Nikola, a startup on electric and fuel cell trucks, will adopt electric batteries co-developed by South Korea’s LG Chem and its US partner General Motors, according to industry sources on Friday.
The Arizona-based motor company is expected to equip the Ultium battery made by LG Chem for the Badger electric pickup truck, slated for mass production in 2022.
Expectation for the deal was high, as GM and Nikola recently announced their partnership on electric pickup trucks and fuel cell commercial trucks to take on Tesla.
GM has received a 11 percent stake in Nikola in return for battery supply. The automaker will also take part in building the Nikola truck at one of its factories.
GM CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday the company could supply the Ultium battery for other companies as well.
The Ultium battery was co-developed by LG Chem and GM, and is expected to feature LG’s high-nickel technology that raises the driving distance on a single charge.
LG and GM plan to start mass producing Ultium batteries at their joint factory in Ohio in 2022.
The Ohio plant, equally invested by LG and GM last year, will have a total production capacity of 30 gigawatt-hours per year.
“LG Chem is expanding its customer base along with GM,” said a company official. “But it’s hard to say Nikola is a direct customer of LG.”
On Thursday, Nikola was accused by a research firm of lying about its EV and hydrogen fuel-cell technologies. Its shares fell as much as 13 percent after the claims went public.
GM, however, said it had confidence in Nikola’s technologies, and the accusation wouldn’t change their partnership.
By Song Su-hyun (song@heraldcorp