Nikola and Ryder have mutually agreed to end their exclusive partnership on Nikola’s hydrogen-electric Class 8 trucks, allowing Nikola to work with major truck dealerships to sell and service Nikola trucks.
According to a news release, this means both companies will be able to explore emerging opportunities within the rapidly growing commercial transportation industry. “Nikola and Ryder view this decision positively and are both now open to business arrangements with other partners as the industry continues to evolve,” said the announcement.
In December 2016, at the same time it unveiled its electric Class 8 tractor, Nikola announced a strategic partnership with Ryder. A little over a year ago, Nikola was touting its different ownership model that was made possible through its partnership, a leasing model that promises to roll truck payments, full-service maintenance, and the fuel cost itself into a single price.
"Ryder has been incredible to work with and they have been with us since late 2016," says Trevor Milton, founder and CEO of Nikola, in the announcement. "As the market evolves, each of us are now free to expand our operations to other partners, something the previous agreement did not allow us to do. We look forward to finding ways to continue to work with Ryder in the future as a customer and have found them to be a great partner."
Milton tweeted on May 29, “We will now be working with major truck dealerships to sell and service Nikola trucks. This is incredible news and I believe will create a great cash flow and backlog of Nikola trucks on order.”
The move coincides with Nikola’s acquisition by VectoIQ Acquisition Corp., a deal that will create a new publicly traded company named Nikola Corp. After the Nikola Motors Merger is complete, the new ticker symbol will be "NKLA."
In its March announcement of the acquisition deal, which is widely expected to become a reality, Nikola execs said moves such as its deal in Europe with Iveco and the introduction of the Badger pickup truck, combined with the funding made available with the merger, will help it ramp up production of its battery-electric truck next year and its fuel-cell electric truck in 2023.
Nikola has projected 12,000 unit sales in 2024, according to published reports.