Sandy Munro shows off a very empty Nikola factory in Coolidge, Arizona

Manufacturing expert Sandy Munro has released the first of a 5 part video series from a trip to visit Nikola Motor. In the first episode, Sandy provides a rare look inside the company’s Coolidge, Arizona factory, which first broke ground way back in August 2020. After more than a year of progress, you’d expect to see a fairly complete factory, particularly in light of the breakneck pace of its archnemesis Tesla.

The reality appears to be quite different for the troubled Nikola, who suffered a devastating devastating turn of events just a month later, with Hindenburg Research exposing the company for a web of lies that still tarnishes the brand today, despite the founder Trevor Milton being pushed to the curb.

After seeing months of drone videos tracking the external progress on the factory, the inside remained a bit of secret as to how far the manufacturing preparation had progressed. In the background of the factory shot, we see about 5 cabins, before they head outside to see an alpha prototype of the FCEV, where Jason Roycht, Global head of fuel cell electric vehicles at Nikola confirms they made 7 of these.

In February Nikola released an updated timeline for their Fuel-cell based trucks which included a revised timeframe that would see their North American production of FCEVs delayed until mid 2023. As we approach the end of 2021, the company nears it’s ambitions to have a Prototype completing road trials in early 2022.

As per the company’s timeline in their Q1 2021 quarterly results, Nikola had scheduled Phase 0.5 to be complete in June this year. Unfortunately we didn’t get an update of this graphic in Q3 earnings, but from Sandy’s video, it seems they have a long way to go before they’re making trucks are volume.

Nikola is simultaneously developing the Nikola Tre, an EV version of their truck in Ulm Germany as part of a partnership with IVECO.

Sandy is know well known in the EV community after famously tearing down electric vehicles to reveal the dramatically different approaches automakers are taking to produce their products. With an engineering and production background, Sandy offers great insight into potential efficiencies and improvements that could be made, perhaps most importantly to the cost of production.

While a visit to Nikola may be seen by many as a step towards the devil, if anyone could use Sandy’s help, it sure is Nikola.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


  1. That building looks emptier than in the videos Nikola has released (no production manufacturing equipment in either). There are rows of tables with personal computers on them in the Nikola videos which would be behind where Sandy Munro is standing. That all may be pushed behind those partitions that they have on the left side.

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