Hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric-vehicle maker Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ:NKLA) announced the addition of two new executives today to lead the energy and manufacturing areas. The company, which went public a week ago, said former Caterpillar Inc. executive Pablo Koziner will be president of Nikola Energy, leading the hydrogen fueling and battery charging business. Mark Duchesne will become global head of manufacturing. Duchesne has spent time at Toyota Motor, Tesla, and most recently, Chinese electric-vehicle maker Byton.
Nikola, founded by Trevor Martin in 2015, went public through a combination with special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) VectoIQ last week, and its market capitalization briefly touched $30 billion, eclipsing the value of Ford Motor.
Koziner spent more than 18 years with Caterpillar as president of solar turbines and most recently as vice president of Caterpillar's electric-power division. Duchesne spent 22 years in various manufacturing roles with Toyota prior to joining Tesla and eventually became director of manufacturing. He left Tesla in 2016 and spent four years with Byton in senior manufacturing roles.
Nikola has yet to produce a vehicle but is breaking ground on a new manufacturing facility in Arizona. It's working to launch its Class 8 Nikola Tre BEV in Ulm, Germany with joint venture partner IVECO. The company expects to generate revenue by 2021 from the heavy-duty semi-truck Tre BEV, with a buildout of hydrogen fueling stations to serve its customers.