U.S. electric truck maker Nikola said it was open to working with Japanese automaker Hyundai Motor on hydrogen technology after a media report that it had reached out to the South Korean automaker.
In an interview with newspaper Chosun Ilbo published on Sunday, Trevor Milton, founder of Nikola Corp, stated he would like to collaborate with Hyundai. He said he had twice made proposals to the automaker which were rejected.
Hyundai, together with Toyota Motor, is one of the few automakers championing hydrogen technology.
“Trevor has immense respect for Hyundai and sees Hyundai amongst the leaders in hydrogen around the world,” said Nikola spokeswoman Nicole Rose said in an emailed statement according to Reuters.
“Trevor has, and will continue to be, open to collaborating if they ever choose to do so,” Rose added.
A person knowledgeable with Hyundai said that there were no cooperation talks as of now. “If Nikola makes an official offer, Hyundai can consider the proposal,” the person told.
He said Hyundai aims to sell its hydrogen systems to other companies but, at the same time, Nikola could become a potential rival to Hyundai’s commercial truck business.
“It would be a complicated relationship,” he said, refusing to be identified because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
Hyundai refused to comment.
In July, Hyundai Motor delivered the first 10 of its Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell, the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty truck, to Switzerland, and intends to present 1,600 units by 2025.
Nikola has said it prepares to start producing its battery-electric trucks in 2021, followed by fuel cell electric trucks in 2023.
Hyundai has been collaborating with Audi on hydrogen vehicle technology.