Partnership

GM takes $2 billion ownership stake in Nikola, plans to engineer, manufacture Badger truck

General Motors anticipates having $4 billion in returns from its investment.

Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

General Motors (NYSE: GM) is expanding its stake in an alternative fuels future. The auto industry giant is receiving a $2 billion equity stake in Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA) for in-kind contributions relating to the engineering and manufacturing of the company's hydrogen-powered pickup truck, the Badger.

The deal includes putting GM's hand in the full product planning process including engineering, validating, and homologating the Badger for both battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicle variants.

Nikola is one of the most innovative companies in the world. General Motors is one of the top engineering and manufacturing companies in the world. You couldn't dream of a better partnership than this," said Nikola Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton.

Nikola BadgerNikola has revealed renderings of its hydrogen- and battery-powered pickup truck.Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

"By joining together, we get access to their validated parts for all of our programs, General Motors' Ultium battery technology and a multi-billion dollar fuel cell program ready for production. Nikola immediately gets decades of supplier and manufacturing knowledge, validated and tested production-ready EV propulsion, world-class engineering and investor confidence. Most importantly, General Motors has a vested interest to see Nikola succeed. We made three promises to our stakeholders and have now fulfilled two out of three promises ahead of schedule."

Nikola says that the engineering and manufacturing process would have cost the company $4 billions in battery and powertrain costs over 10 years and $1 billion in engineering and validation costs. Through its $2 billion investment, GM expects to receive inn excess of $4 billion in benefits between the equity value of the shares, contract manufacturing of the Badger, supply contracts for batteries and fuel cells, and EV credits retained over the life of the contract.

Nikola will utilize General Motors' Ultium battery system and Hydrotec fuel cell technology. General Motors debuted the Ultium battery system earlier this year. It will be an integral part of the company's lineup in the future including the GMC Hummer EV pickup and SUV and Cadillac Lyriq.

Nikola BadgerThe Nikola Badger powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology will include a water tap in its cabin. Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

Nikola is expected to introduce the Badger in early December. Badger is expected to enter production by the end of 2022. Deposits are currently being accepted for the model. Early in the reservation process, Milton divulged that 1,500 people per day were reserving the truck.

Another side of the Nikola business deals with tractor trailer technology. General Motors will be the exclusive supplier of fuel cells globally (outside of Europe) to Nikola for Class 7/8 trucks. This will allow Nikola to validate and scale to a possible multi-billion dollar operation.

Nikola remains an independent company. The investment is subject to customary antitrust regulatory approval and closing conditions. The parties anticipate closing the transaction prior to Sept. 30, 2020.

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Updated EV

2023 Nissan Leaf pricing announced

The Leaf got a mild facelift for 2023.

Nissan

Nissan is nearing the release of the Ariya, its first new EV in several years. Even so, the brand hasn't forgotten about its first mass-market EV, the Leaf. It was an early entrant in the space, and has been an efficient, affordable, commuter car for over a decade. The car got a mild facelift for 2023, with updated wheels and exterior styling accents. Today, Nissan announced pricing for the Leaf, which starts at just under $29,000.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf feels lively, despite middling power numbers.Nissan

The base Leaf comes with a 40-kWh battery capable of delivering a 149-mile range. Its 110-kW electric motor produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf SV Plus features a 60-kWh battery for a range of 212 miles. It comes with a 160-kW motor that makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Nissan backs all Leaf models with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

ProPilot Assist comes standard for the Leaf SV Plus, and brings a full suite of advanced driver aids that include adaptive cruise control, driver alertness features, and a surround-view monitor. All Leaf models get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf SV Plus offers up to 212 miles of range.Nissan

The new Leaf starts at $28,895, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. The Leaf SV Plus starts at $36,895. The 2023 Nissan Leaf is on sale now, and may be eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to receive a state tax credit or other incentives.

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The EQB lands this summer with a not-so-bad starting price.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is pressing ahead with its electrification goals. Following the release of the EQS flagship electric sedan last year, the automaker is readying the EQB, an electric SUV with up to seven seats. Today, Mercedes announced pricing for the vehicle, and it's surprisingly reasonable. Two trim levels will be offered for the EQB in the United States: Exclusive and Pinnacle, and wecould see an AMG variant at some point down the road.

The EQB comes in two variants, including the EQB 300 and EQB 350, both of which come with all-wheel drive. The EQB 300 offers 225 horsepower and the 350 delivers 288 ponies. Those aren't super-serious numbers and they don't have to be. The EQB competes with vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4, so mind-blowing performance isn't exactly the goal. Mercedes hasn't given range estimates yet, but they should fall in line with the competition.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQBThe EQB will come in two powertrain variants, each with two trims.Mercedes-Benz

The SUV comes standard with a 10.25-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Mercedes includes a good list of standard safety features, including lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and active brake assist. Additionally, the EQB's navigation system routes the vehicle for the best efficiency and can help locate charging stations.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 starts at $56,800, including a $1,050 destination charge. A range-topping Pinnacle trim is available for $59,350. The EQB 350 starts at $60,350. Mercedes says the SUV will go on sale in summer 2022.

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