Nikola is relying on California-based maker Romeo Power Technology for the batteries for one of its prototype electric trucks, according to documents seen by the Financial Times and a person familiar with the work.
The use of an established industrial supplier is the second example of a start-up subcontracting a key technology, months after having touted its own “which changes the game”Drums, which he said he would demonstrate this year.
Earlier this month, Nikola Okay to purchase General Motors’ Ultium battery for its Badger pickup, as part of a $ 2 billion deal in which GM takes an 11% stake in the company.
Nikola’s enthusiasm for tech helped propel her actions this year, to the point that she was briefly more valuable than Ford, but she is now battling claims that she has repeatedly distorted her progress and failed does not have the proprietary technology it claimed.
Romeo Power, a battery maker located in an industrial area just outside Los Angeles, is supplying batteries to Nikola for use in prototype commercial trucks, according to the documents. Technical documents include schematics, product specifications and a battery test plan.
A person familiar with the matter said Romeo Power is supplying the battery for the Nikola Tre prototype, which is being built at CNH Industrial’s Iveco plant in Ulm, Germany.
Nikola declined to comment. Romeo Power has not returned any messages seeking comment.
Romeo Power was founded in 2015 and the staff includes employees from SpaceX, Tesla, Samsung, and Amazon. The company supplies battery packs for trucks and buses, and Michigan’s leading auto parts maker BorgWarner owns 20% of its parent company.
Nikola’s business relationship with the Los Angeles-based company had started at least in January 2020, according to the dates on the documents.
In November 2019, Nikola said it has technology that can double the range of current electric vehicles to 600 miles without increasing the size or weight of the battery. Trevor Milton, the founder of the company, called it at the time “the biggest breakthrough we have seen in the battery world.”
Last week, short seller Hindenburg Research released a report calling Nikola a “Complex fraud” and challenge his claims that he developed revolutionary technology. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice are make requests about the company.
In a rebuttal on Monday, Nikola said Hindenburg’s report contained false and misleading claims, but added that the company “uses third-party parts in prototype vehicles”. He noted that this was common practice among automakers and said Nikola could exchange his own parts during production.
Nikola also said he was working with an academic institution to advance battery technology and was excited about “potential breakthroughs”.
Nikola’s board member Steve Girsky said at an FT Due Diligence event on Thursday that the company sometimes relies on suppliers. Other supporters have described the company as a “Systems integrator” that orchestrates how other companies’s technology is used in a vehicle.
On September 11, the day after the publication of the Hindenburg report, Mr. Milton tweeted photographs showing a Tre prototype being assembled in Ulm. “F @ & k the haters,” he wrote in the tweet. “Well come back stronger from the lies that have been spread about us.”
A person familiar with the technology said the photos included Romeo Power batteries.