Trucking news and briefs for Friday, July 16, 2021:
Nikola strikes deals to add 51 dealership locations
Nikola Corporation announced Thursday a second phase in establishing a nationwide plan for its Class 8 battery-electric and fuel-cell electric truck sales and service coverage with the addition of five independent dealers with more than 51 locations in nine states.
The five independent dealership additions to the Nikola dealer network average more than 80 years of providing strong sales and service support to customers.
The Nikola dealer network expansion includes HOLT Truck Centers (7 locations in Texas), Empire Truck & Trailer (7 locations in Arizona and California), Wagner Equipment Co. (11 locations in Colorado, New Mexico), Ring Power (14 locations in Florida), and Carter Machinery (12 locations in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia).
“These five new partners are expected to add a culture of customer focus and service leadership that we are building at Nikola,” said Nikola Energy and Commercial President Pablo Koziner. “Customers will benefit from the strength and experience of these companies and their highly talented organizations. These dealers will work closely with customers in helping them maximize operational efficiencies, energy management, vehicle uptime and overall industry adoption in BEV and FCEV vehicles.”
In April, Nikola announced a partnership with RIG360 Service Network, a network of heavy-duty truck service and maintenance centers, to provide sales and service products for commercial customers at more than 65 RIG360 dealer locations throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States.
Thursday’s announcement is anticipated to bring the number of Nikola sales and service locations up to 116 across the United States.
Cummins, Chevron partnering on hydrogen production
Chevron and Cummins announced a memorandum of understanding Thursday to explore a strategic alliance to develop commercially viable business opportunities in hydrogen and other alternative energy sources.
The MOU provides the framework for Chevron and Cummins to initially collaborate on four main objectives: advancing public policy that promotes hydrogen as a decarbonizing solution for transportation and industry; building market demand for commercial vehicles and industrial applications powered by hydrogen; developing infrastructure to support the use of hydrogen for industry and fuel cell vehicles; and exploring opportunities to leverage Cummins’ electrolyzer and fuel cell technologies at one or more of Chevron’s domestic refineries.
“Working with Chevron to advance hydrogen technology and accelerate ecosystem development helps us continue our goal in enabling a carbon-neutral world,” said Amy Davis, vice president and president of New Power at Cummins. “The energy transition is happening, and we recognize the critical role hydrogen will play in our energy mix. We’ve deployed more than 2,000 fuel cells and 600 electrolyzers around the world and are exploring other hydrogen alternatives including a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine as we continue to accelerate and harness hydrogen’s powerful potential.”
Self-driving tech firm Aurora plans to go public following merger
Aurora, a self-driving truck technology company, has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Reinvent Technology Partners Y, a special purpose acquisition company.
Upon closing of the proposed transaction, the combined company will be named Aurora Innovation and be publicly traded, with its common stock expected to be listed on Nasdaq.
Investors and Aurora partners have committed $1 billion in a private investment in public equity (PIPE), and the proposed transaction represents an equity value of $11 billion for Aurora. Investors in the PIPE include Baillie Gifford; funds and accounts managed by Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley); funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates; PRIMECAP Management Company; Reinvent Capital; XN; Fidelity Management and Research; Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; Index Ventures; and Sequoia Capital; as well as strategic investments from Uber; Paccar; and Volvo Group.
“Our goal at Aurora is to make the movement of goods and people more equitable, productive, dependable, and – crucially – much safer than it is today,” said Chris Urmson, co-founder and CEO of Aurora. “By combining with Reinvent and with this incredible group of investors, we are even closer to deploying self-driving vehicles and delivering the benefits this technology offers the world.”
Aurora expects to launch first in trucking in late 2023. Leveraging the self-driving capabilities matured in trucking, Aurora is expecting to rapidly expand into adjacent verticals including last-mile delivery and ride-hailing.
The proposed transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including the approval of shareholders of Reinvent and the stockholders of Aurora.