Iveco and Nikola inaugurate plant in Germany
By Roberta Prandi16 September 2021
The Nikola-Iveco joint venture has been quite busy recently, having just inaugurated the new assembly plant for the Nikola Tre heavy-duty truck in Ulm, Germany.
During the same ceremony, the company unveiled the Nikola Tre fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) that will be produced in Ulm starting in 2023, along with the Nikola Tre battery-electric vehicle (BEV) that will start rolling out of the assembly line in 2022 at the expected rhythm of two trucks a week, initially in a configuration for export into the US market.
Diego Borghese, CEO of the Nikola-Iveco joint venture, explained how the Ulm plant has been designed for the highest flexibility: the facility will assemble two vehicles a week in 2022 with plans to ramp up to one truck a day in 2023. The available capacity at the plant is 1000 trucks per year.
The plant will handle three Nikola Tre models: the BEV in day cab arrangement and the FCEV in day cab and in sleeper arrangement.
These configurations reflect the intended mission profile of the two trucks. With a range of 560 km and two-hours for full battery recharge, the BEV is a truck meant for urban and short deliveries. The FCEV on the other hand will count on an autonomy of 800 km, with full battery recharge in about 20 minutes (comparable to a full diesel tanking), so it will be destined to long range missions.
While the first Nikola Tre BEVs to be produced in Ulm will be exported to the US market, the first prototypes for the EU-approved version will roll out very soon and start field tests in 2022. Series production is expected to start before the end of next year.
The Ulm plant counts on the regional proximity of many suppliers, being located in one of the most industrialized areas of Germany and in the heartland of the country’s automotive industry. One major example is Bosch which will be supplying the fuel cells modules.