Nikola Motor Company and Republic Services have discontinued their collaboration on refuse truck development, the latest setback for the electric-vehicle startup.
In August, the company had announced plans to produce as many as 5,000 electric refuse trucks for Republic Services, which has sought to build a more sustainable fleet of garbage trucks to better meet emissions standards.
The goal of the collaboration was to design and build an industry-first fully integrated refuse truck based on a zero-emissions battery-electric drive platform and body while also integrating multiple new systems into a new state-of-the-art vehicle.
After considerable collaboration and review, both companies determined that the combination of the various new technologies and design concepts would result in longer than expected development time, and unexpected costs. As a result, the program is being terminated resulting in the cancellation of the previously announced vehicle order.
“This was the right decision for both companies given the resources and investments required,” Mark Russell, Nikola’s chief executive officer, said in a a statement.
“We support and respect Republic Services’ commitment to achieving environmentally responsible, sustainable solutions for their customers. Nikola remains laser-focused on delivering on our battery-electric and fuel-cell electric commercial truck programs, and the energy infrastructure to support them.”
Nikola confirmed plans to start deliveries of Nikola Tre battery-electric semi-trucks in the US in 2021. Nikola is also planning to break ground on its first commercial hydrogen station in 2021. The company’s fuel-cell-electric semi-trucks will be produced at Nikola’s Coolidge, Arizona facility beginning in 2023.
General Motors decided last month to downgrade its partnership with Nikola after the startup was hit by allegations of deception shortly after those two companies had announced plans to collaborate in September. Nikola has denied misleading investors.