In a statement, U.S. electric truck maker Nikola stated, it was open to collaborating with South Korea’s Hyundai Motor on hydrogen technology.
The development comes in the wake of Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper publishing a report on Sunday, saying Trevor Milton, Nikola Corp’s founder, wants to collaborate with Hyundai
Incidentally, this is the third time Milton has proposed the collaboration. Earlier, Hyundai had twice rejected his proposal for the same.
Hyundai, and Toyota Motor Corp are among top few automakers championing hydrogen technology.
“Trevor has immense respect for Hyundai and views Hyundai amongst the leaders in hydrogen around the world,” said Nikola’s spokeswoman Nicole Rose. “Trevor has, and will continue to be, open to collaborate if they ever choose to do so”.
According to a source familiar with the matter at hand, “If Nikola makes an official offer, Hyundai can consider the proposal”.
While Hyundai wants to sell its hydrogen technology to other automakers it however does not want to create a potential competitor, which Nikola could very well become, said the source.
“It would be a complicated relationship,” said the source while preferring the cover of anonymity since he/she was not authorized to speak to the media.
Hyundai declined to comment.
According to Kim Joon-sung, an analyst at Meritz Securities, it needs to be ascertained whether any partnership would benefit Hyundai at this point.
“Nikola needs to produce some tangible results to work with Hyundai on fuel cell cars or infrastructure, but those are not certain at this point,” said Kim.
In July 2020, Hyundai Motor had shipped 10 of the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty truck, the Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell, to Switzerland. The company aims to produce 1,600 units by 2025.
Nikola plans on commencing its battery electric trucks in 2021, said the company, followed by fuel cell electric trucks in 2023.
Hyundai has partnered with Audi on hydrogen vehicle technology.