Nikola teams for their collaboration and perseverance to bring it to life,” said Nikola CEO Mark Russell. “This is yet another important milestone for Nikola as we execute on our strategy and vision to be a global leader in zero-emissions transportation solutions.”
Designed and projected as a safe, reliable and high-performance, zero-emission transport solution, the Nikola Tre is driving change for the sector. Based on the IVECO S-WAY truck platform with an electric axle co-designed and produced by FPT Industrial, it 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.