Nikola Motor Company named “Project of the Year” by Area Development Magazine

Nikola Motor Company, which manufactures hydrogen-electric semi-trucks and recreational vehicles, was recently recognized by Area Development Magazine as one of five “Projects of the Year” for its projected job creation and investment into Arizona. 

According to Gerri Gambale, an editor at Area Development Magazine, companies recognized with Project of the Year awards are selected based on criteria including the uniqueness of the project, the forecasted number of jobs the project will create, and projected financial investment within a state’s economy. 

“This is unique because it’s cutting-edge technology,” Gambale said. “And it’s not in the traditional automotive corridor in the Midwest, or even in the Southeast… this is out in Arizona.”

According to Vince Caramella, Head of Global Marketing for Nikola, the company “couldn’t be more excited” for its Arizona expansion to be recognized as a Project of the Year.

“As we look to ramp up staffing and build up other facilities, it puts us on the map here in Arizona as a company that people would want to work for, that has a strong future,” he said. 

Caramella says Nikola Motor Company is currently planning on creating around two thousand new jobs in Arizona by 2024. Most of those new jobs will be connected to Nikola’s upcoming truck manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona. Caramella says that facility is on track to begin manufacturing in late 2022 or early 2023, and will be able to produce upwards of 35,000 vehicles per year when it begins operating at full capacity.

Additionally, Nikola Motor Company opened its new corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona earlier this summer. After potential future expansions, that facility could grow to as large as 200,000 square feet, Caramella said. Nikola already employs roughly 150 individuals at its Phoenix headquarters, a number it expects will grow to approximately 200 before the end of this year. 

Caramella says Arizona’s business-friendly nature was a huge factor in the company’s decision to base its operations in the state moving forward. He also cited the state’s low cost of living, availability of land, and skilled workforce as positive benefits for Nikola. 

“Governor Ducey and his entire staff have been extremely helpful, with arms wide open as it relates to supporting business coming and relocating to Arizona,” Carmella said. “I think we’ll continue to see some of that migration here in Arizona, just because of how welcoming the state is to new business.” 

In addition to Nikola’s Arizona expansion, Area Development Magazine recognized four other companies as Projects of the Year, including Mazda/Toyota in Alabama, Regeneron in New York, Micron Technology in Virginia, and Electric Boat in Rhode Island.

Area Development also recognized the state of Arizona with a Golden Shovel Award, which is “presented annually to the states that have achieved the most success in terms of new job creation and company investment,” according to a press release. Arizona beat out other states in its population category in terms of “the number of high-value added jobs per capita, amount of investment, number of new facilities, and industry diversity,” the publication said.

Nick Serpa

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