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Nikola, Tesla Race to Build an Electric Truck Factory First

In the 19th century Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla duked it out to determine the future of electricity between DC and AC. Now, two companies, both named after the winner of that debacle, are battling it out to get their electric trucks out to market.


Nikola Motor Company is the underdog in the competition. With a market capitalization of approximately $12 billion, it is less than a twentieth the size of the Tesla juggernaut.

The company started building its $600 million facility in Coolidge, Arizona on July 23rd, not long before a storm came in and construction had to be halted for the time being.

Nikola Motor Company hopes to have its first assembly building completed in 6 to 12 months, and then afterwards expand the facility to include welding and paint shops in a 1 million square foot lot.

Nikola hopes to be producing 35,000 Class 8 trucks annually, starting in the year 2022.


Tesla announced during its Q2 earnings call that it was to start building a factory in Austin, Texas known as “Giga Texas”.

Details were sparse during the meeting, but what we do know is that the campus is to be about 2,000 acres (or 87 million square feet), have hiking trails and a boardwalk, and is to employ 5,000 people at a rate of $15/hr, minimum.


While Tesla is a much larger company than Nikola is, the size of the facility Tesla is building is significantly larger than the one Nikola is constructing. It is either company’s game to win in getting their electric vehicles, either the Nikola Two and Tre, or the Tesla Semi and Cybertruck, out to market first. Perhaps most ironic of all, though, is that while both companies are named after inventor Nikola Tesla, the batteries in the trucks will run on DC electric current, the one harnessed by rival Thomas Edison in the 19th century.

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