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Earlier this week General Motors (GM) announced a $2 billion investment in electric vehicle startup Nikola Motor Company, giving GM an 11% stake in the company. The investment is part of a larger partnership between the two US automotive companies and will also see GM manufacture Nikola's hydrogen-electric pickup truck, called the Badger. Production of the fuel cell pickup truck is slated to begin by the end of 2022.
The deal will provide Nikola with access to GM's portfolio of tried and tested electric vehicle parts, its decades of manufacturing experience, its Ultium battery technology, and a multibillion-dollar fuel cell program that is ready for production. GM's manufacturing expertise will be critical to help Nikola avoid the manufacturing issues rival Tesla experienced when it entered mass production for its vehicles - the electric vehicle maker had issues meeting target production numbers and ensuring quality on all its vehicles.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra spoke as to how the deal will help shape GM's clean energy future. “We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability,” the CEO stated. “In addition, applying General Motors’ electrified technology solutions to the heavy-duty class of commercial vehicles is another important step in fulfilling our vision of a zero-emissions future.”
As GM looks to the future of the automotive industry it will increasingly rely on its team that is focused on the perfection of electric vehicle technology. Here are the leaders guiding GM to a clean energy future.
Ken Morris is a central figure in GM's plans for the next steps in automotive development. Morris first joined GM in 2014 as the company's Vice President of Global Product Integrity and has since climbed to become the company's VP of Electric and Autonomous Vehicle Programs. In this role, Morris will help sculpt the future of GM, as the company is on its way to bringing 20 new all-electric models to market by 2023 including a battery-electric truck.
Reporting directly to Morris is Rick Spina, GM's VP in charge of developing a business around the company's electric vehicle efforts - beyond car sales. This could include paid charging stations and charging network deals. GM already collaborates with three of the nation’s leading EV charging networks to enable access to over 31,000 charging ports - the largest collective electric vehicle charging network in the US.
Dane Parker serves as GM's Chief Sustainability Officer and champions the company's adoption of clean energy in all aspects of its business. Among Parker's many responsibilities, he leads the strategic design and implementation infrastructure for electric vehicles at GM facilities enabling GM's fleet of electric vehicles to have access to a consistent network of charging locations at locations like GM dealerships and maintenance centers.
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