Electric truck maker Nikola to build $1B plant in Arizona

Nikola One sem-truck FBN

Nikola Motor Company, a developer of hydrogen-powered big rigs, announced on Tuesday that it plans to build a $1 billion plant in Arizona.

Construction of the 500-acre manufacturing facility is scheduled to begin in 2019, and truck production will start in 2021. The company said it will begin transferring its headquarters and research and development operations to Arizona immediately. Nikola expects the plant to create 2,000 new jobs and generate more than $1 billion in capital investment in the region by 2024.

Trevor Milton, Nikola’s CEO and founder, said the company considered nine states and 30 potential factory sites over the past year. Nikola ultimately settled on a site located on the west side of Phoenix.

The plant will become one of the largest manufacturing facilities dedicated to next-generation semi-trucks, according to Nikola. The news comes as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and traditional truck makers such as Navistar (NYSE:NAV) work on electric trucks. Late last year, Tesla revealed a battery-powered big rig that is slated to arrive in 2019. Navistar and Volkswagen are also working on electric medium-duty trucks.

Nikola, currently headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, is developing two electric semi-trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells and has received pre-orders for more than 8,000 big rigs. An investment by Belgium-based supplier Wabco in December valued Nikola at $1 billion, according to Trucks.com.