By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter
Nikola Motor Co. and Lucid Motors could end up partnering and collaborating as the two develop new auto manufacturing plants in Pinal County.
Mark Duchesne, head of global manufacturing for Nikola, talked about the potential for collaboration with Lucid Motors during a virtual breakfast forum hosted by the Pinal Partnership economic development group.
Nikola is building a new $600 million plant in Coolidge where it will make hybrid-hydrogen fueled trucks. Lucid is developing a $700 million electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Casa Grande.
“There is room in the world of vehicles,” Duchesne said during the Pinal Partnership forum.
“It’s much better if we work together,” Duchesne said.
He said that could include collaboration on supply chain and employee training. “We’re both open to almost any suggestion,” Duchesne said.
Nikola has broken ground on the Coolidge plant. Duchesne said site plan work is currently underway and steel should start coming out of the ground by the end of this year. Nikola is testing trucks in Germany and hopes to have production started in Arizona by the end of next year.
Duchesne said the first phase of Nikola’s plant will employ 300 to 400 workers. That will grow to 800 to 1,000 workers as the company shifts more of its supply chain from Europe to the U.S.
The jobs from Lucid and Nikola are expected to propel more growth in Pinal County which is also seeing residential gains as first time and other home buyers look for less expensive options than in Maricopa County.
Belfiore Real Estate Consulting, which tracks new homes sales and the housing market, is seeing continued and expects new growth in Pinal submarkets such as Maricopa, Casa Grande, and Coolidge.
Pinal County Supervisor Steve Miller briefed Pinal Partnership members on the state of water in the county and local efforts to work with state regulators on future supplies.
Water is a key issue in Pinal County and its future growth.
Miller said potential state legislation on water in Pinal was derailed earlier this year by the COVID-19. Miller said long-term water efforts in the county will likely require multiple solutions including conservation, acquisition of water rights and a more comprehensive identification of existing wells and aquifers.
“There is not going to be a silver bullet that solves everything,” Miller said. “We have to explore different paths.”