GM CEO Talks About Nikola Deal at RBC Capital Markets Global Industrials Virtual Conference

By September 14, 2020 4   min read  (710 words)

September 14, 2020 |

Nikola and GM

At the RBC Capital Markets Global Industrials Virtual Conference today, Mary Barra – Chairman & CEO talked about the recent deal with Nikola Motors.

Below is some of the transcript.

“Last week, we announced an agreement with Nikola to develop and manufacture its Badger pickup, using our battery-electric truck platform and altering battery systems. It will also leverage our production-ready Hydrotec fuel cell technology in the Badger fuel cell variant and its class seven and eight semi-trucks. Hydrotec fuel cells are a compliment to GMs Ultium batteries as part of our comprehensive electrification strategy.

Hydrotec is a promising new aspect of our electrification technology, which can now be applied to growth markets that are outside of our traditional core businesses. Hydrotec fuel cells systems can deliver zero-emission solutions to sectors of the economy that have high fuel consumption rates, and represent unsolved emission challenges for the incumbent technologies.

We are excited to be the exclusive provider of Hydrotec Fuel Cell Technology to Nikola, everywhere outside of Europe, and I expect our recent announcement will be the first of many more opportunities for applications of our Hydrotec Technology and GM’s growth into these new businesses. It’s advantageous for GM to have third parties validate our electric vehicle and Hydrotec fuel cell technology. We are already pursuing additional collaborations that will accelerate EV adoption for both retail and commercial customers.”

Joe Spak

Okay. Maybe to some other news that was in the market. You made this announcement with Nikola recently you are about their — they’re effectively paying you for capacity and access to your technology in the days that followed the company which had been under scrutiny. But can you talk about your view of the Nikola transaction some of the diligence and GM’s commitment to the deal?

Mary Barra

“So, our company has worked with a lot of different partners and we’re very capable team that has done the appropriate diligence. I understand that Nikola presented a little while earlier, so on the specific issues related to Nikola, I’ll let you — do have that conversation with them. But on the strength of the deal we put together, it validates our technology, it allows us to have more people using the technology, which gives us the advantage of scale, which will help us drive costs down. And then from a fuel cell perspective, using the Hydrotec fuel cell technology and entering a new segment for us, a growth segment, again, validating our fuel cell technology, I think it starts to unlock all-new growth area for us as it relates to fuel cells and tapping into in addition to, I’ll say, commercial and passenger vehicles, different areas where fuel cells are the appropriate zero-emission technology.”

Joe Spak

Okay. Maybe a couple of questions that just set to be came in from investors that sort of tie into this which, I think is, you touched on this a little bit on the call and the company announced it. But if things like loyalty are so important, and again market structure is important. I think just the question is sort of why you would help it would be competitor launching products in Nikola?

Mary Barra

“Well, again, as we look at our — we find it’s another opportunity for General Motors. I mean, I think the industry has been included — has been accused in the past of not being as efficient as it could be with technology and with leveraging engineering and capital. So the partnership that we have with Nikola and Honda for that matter is doing exactly that. It’s leveraging that technology, instead of everyone doing a slightly different version of it, that will included your royalty or licensing or revenue in many different forms coming to General Motors, as well as taking the cost down as the whole industry transforms and transfers to EV models.

We will still compete fiercely as it relates to go to market with our strong brands like we do today. This is just a more efficient way to do it. I’ll get to scale faster so it’s good for the customer, but also is good for the General Motor’s shareholder, because our technology is being used more broadly.”




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