Nikola outsourced batteries on truck prototype – Financial Times

Nikola is relying on Californian manufacturer Romeo Power Technology for 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 industry supplier is the second example of the start-up outsourcing a key technology, months after it touted its own “game-changing” battery, which it said it would demonstrate this year.

Earlier this month, Nikola agreed to purchase General Motors’ Ultium battery for its Badger pick-up truck, as part of a $2bn deal in which GM is taking an 11 per cent stake in the company.

Excitement for Nikola’s technology has helped propel its shares this year, to the point that it was briefly more valuable than Ford, but it is now fighting allegations that it repeatedly misrepresented its progress and does not have the proprietary technology it claimed.

Romeo Power, a battery pack maker located in an industrial zone just outside Los Angeles, is supplying battery packs to Nikola to use in prototype commercial trucks, the documents show. The technical documents include diagrams, product specifications and a plan for testing the battery packs.

A person familiar with the matter said Romeo Power is supplying the battery for the prototype Nikola Tre, which is being built at CNH Industrial’s Iveco plant in Ulm, Germany.

Nikola declined to comment. Romeo Power did not return 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 major auto parts manufacturer BorgWarner in Michigan owns 20 per cent of its corporate parent.

Nikola’s business relationship with the Los Angeles