Tesla Semi competitor Nikola Motors has opened its new headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, according to CEO Trevor Milton. The facility will house the company’s design, research and development teams.
“Nikola HQ is awesome. Just opened last week,” Milton announced via Twitter alongside a photo of what appears to be a lobby inside the building. Most of the company’s product line was pictured, to include the Nikola One and Nikola Tre hydrogen-electric semi trucks, the all-electric Nikola NZT off-road vehicle, and the Nikola WAV sit-down electric watercraft. Only the Nikola Two, the day cab variant of their hydrogen-electric semi truck unveiled in April with the WAV and NZT, was missing from the image. Milton also suggested that tours of the headquarters may be open to the public as soon as August.
Earlier this year, Nikola released details surrounding a deal made with Saint Holdings, LLC for 400 acres in Pinal County, Arizona where the company will build its manufacturing facility. The location is inside Heritage, an 11,438-acre prime development area, within the Inland Port Arizona portion of the site, itself comprising 3,000 acres and dubbed a “manufacturing mega site.” Nikola’s presence in the area is expected to bring an estimated $1 billion in economic stimulus to the region by 2024.
Nikola’s latest product unveilings took place in Scottsdale at Nikola World 2019, a two-day event featuring a presentation, breakout sessions, track demos, and vehicle tours. In the weeks since, Milton and his team have continued to promote their products and mission via trade show appearances and interviews. One of the notable topics discussed during that time was Nikola’s commitment to hydrogen as a fuel source while acknowledging the advantages of fully-electric trucking systems for short-haul tasks.
“Around long-haul, you have more advantage on the hydrogen side because it’s lighter. It’s all about freight weight, or how much it costs to move a freight-ton per mile. There’s advantages to both infrastructures, but we’re mainly focused on the hydrogen side. We just offer battery-electric so we can tell people we’ll shoot you straight. There are areas where hydrogen does not make sense,” Milton said during an interview with Trucks.com. “The battery alone in an electric truck is going to cost $200,000. We’re shooting for an internal cost of $150,000 for our entire Nikola truck. Our truck also weighs less than the batteries in an electric truck. Now, electric is going to kick our butt in short-haul because it’s a really good solution, but electric trucks are not one size fits all.”
As part of Nikola’s commitment to hydrogen power, the trucking startup also announced a $14 million dollar fuel cell lab investment at the end of March this year, with several hundred dollars planned overall. The laboratory represents a critical component in the company’s plan to provide high-quality, high-efficiency fuel cell technology at a pace quick enough to meet the needs of the trucking industry as it drives towards an alternative-power future. Nikola plans to centralize the development, validation, and testing of its entire fuel cell system in one place, reducing the time required to meet its mission milestones.
Nikola will break ground on its main manufacturing facility later this year in Coolidge. Initial production is estimated to be 35,000 semi trucks annually and grow to an eventual 50,000 built per year. In the interim, Fitzgerald Glider Kits is producing the Class 8 long haulers with full production planned for 2022-2023.