Nikola Badger Sideview
Nikola Corp.

Nikola, GM Form Partnership: GM to Design, Build Electric Truck

Nikola Corporation, a Phoenix, Arizona-based electronic vehicle startup, and General Motors Co. announced September 8 that the two had come to form a strategic partnership. Additionally, Nikola Corp. said its Badger electric truck would be designed, engineered, and manufactured by GM and use GM batteries and fuel cells.

In exchange for 11% ownership of Nikola, a $2 billion equity stake, and the right to nominate a director, General Motors agreed to manufacture the truck and give Nikola access to its parts and components.

In a statement, GM estimated it would receive in excess of $4 billion in benefits, including the value of the shares, the contract to manufacture the Badger, supply contracts for batteries and fuel cells, and electric vehicle credits retained for the life of the contract. In addition, the auto giant will become Nikola’s sole, exclusive supplier for Nikola’s Class 7/8 trucks.

Nikola anticipates saving over $4 billion in battery and powertrain costs over 10 years and over $1 billion in engineering and validation costs.

GM will be subject to a staged lock-up provision beginning in one year and ending in June 2025.

Nikola will retain the Badger brand and remain responsible for marketing and sales of the truck, slated to be available in two versions: one traditional electric truck, and one that runs on hydrogen fuel cells. According to GM, the location where the Badger is to be manufactured will be announced at a later date. According to Nikola, the Badger will be formally revealed in December and begin production in 2022.

In a statement, GM CEO Mary Barra said the partnership with Nikola would be a prime opportunity to deploy GM’s new proprietary battery and hydrogen fuel cell systems. “We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability,” she said. “In addition, applying General Motors’ electrified technology solutions to the heavy-duty class of commercial vehicles is another important step in fulfilling our vision of a zero-emissions future.”

“Nikola is one of the most innovative companies in the world. General Motors is one of the top engineering and manufacturing companies in the world. You couldn’t dream of a better partnership than this,” said Nikola’s founder and CEO, Trevor Milton. Milton also lauded GM’s Ultium battery technology and Hydrotech fuel cell systems, and noted that General Motors now has “a vested interest to see Nikola succeed.”

The deal is expected to close before September 30, pending typical regulatory appeal.

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.