Ex-Opel boss is now in charge of Nikola

Ex-Opel boss Lohscheller

The manager moves up to the top of the Nikolas group.

(Photo: dpa)

new York The former Opel boss Michael Lohscheller climbs to the top of the US truck manufacturer Nikola after just a few months. The previous head of the engine division is to take over the management of the group from his predecessor Mark Russell at the turn of the year, as the company announced on Wednesday.

The 53-year-old had only been hired by Nikola in February, which, as Tesla’s competitor, wants to bring trucks with electric drives onto the market on a large scale. Lohscheller’s most important task remains the ramp-up of series production.

“I’m honored,” the manager said of his promotion. He is looking forward to expanding Nikola’s position “in the field of zero-emission transport and infrastructure solutions”. “We have a robust business model, a talented global team, leading electric vehicle technology and energy solutions,” he said.

According to Nikola chairman Steve Girsky, the election is “the conclusion of a well thought-out succession planning process.” Since joining the company, Lohscheller has improved communication channels and accelerated decision-making.

Top jobs of the day

Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.

“We are concentrating very much on the execution of our plans,” the manager explained in May in an interview with the Handelsblatt. “In the past there have been announcements but no implementation. We are changing that now.”

Lohscheller has global experience in the automotive business and was, among other things, VW CFO in the USA. Since 2017, as CEO, he had reorganized the car manufacturer Opel in the new parent company PSA, which in turn merged with Fiat Chrysler to form Stellantis at the beginning of 2021. An engagement as head of Vietnam’s first automaker, Vinfast, remained an episode in 2021, lasting just four months.

>> Read also: Opel gets a new boss again

Russell, who saved the company from impending bankruptcy after the stock market scandal surrounding founder Trevor Milton in 2020 and led it into calmer waters, is to remain a member of the board of directors.

Important milestones reached

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Nikola recently reached an important milestone: As the manufacturer, founded in 2015, announced in the spring, it had delivered the first production models of its all-electric “Tre BEV” truck. Series production started on March 21, and the first vehicles were delivered to dealers in April.

According to its own information, Nikola delivered 48 electric trucks in the second quarter of the year, although there were delivery problems at battery supplier Romeo Power, which Nikola acquired a few days ago. So far, Nikola has only made losses, but according to its own estimates, has sufficient cash reserves of $529 million. The shareholders have also approved a capital increase.

Last week, the company announced plans to build three hydrogen fueling stations in California, a launch market for Nikola’s proposed Tre FCEV hydrogen truck. Other locations are to follow.

The company, which was founded in 2015 and is now listed on the stock exchange, relies entirely on electric commercial vehicles that are powered by batteries or additional fuel cells. In addition to a factory in Arizona, a truck production facility is set up in Ulm together with Iveco.

Nikola was considered a beacon of hope for alternative drive technologies in the truck sector, but is struggling with the consequences of a stock market scandal. Founder Trevor Milton has to answer in court. According to the indictment, he lied “in almost every aspect of the business” and misled retail investors. In 2020, the short seller Hindenburg Research explained in a report why Nikola’s technology could not keep up with the company’s ambitious visions.
With material from dpa

More: Experiment hydrogen truck: A US start-up and DEVK want to modernize freight traffic

source site-13