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With the opening of a factory to produce Nikola Tre electric heavy-duty vehicles last week, the cooperation between Italy-based global commercial truck maker Iveco and U.S.-based manufacturer of zero-emission trucks Nikola has entered a new stage.
The joint venture partners stated that production of the Nikola Tre electric heavy-duty vehicles will commence by the end of the year at the plant in Ulm, Germany. In 2022, the first Nikola Tre vehicles will be delivered to a small group of buyers in the United States.
In addition to that battery-electric vehicle (BEV) production model, the Nikola Tre fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) prototype, which is set to commence production in Ulm by the end of 2023, was also on show to the public.
The Ulm plant, which covers 50,000 square metres (nearly 60,000 square yards) and has a final assembly process optimised for "electric-born" automobiles, spans 50,000 square metres (nearly 60,000 square yards).
The production line is currently estimated to be capable of producing roughly 1,000 units per shift per year, with gradual ramp-up expected in the coming years.
The new site, as well as the entire first phase of industrialisation, represents a joint investment by Iveco and Nikola, with a total of 160 suppliers expected to be involved in the process from start to finish, according to the manufacturers.
The Nikola Tre is built on the Iveco S-WAY cabover truck platform, with an electric axle co-designed and manufactured by FPT Industrial.
It includes Nikola's breakthrough electric and fuel cell technology, as well as Bosch-supplied critical components.
Over the past couple of years, Nikola and Tesla have been known rivals in the EV semi space. Nikola sued Tesla alleging that the Tesla Semi was a rip-off of Nikola's own truck design. Tesla responded to the lawsuit accusing Nikola of basing its first Nikola One truck on a 2010 concept by designer Adriano Mudri. Mudri is now the design director for Rimac, a Croatian carmaker. This case is still ongoing.
Tesla is requesting a COVID-19 waiver for a "Giga-Fest" at its massive factory near Berlin, which is currently under development. Up to 9,000 people are expected to attend the event to learn more about Tesla's plans for the 5.8 billion euro ($6.9 billion) plant that would produce Tesla cars for European consumers.
Tesla started construction on the factory in Grunheide in December 2019, although it has yet to receive formal approval for the location.
The business wants to organise an event on Oct. 9 to show off the plant as it is being built. Elon Musk, the company's Technoking, announced his attendance to the event if it goes ahead. Musk has stated that the first automobiles will be built at the plant in October or shortly thereafter.
Tesla has asked for permission to have 9,000 people on-site, above the 5,000-person maximum set by pandemic laws.
The day will include a "behind the scenes" factory tour and the chance to ride in a Model Y, the automobile that will be made on-site if the plant is permitted, according to a website put up to register for the event.
The launch of Tesla's electric big rig has been pushed back to 2022, citing "low availability of battery cells and worldwide supply chain constraints." The business also stated that it is deferring the project in order to concentrate resources on the construction of two new plants in Berlin and Austin.
The concept of a battery-powered vehicle has piqued the interest of retailers and shippers looking to save money on fuelling and maintenance. Several major corporations have made bookings for the Semi, including Pepsi, Walmart, Anheuser-Busch, UPS, and FedEx.
A base vehicle is expected to cost $US150,000, with a longer-range model starting at $US180,000. The fee of a reservation is $US20,000.