Nikola breaks ground on Arizona factory

Nikola founder says the plant will create 'thousands of jobs'

Electric truck maker Nikola broke ground on a new factory about an hour outside Phoenix, where the company is headquartered, on Thursday.

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"Factory ground breaking July 23rd in Coolidge Arizona to build 35,000 semi trucks a year out of factory," Nikola Motor founder Trevor Milton wrote on Twitter earlier this week. "Unfortunately, government restricts 10 people due to virus so we will film it and post it for everyone to see. Sorry, this virus sucks. I wish we could have everyone there."

The plant will create at least 1,800 new jobs once it's built, according to Nikola. The first phase of construction is scheduled for completion in late 2021 with phase two being completed 12 to 18 months after that.

"We're looking forward to it, as I'm sure a lot of people are," Coolidge Mayor Jon Thompson said during a virtual meeting of area mayors, The Coolidge Examiner reported.

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The plant is expected to take up 1 million square feet, although the city has not yet reviewed site plans but hopes to start that process in August, City Manager Rick Miller said according to the local outlet.

Tesla rival Nikola held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new site in Coolidge, Arizona, on July 23, 2020. (Courtesy Nikola)

"Our plan is in the approval process with the city of Coolidge and they have indicated that there should be no issues to keep our schedule," a Nikola spokesperson told FOX Business on Thursday. "We are completing our detailed engineering work with Walbridge, our contractor. Then the physical site work will begin. Everything is on schedule."

Nikola's decision to continue investing in the greater Phoenix area comes as the city touts itself as a magnet for tech and industrial companies.

"Arizona has a lot of space," Carrie Kelly of the Arizona Association for Economic Development previously told FOX Business.

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Milton has compared his company to much larger electric vehicle rival Tesla. Now, like Tesla, it's publicly traded after merging with a special-purpose acquisition company on June 3.

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Nikola also focuses on hydrogen vehicles powered by heavy-duty fuel cells.

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