Unless another automaker wants to produce the Nikola Badger, it is officially dead. This is what Nikola meant to say when it announced a new MOU (memorandum of understanding) with GM that “supersedes and replaces the transaction announced on September 8, 2020.” Nikola will still be able to use GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell technology in its trucks, but all Nikola Badger deposits will be refunded.
Nikola also said it would continue to discuss the use of Ultium batteries in its vehicles, but only for its lass 7 and Class 8 vehicles. That shows the Badger may not be totally dead, but that it is not among Nikola’s priorities right now.
The new MOU is non-binding and will require further negotiation and “execution of definitive documentation acceptable to both parties.” The press release also suggests that the equity stake GM was going to take in Nikola is no longer in place, meaning that not a single part of that previous deal is valid. More than that, it means GM wants no piece of Nikola.
Although this may seem detrimental to Nikola, it also sounds really bad for GM. When Hindenburg Research accused Nikola of committing fraud, GM said it had done all due diligence to get involved with the startup. If that was the case, it makes no sense for GM to change its mind now. After all, Nikola’s plans would still be interesting, and GM would still believe it will become a valuable asset in the future.
If the new MOU progresses, Nikola believes it will start testing its new Class 7 and Class 8 trucks with Hydrotec fuel cells by the end of 2021. At this point, this is also something that needs to be confirmed. If this deal also goes sour, we wonder which fuel cells Nikola put in its trucks.