Nikola Motor Company building 500-acre facility near Phoenix. Nikola Motor Company photo. 

Nikola Motor joins race to build semi trucks that run on alternate-fuels

On Tuesday, Nikola Motor Company unveiled its plans for a $1 billion plant to build hydrogen-electric semi trucks in Buckeye Arizona, located near Phoenix.  The company says the construction of the plant is slated to begin by the end of 2019.

“We will begin transferring our R&D and headquarters to Arizona immediately and hope to have the transition completed by October 2018,” said Nikola CEO and founder Trevor Milton.

The Salt Lake City-based company designs and manufactures hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems and hydrogen stations.

According to the company’s press release, it has over 8,000 trucks on pre-order and it expects the first trucks will roll off the assembly line in 2021.

The 500-acre facility will be one of the world’s largest stand-alone manufacturing plants for next-generation semis, according to the company.

“This incredible new technology will revolutionize transportation, and we’re very proud it will be engineered right here in Arizona,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.

Nikola Motor Company joins Tesla in building alternative-fuel semi trucks.  Tesla announced last year that it will have an all-electric semi truck in production by 2019, but few details on the manufacturing of the Tesla Semi have been offered by the company.

As well, Navistar International Corp and Volkswagen are hoping to launch their versions of medium duty electric trucks by late 2019.  Daimler AG has already delivered its first range of smaller electric trucks to customers in New York.

According to Reuters, the costs for developing the $1 billion facility will be shared between Nikola Motors and the state of Arizona.