GM and Nikola agree to massively scaled back deal – Roadshow

This is not the partnership both sides first envisioned.

Nikola

General Motors and Nikola announced a watered-down memorandum of understanding for a new partnership after months of discussions Monday, but the details remain foggy. With the new agreement, GM said it will supply its Hydrotec fuel cell systems for Nikola's upcoming fuel cell semi trucks. The question remains: Why does Nikola need GM's tech if it supposedly already developed proprietary systems?

I digress because what's not included in this MOU is even more interesting. The big news is GM decided not to build the Nikola Badger. We previously covered the vehicle's hyped-up birth and not-so-surprising demise: Without GM to build and engineer the truck, Nikola called it quits.

So there's no pickup truck in this deal. What else is missing? Battery and electric motor technology. Without GM's OK to build the Badger, Nikola will not receive access to the US automaker's Ultium battery and e-motor technology. The Badger promised a combination of a hydrogen and electric powertrain to produce 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque while delivering 600 miles of range. This goes back to the ultimate question, though. If Nikola already had its own systems developed, or under development, why reach out to GM? The two left the door open for Nikola to potentially gain access to GM's EV technology in the future, but for now, it's off the table.

GM also abstained from any equity investment in Nikola in this newly organized MOU, which is a safer bet after Nikola's rocky performances on Wall Street as of late. Shares are down 21% ahead of the market's opening at the time of writing.

As for GM's hydrogen tech, it'll find a home in Nikola's forthcoming Class 7 and Class 8 vehicles. Beta testing for these prototypes aren't expected to start until 2022, however. Nikola said it built its first Tre prototype -- its rebadged Iveco semi for Europe -- at the start of this month. The Tre doesn't use any fuel cell systems. Instead it runs on an undisclosed battery electric powertrain Nikola promises will deliver 248 miles of range, 644 horsepower and 1,327 pound-feet of torque. Like the first deal, GM will only supply its hydrogen system for countries outside Europe. Bosch remains Nikola's European supplier, the company confirmed to Roadshow.

GM and Nikola returned to the negotiating table following allegations of fraud at Nikola. A bombshell report alleged the company essentially worked to con partners into working with it until it had a product worth showing them. Since then, its chairman and face of the company, Trevor Milton, stepped down. The US Securities and Exchange Committee and the Department of Justice also issued subpoenas amid the allegations, though there's been no word of a formal investigation.

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The Nikola Badger hydrogen-electric pickup, revealed this year, is already dead – Roadshow

Dead before it really ever came alive.

Nikola Motors

Startup truckmaker Nikola had its fans seriously hyped this past March when it announced it was going to jump aboard the electric pickup truck bandwagon with the Badger. The truck, which only ever appeared in computer-rendered form, was supposed to boast 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque, and deliver 600 miles of range. Now? It's dead before we even saw the real thing.

On Monday, Nikola announced a new memorandum of understanding with General Motors, following lengthy new discussions over a proposed partnership following fraud allegations against the startup company. Not included in the MOU is GM's prior commitment to validate, homologate and manufacture the Badger. Nikola was also supposed to gain access to GM's engineers to help bring the pickup truck to life. It's a big strike against the new automaker, which banked on a lot of hype for its upcoming vehicles. Instead, it looks like we're staring at reality.

On the truck's quick death, Nikola said in a statement, "As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership." With GM out, Nikola clearly decided it wasn't ready to shop around for a new buddy. "Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger," it added.

The company's leaders post-Trevor Milton, the firm's ex-chairman embroiled in the heart of fraud allegations, started to distance the company from the Badger this past fall. Nikola CEO Mark Russell previously said the project was "interesting and exciting," but added shareholders were focused on the core business plan for hydrogen commercial semi trucks. As I wrote in October, those comments laid the groundwork for today's announcement. Nikola also cancelled its Nikola World event where it was supposed to show off the Badger pickup for the first time, though the company pointed to COVID-19 precautions.

And with that, Nikola pens another wild chapter in the company's short history. Wherever the future takes it, a hydrogen-electric pickup truck won't be along for the ride.

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The Nikola Badger hydrogen-electric pickup, revealed this year, is already dead – Roadshow

Dead before it really ever came alive.

Nikola Motors

Startup truckmaker Nikola had its fans seriously hyped this past March when it announced it was going to jump aboard the electric pickup truck bandwagon with the Badger. The truck, which only ever appeared in computer-rendered form, was supposed to boast 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque, and deliver 600 miles of range. Now? It's dead before we even saw the real thing.

On Monday, Nikola announced a new memorandum of understanding with General Motors, following lengthy new discussions over a proposed partnership following fraud allegations against the startup company. Not included in the MOU is GM's prior commitment to validate, homologate and manufacture the Badger. Nikola was also supposed to gain access to GM's engineers to help bring the pickup truck to life. It's a big strike against the new automaker, which banked on a lot of hype for its upcoming vehicles. Instead, it looks like we're staring at reality.

On the truck's quick death, Nikola said in a statement, "As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership." With GM out, Nikola clearly decided it wasn't ready to shop around for a new buddy. "Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger," it added.

The company's leaders post-Trevor Milton, the firm's ex-chairman embroiled in the heart of fraud allegations, started to distance the company from the Badger this past fall. Nikola CEO Mark Russell previously said the project was "interesting and exciting," but added shareholders were focused on the core business plan for hydrogen commercial semi trucks. As I wrote in October, those comments laid the groundwork for today's announcement. Nikola also cancelled its Nikola World event where it was supposed to show off the Badger pickup for the first time, though the company pointed to COVID-19 precautions.

And with that, Nikola pens another wild chapter in the company's short history. Wherever the future takes it, a hydrogen-electric pickup truck won't be along for the ride.

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Used car shopping? Check out these 2020 Black Friday used car deals – Roadshow

Shockingly good deals to be had on the Bolt EV, folks.

Roadshow
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET's gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

New cars are expensive, no matter which way you cut it. The average new vehicle's price was on the rise even before the coronavirus pandemic caused a supply crunch, which sent new car prices even higher. When times are tough, Americans give used cars a really good look, and with good reason. Many times, the vehicles provide the same features and technology at far lower prices.

And used cars aren't excluded from the numerous savings that occur on for Black Friday. iSeeCars sorted through 300,000 used vehicles from the 2015-2019 model years as of last week to get a pretty good idea of the best used car deals for Black Friday. On average, dealerships are ready to shave off $1,200 from a used car's asking price, but scroll down below to see all of the best deals in greater detail.


Chevrolet Bolt EV

If you want to go electric, the Bolt EV is a sweet deal.

Chevrolet

The Chevy Bolt EV is a good little electric car. It's not super-fancy inside, but it's a bit of a range champ for the price, considering the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 doesn't exist any longer. Already, used Bolt EVs are really affordable. As in, low-mile examples cost $15,000 in some cases. If you want to take on the electric lifestyle, this is a great opportunity with the average discount hovering at $1,901.


Nissan Versa

Cheap wheels.

Nissan

There's good news and bad news for the used Nissan Versa deals out there. The good news is the Versa is very, very affordable with low-mileage cars that cost around $12,000. The bad news is this isn't the current-generation Versa that looks a whole lot better and comes with a lot more equipment. But, for those looking for a steal on a nearly new car, the Versa isn't the worst choice. The study shows average savings on the compact sedan around $1,000. If we had to pick a Versa here at Roadshow, the Versa Note is a lot better looking and doesn't cost much more.


Toyota Sienna

Go home with a swagger wagon for Black Friday.

Toyota

Americans may be obsessed with SUVs, but you know what? There is nothing like a good minivan to haul lots of people, cargo and anything in between. The Toyota Sienna is a solid choice, and data shows used examples sit at dealership lots with an average savings of $1,800. Lower-mileage 2019 models still cost around $30,000, but if you dip a couple years backward, 2017 models are far more affordable in the mid- to lower $20,000 range. And Toyota is well known for strong residual values, which makes a used example a smart buy.


Kia Forte

More affordable transportation at your service.

Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Look, the Kia Forte isn't going to snap any necks, but it's a solid machine. It's also very affordable with certified 2019 models going for under $15,000. It's a lot of car (and peace of mind) for the price with a certified pre-owned warranty attached. Data shows dealers on average are ready to slash about $900 off the price of a used Forte, so definitely shop around for the best deal locally.


Nissan Sentra

Another solid compact car choice for affordable transportation.

Nissan

The Nissan Sentra, arguably, fell from grace in this generation of car, but it's not a bad car. A Civic or Corolla will probably serve you better, but data shows the Sentra is eligible for just over $900 in savings. In fact, this sportier SR model shown above can be had for around $15,000. Something a little more pedestrian? $12,000. Plus, you can enjoy some "slow car, fast" action wringing a Sentra SR out for all it's got.


Toyota Prius

A good deal for the frugal-minded driver.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The Toyota Prius is a good car overshadowed by lots of hybrid SUVs on sale today. For Black Friday, data shows the hybrid is around $1,200 cheaper on average when searching for pre-owned models. While super-low-mile units are a little harder to come by, they're still on the affordable side, with a 2017 Prius costing under $20,000. Plus, you're looking at up to 58 miles per gallon in the city with this quirky little car.


Kia Soul

Quirky and affordable.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Everyone's favorite square-ish vehicle associated with dancing hamsters is yet another car eligible for some of the best Black Friday savings on the used car market. The Kia Soul remains a great car, whether you like the looks or not. It's spacious for its size and, let's face it, a lot of people really love the quirkiness the Soul brings. Examples with pretty low miles are super affordable, like $13,000 for a 2017 model, but the average savings available to buyers sits at just over $800 more.


Toyota Corolla

A staple of affordable cars.

Toyota

For some, it doesn't get better than a Toyota Corolla. It's a car that helped turn Toyota into the behemoth it is today in the US, and for millions of drivers, a simple Corolla is everything they need -- and there's no harm in that. Used models are a little all over the place with prices, but in a good way. In a quick search of local inventory, it was tough to find an expensive used Corolla between the 2015-2019 model years, and $15,000 seems like a fair average. Data shows these cars are ripe for another $960 off for Black Friday.


Dodge Grand Caravan

Not the fanciest thing, but it gets the job done.

FCA

Fiat Chrysler essentially turned its modern minivan plans over to the Chrysler brand with the Pacifica, but yes, the Dodge Grand Caravan still exists. In fact, you can still buy a new one today, though that will change very shortly with its upcoming demise. Instead, check out a used model, which can be very affordable. A two-year-old Grand Caravan with under 30,000 miles in a quick search sells for under $17,000, and data shows dealers are ready to take $1,000 off the asking price.


Nissan Altima

Yep, even a new-generation sedan is ripe for a good deal.

Juan Garzon / CNET

The Nissan Altima may be one of the best deals included simply because a 2019 model falls into the sedan's latest generation with all the new bells and whistles. There's no guarantee it receives the same $1,000 savings as a slightly older model (remember, this data goes back to 2015 model year vehicles), but we spotted a few of them under $20,000 already.

Best Black Friday used car deals

Rank Vehicle % Savings $ Savings
1 Chevy Bolt EV 10.10% $1,901
2 Nissan Versa 8.90% $984
3 Toyota Sienna 7.80% $1,882
4 Kia Forte 7.50% $914
5 Nissan Sentra 7.20% $933
6 Toyota Prius 7% $1,274
7 Kia Soul 6.80% $868
8 Toyota Corolla 6.70% $967
9 Dodge Grand Caravan 6.60% $1,079
10 Nissan Altima 6.50% $1,032

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These used cars are Black Friday 2020 deals – Roadshow

Examples of Kia Souls with pretty low miles are super affordable, like $13,000 for a 2017 model, but the average savings available to buyers sits at just over $800 more.

Read the article

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These used cars are Black Friday 2020 deals – Roadshow

Examples of Kia Souls with pretty low miles are super affordable, like $13,000 for a 2017 model, but the average savings available to buyers sits at just over $800 more.

Read the article

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Ford preps for a coronavirus vaccine, buys big freezers – Roadshow

Ford wants to help workers have access to a vaccine.

Ford
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Ford took a crucial step to ensure its workers have access to a coronavirus vaccine, when pharma companies and the US government roll it out nationally, with the purchase of 12 freezers, Reuters reported Tuesday. The special freezers will be able store the Pfizer vaccine, likely the first vaccine that will be approved for distribution in the US, at its required temperature of negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

The fact Pfizer's vaccine requires such cold temperatures, far chillier than a typical vaccine, may cause some havoc for those preparing to vaccinate the American public. Ford's move appears aimed at ensuring essential factory workers have access to the vaccine to help keep operations running smoothly. 

"The health and safety of our workforce is our top priority," a representative for the automaker told Roadshow in a statement. "We ordered a dozen freezers to make a COVID-19 vaccine available to our employees on a voluntary basis when it becomes available." The company also underscored the numerous procedures and safety protocols required of employees to ensure all workers' health.

Ford currently implements strict COVID-19 screening protocols for workers arriving and leaving its assembly plants. They include a daily health survey, daily temperature scans, required use of masks at all times and safety glasses with side shields or a face shield. According to Reuters, the automaker has partnered with local health care providers to administer COVID-19 tests when deemed necessary. 

Automakers by and large have done a tremendous job of slowing the spread inside factories, which became a key concern back in March of this year. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler all shut their operations down for two months to slow the spread of the virus. Numerous other automakers doing business in the US followed suit and no automaker reported major spikes in the virus' spread -- a sign rigorous screenings and other protocols are highly effective.

Pfizer applied for an emergency use authorization with the US Food and Drug Administration this week, and it's expected approval will come early next month. While details on the vaccine's rollout aren't yet clear, health care workers and first responders are the most likely candidates to receive the vaccine first.

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Tesla accused of ignoring and covering up suspension defects in class action lawsuit – Roadshow

Now, the everyone will have their day in court.

Tesla

A new class action lawsuit (PDF) landed on Tesla last Friday as owners allege the California-based automaker continues to ignore suspension safety issues in older Model S and Model X EVs. The suit, filed in a California federal court, spans 101 pages and alleges Tesla not only failed in its duty as an automaker to ensure owners' safety, but it actively worked to cover the problem up.

More bluntly, "Tesla is gambling with the lives and safety of hundreds of thousands of additional drivers and passengers whose vehicles suspension parts [are] at an imminent risk of failure," the litigation says. The lawsuit, which includes dozens of pages dedicated to complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration surrounding the issue, supplies evidence on behalf of plaintiffs alleging Tesla's cover-up scheme. It also points to a recall in China that saw nearly every Model S and Model X sold locally included to address the exact issue Tesla allegedly ignored in the US.

The problem specifically concerns Model S and Model X vehicles built between 2013 and 2018 and focuses on allegedly faulty front and rear suspension control arm assembly components. When these components fail, the wheel begins to separate from the suspension, which causes drivers to lose control of the car. Tesla maintains the issue surfaces due to abuse from drivers; owners disagree strongly. The lawsuit also includes examples indicating some owners saw a wheel completely detach from the car.

According to the plaintiffs, Tesla worked to side-step the massive sums of money it would cost to recall the cars and instead issued minor technical service bulletins to try and address the problems. There are also allegations the automaker required some owners to sign non-disclosure agreements in exchange for "goodwill repairs."

Now, the issue sits in the hands of the legal system. Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment, but in time, we'll know the final outcome of this situation that's remained ongoing for years.

Now playing: Watch this: Reality check on Tesla's latest announcements

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Electric Chevy pickup truck teased as GM prepares to open the EV floodgates – Roadshow

Electric Chevy pickup teaser

Another electric pickup is on the way.

General Motors

General Motors put its money where its mouth is on Thursday at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference 2020, announcing it will ramp up investments into electric cars to a whopping $27 billion. The cash influx will see 30 new EVs revealed in the next five years, and the automaker sneakily dropped in a look at the upcoming electric Chevrolet pickup truck.

In these screenshots from the presentation's livestream, you can see sitting just behind Travis Hester, GM's head of EVs, is a pickup truck that clearly wears the Chevy brand's bowtie badge. It's honestly far less butch than I would expect for a pickup truck with a rounder front fascia, slim headlights but blocky wheel wells. A second shot confirms this is a pickup as it shows off the bed area a bit, but we don't get a look at the truck's rear end.

Electric Chevy pickup teaser

Yep, that's a truck.

General Motors

It should be more of an affordable, lifestyle kind of pickup from the looks of it, while the GMC Hummer EV handles the super hardcore off-road side of things. That's not to say it won't have some capabilities, but the chances of it boasting, say, CrabWalk Mode are probably slim.

Chevy and GM have been quiet about the pickup truck, but in the past, the automaker said it should do 400 miles on a single charge. During the automaker's conference stream Thursday evening, that figure jumped to 450 miles. GM has made massive investments into its Ultium battery technology, and if it can deliver on those figures, it seems poised for success.

The Chevy pickup wasn't the only new EV coming that we saw, however. The automaker also gave us a clear look at the GMC Hummer EV SUV, which will follow the Hummer EV pickup. And remember, these are only two of 30 new electric cars coming in the next few years. Look for a refreshed Chevy Bolt EV and a Bolt EV-based crossover, called the Bolt EUV, next year in the short term while GM readies this onslaught of electric cars.

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Rivian: Electric pickup and SUV first, smaller EVs for Europe and China next – Roadshow

These two are just the beginning.

Rivian

Rivian's launch plans for its R1T and R1S electric vehicles may have shifted amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it still has an eye on the future, and said future includes new EVs tailored for Europe and China.

CEO RJ Scaringe told Reuters in a Wednesday report the company will first focus on launching its electric pickup truck and SUV, but then, smaller electric vehicles will come shortly thereafter. The vehicles will specifically target Europe and China, and according to the report, Rivian may even build cars in both areas down the road.

Scaringe added it would be the company "wouldn't be serious" about creating a car company without looking at Europe and China and mentioned a global manufacturing footprint will be "important." The company did not immediately return a request for comment on the CEO's remarks.

According to the executive's comments, the smaller EV will first be sold in Europe, as soon as 2022, before it ships out to China shortly after that. Whatever shape the European and Chinese EVs take, they'll still share components with Rivian's first two vehicles, the R1T and R1S, he said.

Both vehicles are now in pilot production at its manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois and first deliveries should begin next summer. The pandemic shifted the timeline, however, as the first deliveries were first meant for early next year. Aside from the truck and SUV, Rivian also has a purpose-built electric van for Amazon in the works. The first ones should launch next year before 100,000 of them hit the streets in the years to come.

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