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Additional Suppliers Reveal Investments In Nikola's Fuel Cell-Electric Trucks

FreightWaves

More of the money behind Nikola Corporation's plans to produce hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric Class 8 trucks is being revealed.

On September 3, London-based CNH Industrial revealed that it was leading Nikola's Series D fundraising round. On Thursday, September 5, Nikola said German multinational engineering and technology supplier Robert Bosch LLC and South Korea conglomerate Hanwha Group had invested a total of $230 million cash in earlier funding rounds.

"They wanted it to come out at the right time where it would help both their companies and ours the most," Nikola CEO Trevor Milton told FreightWaves. "It seemed like a great time to push it."

Bosch is a key partner in developing the electronic axle, heavy-duty fuel cell system and battery technology for Phoenix, Arizona-based Nikola. Fifty Bosch engineers work alongside Nikola engineers with the goal of building zero-emission trucks for sale by the end of 2022 that could compete on a total cost of ownership basis with diesel-powered trucks.

"This isn't a wish," said Jason Roycht, who leads commercial and off-road vehicles at Bosch. "I'm pretty bullish on it."

The $230 million in cash from Bosch and Hanwha came in the second half of 2018, Milton said. Bosch said it has invested in Nikola's $16 million Series B and $44 million Series C fundraising rounds.

CNH Industrial received a 7.7 percent equity stake based on Nikola's current $3 billion valuation. Bosch and Hanwha's ownership stakes were undisclosed.

"It is not Bosch's intent to have a significant ownership stake in Nikola into the future," spokesman Tim Wieland said. "We played an important role in early rounds because we believe in the possibilities of a hydrogen-based powertrain and infrastructure."

CNH Industrial, the parent company of Iveco trucks, put $100 million in cash and $150 million in other support into Nikola.  

Hanwha is a leader in renewable energy and solar panel manufacturing. It is working with Nikola to obtain clean energy for its hydrogen fueling network as its exclusive solar panel provider.  

"Bosch can help us commercialize very complex vehicle components and Hanwha can provide us with clean energy at hydrogen locations where possible," Milton said.

"Rather than going at this alone like many startups do, my goal was to build the most powerful network of partners in the world, and I believe we have done a pretty good job at that with CNHI, Bosch, Hanwha and others."

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