If you want something done right, do it yourself. If you are an old-school manufacturer and want credit from investors for innovation, make sure someone else’s name is attached.
General Motors Co. on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with Nikola Corp. that will give it a $2 billion equity stake in the electric-vehicle startup. Rather than pay cash for the ownership foothold, GM is paying in services: It will be the exclusive supplier of fuel cells for Nikola’s Class 7/8 trucks outside of Europe, provide access to its battery technology and take on the manufacturing and engineering work for Nikola’s Badger electric-pickup model. GM expects more than $4 billion in benefits from the tie-up, between the equity stake and additional payments for manufacturing and parts work.