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Nikola Tre3
Nikola Corp.

Nikola Keeps Trucking

The EV truck market is heating up with numerous automakers including a host of hungry youngsters Rivian, Lordstown, Tesla and Bollinger each fighting for position. However, with an eye on capturing the lion’s share of the electric truck market, Nikola Corp. recently broke ground on its 1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona.

"This has been an incredible journey for Nikola Corp. We started in our basement six years ago and now we are kicking off this 1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility," said Trevor Milton, Nikola founder and executive chairman. "The residents of Coolidge will be a huge part of the Nikola story and without the help of Governor Ducey and the Arizona economic development teams, this project would not have been possible in Arizona. These next 12-months will be even more exciting as we see this facility go up and as we add more Arizonans to the Nikola team."

Located off U.S. Highway 87 at east Houser Rd and Vail Rd, the future 4.0 designed facility will incorporate the latest technology to increase connectivity 24/7 throughout the building and equipment to optimize overall energy, productivity and quality. After an 18-month national site search of various locations around the United States, led by Tom Stringer at BDO and Saint Holdings, Nikola selected Coolidge for its outstanding industrial infrastructure within the region. The decision was also further solidified by the tireless support of the state, county and city, as well as the breadth of talent, year-round sunshine conducive to renewable energy, and the infrastructure available to scale with the ambitious plans and growth trajectory Nikola has set forth. 

"The reason our company exists is in support of a sustainable future so everything we do in our manufacturing process and our building site will be done to ensure the smallest environmental footprint possible while making the highest quality, high tech products that will impact the sustainability of the planet," said Mark Duchesne, Nikola global head of manufacturing. 

When asked about the technology Nikola plans to integrate in the new facility, Duchesne tells IndustryWeek, "the process design is still in progress so it's premature to go into details, but we will be incorporating automated guided vehicles (AGV) for parts conveyance as well as process flow, a variety of robotics and high speed automation in various applications such as battery pack assembly," he says. "We will have the latest generation of end-of-line test equipment and dynamometers, and of course our building control energy technologies will be state-of-the-art." 

Nikola Two19The first phase of construction is scheduled for completion in late 2021, with the second phase projected to be complete within the following 12-18 months. The U.S.-based facility represents a capital investment of approximately $600 million (USD) and will initially produce the Nikola Tre and Nikola Two. At full production, the facility will reach approximately 35,000 units annually, running two shifts.

According to Duchesne, the new plant "is a phased build only to allow us to start building and supplying the highest quality trucks to our customers ASAP,"  he says. "The Coolidge facility will focus primarily on North American customers. We have a partnership with IVECO in Ulm, Germany to produce the Tre cab-over for European customers."

The partnership was announced in February. The strategic and exclusive Heavy-Duty Truck partnership saw CNH Industrial taking a $250 million stake in Nikola as the lead Series D investor. The partnership announcement at the CNH Industrial Capital Markets Day in September 2019, was quickly followed in December with the unveiling of the Nikola TRE, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) heavy duty truck, which is the first step towards the fuel-cell electric (FCEV) model. The first Nikola Tre trucks will be produced in partnership with IVECO, followed shortly after by the Coolidge facility. 

The Nikola TRE is based on the IVECO S-WAY platform and integrates Nikola’s truck technology, controls and infotainment. According to a February statement, the goal is “to accelerate industry transformation towards emission neutrality of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks in North America and Europe through the adoption of fuel-cell technology. The primary focus of the collaboration is to leverage each partners’ respective expertise to successfully deploy zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and to disrupt the industry with an entirely new business model.”


Sense Aware Id Small Lean 4x6@300dpi
FedEx SenseAware

Time for Tracking to Improve?

Whenever a vaccine is ready for distribution to the global population, its distribution is sure to create an entirely new batch of challenges. Accurate tracking that goes beyond the traditional scanning that many logistics providers leverage will prove instrumental, especially as security concerns surface. 

To combat these challenges FedEx recently announced the launch of SenseAware ID, a lightweight sensor-based logistics device that delivers a new level of precision tracking. The enhanced location visibility provided by this technology will create opportunities for FedEx customers to reimagine their supply chain through real-time updates on a package’s location within the FedEx Express network. SenseAware ID will improve the safety, security and timeliness of deliveries – key attributes for packages that contain critical contents such as life-saving pharmaceuticals and emergency medical supplies.

The detailed location data provided by SenseAware ID is a critical differentiator for healthcare industry customers, and FedEx expects to use this new technology with anticipated COVID-19 vaccine shipments. The rollout of SenseAware ID is well-timed as FedEx continues to move life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for healthcare customers throughout the U.S.

“Package tracking and visibility are more important now than ever, as businesses have become increasingly reliant on timely deliveries,” said Robert B. Carter, executive vice president and chief information officer, FedEx Corporation. “Created by our innovation teams at FedEx, SenseAware ID was designed to give our customers the precise level of tracking they’ve been looking for, enabling them to optimize their supply chains and make any necessary adjustments during the journey of their shipments.”

Sense AwareFedEx SenseAwareFedEx has long been a pioneer in sensor-based logistics, providing advanced tracking of urgent and high value shipments for over a decade through its proprietary SenseAware portfolio. SenseAware ID is the latest innovation in FedEx sensor technology, designed to make sensor-based logistics more accessible to FedEx customers.

SenseAware ID uses a lightweight, compact sensor that transmits precise package location data every two seconds via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to WiFi access points or established gateway devices throughout the FedEx Express network. Packages equipped with the SenseAware ID sensor are tracked hundreds of times versus dozens of times with traditional package scanning protocols, which provides an unprecedented amount of real-time data about the location of the shipment.

As part of the initial roll-out, SenseAware ID sensors are being applied to First Overnight shipments within the U.S. domestic FedEx Express network. An initial round of customers in the healthcare, aerospace and retail industries will receive access to the enhanced data in November 2020. FedEx expects to expand access to this precision location data to additional customers throughout the first half of 2021. SenseAware ID will eventually be made available for a broad range of premium FedEx Express services.

The enhanced package visibility data provided by SenseAware ID will give FedEx healthcare customers the opportunity to closely monitor and proactively protect shipments using additional FedEx healthcare services, including cold-chain storage, thermal blankets and temperature controlled containers. SenseAware ID is expected to play a critical role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines using the FedEx First Overnight service, helping ensure these sensitive shipments are delivered quickly and safely.