From September 08/2020:
Most notably, 2nd Gear, where GM announces it has taken an %11 stake in Nikola Motors for $2B dollars; that’s billion, with a B! Why?
Seriously I’m asking why? What does GM get out of this? Let’s step back in time for a moment.
To say that I’m extremely skeptical of Nikola Motors would be a mountain of an understatement as I think they’re completely full of shit!
Have you ever seen any product from Nikola Motors, any product, actually move under its own power? I’ll be so bold as to answer that for you: No you haven’t! But then there is this video from Nikola itself
There’s the semi truck, actually working, kind of. I’ve been lucky enough to be given the chance to drive a diesel semi truck and a fuel cell car. I’m not sure what kind of rarefied air that puts me in, but I feel lucky to have been one of just a few people at this point to have done both.
The truck, well there was nothing special about it but the experience has always stuck with me. Everyone should have to sit behind the wheel of a big rig at least once before you get your general license. The difference between driving a car or pickup truck is so completely different from commanding a big rig. Our roads would be much safer and nicer if we all understood what it’s like for the truck driver when he or she is amongst the rest of us in traffic.
As for the fuel cell car, I worked for Honda way back when and was given the chance to drive the FCX in its first generation. This one
What was remarkable about that car was its silence and smooth operation, other than that, it was just a car. It was a prototype that cost a few million dollars and I almost crashed it; more correctly, I was almost crashed into. I was driving along the street to put it away for the night and some A-hole pulled right out in front of me from street parking and missed side swiping me by mere inches. Then they had the nerve to get mad at me, this is why I hate the people of Vancouver.
Now its Honda technology as compared to what ever Nikola has and almost 20 years difference and well, car vs a semi truck but in that video, holy shit is the Nikola loud. Those radiators and cooling solutions seems to be rather massive and not quite up to the challenge as they seem to be running at capacity. They weren’t taxing the truck even in those temperatures and I was shocked.
I’m not an engineer but something doesn’t add up here. One thing I know for sure, you can’t simply insert what you saw in the semi and transplant it into the Badger pickup truck. The core technology may be the same but the units will be completely different from one another.
But none of that matters and leads me to the real crux of the concern today. I get needing GM’s money and perhaps manufacturing expertise, although that’s debatable, but why do they need GM’s technology when it comes to fuel cells and batteries?
If, as the CEO has blathered on about for years now that Nikola has the answer, the technology ready to go, then why does any of GM’s fuel cell and battery technology matter to them? I suspect it’s because Nikola either has nothing or its hardware is so bad or underdeveloped that GM’s technology is what Nikola ‘badged’ vehicles will end up using; they’ve said so jointly in this press release, “GM will also supply Nikola’s fuel cells globally, except Europe, for its class 7/8 truck. Nikola makes battery-electric and hydrogen-powered trucks.”
Wait just a second, Nikola has spent the last 4 years and according to them, a few billion dollars developing their fuel cell hardware all to end up just using GM’s hardware, both fuel cell and battery technology in their upcoming vehicles. What? Really?
So let’s just scrap everything we have and go with this off the self stuff from GM. I’m sure it has to be more complicated than that but help me understand.
This is a long winded way of saying that Nikola has been and is still full of shit. They had and have nothing! They’re a marketing story with slick and pretty vapor ware.
I suspect GM is getting a new name plate, a badge that isn’t GM or Chevrolet or Buick or any other of your fathers/grandfathers badges that the kids don’t care about. Nikola is the vehicle to put new GM technology into, without the baggage of yesterdays company being held over its head and tainting the poor unwashed masses.
Seriously, if you believe Nikola is more than vapor ware, I have some land in Florida to sell you, cheap.