Nikola Motor Co., a Salt Lake City-based startup that builds electric vehicles and parts, has shortlisted the Sacramento region for a manufacturing plant that the company has said could bring thousands of jobs, according to the Greater Sacramento Economic Council.
The company, which was founded in October 2014, designs and manufactures electric vehicles, energy storage systems and electric vehicle components. This year it unveiled a prototype semi-truck, the Nikola One.
Nikola’s manufacturing facility would create “thousands of new jobs,” CEO Trevor Milton said in a statement issued on Dec. 1. The company is in discussions with several states for the plant, and seeks a state partner to “reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels, advance green energy and revolutionize the trucking industry.”
Officials from GSEC said they were under non-disclosure agreements and could not disclose the number or jobs or investment such a plant would bring to Sacramento. But in an unusual move, the group released a statement about the site selection process in order to encourage local and state officials to take an active role in recruiting the company to Sacramento.
“When we get a shot at these opportunities, our local communities and public institutions have to treat companies like they are customers,” said Barry Broome, CEO of the economic council, in a prepared statement. “Our communities have to pre-plan and already be prepared to act on these opportunities. There’s tremendous competition for jobs and we have no room to negotiate.”
The announcement arrives one week after electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors selected Arizona for a $700 million manufacturing facility after considering sites in Sacramento and other areas.
On Dec. 1, Nikola revealed its Nikola One semi-truck at a private event in Salt Lake City. The truck is a full-size, fully-electric semitrailer powered by lithium batteries The zero-emisison vehicle is supplied “on-the-go” by a hydrogen fuel cell that allows it to travel between 800 to 1,200 miles with over 1,000 horsepower, company representatives wrote in a news release.
GSEC said Nikola is considering locating in Sacramento due to its abundance of highly-educated workers and proximity to electric vehicle research at University of California Davis.
Colleen Robar, a spokeswoman for Nikola, said the company would make its decision sometime in the first half of 2017. She declined to comment further.
The privately held company also plans to begin construction of a hydrogen fueling station in early 2018 and envisions creating a network of Nikola hydrogen fueling stations across North America.