Steve Girsky, the newly appointed CEO of Nikola, has drawn intriguing parallels between his company's current position and Tesla's early days when it was underestimated by the industry. Girsky, who assumed the role in August this year, served on GM's board of directors from 2009 to 2016, giving him a unique perspective on the automotive landscape.
Girsky reminisced about how, during his tenure at GM, Tesla was often regarded as “just a bunch of engineers playing with laptop batteries.” However, he noted that Tesla's relentless drive and innovation ultimately allowed it to gain a remarkable ten-year head start on the entire automotive industry. Girsky believes that Nikola now finds itself in a similar underdog position, possessing a substantial advantage over its competitors.
As the CEO of Nikola, Girsky has witnessed an infectious energy within the organization, attributing it to the team's unwavering “never give up attitude.” He believes that this same spirit is what propelled Tesla to its current influential position.
Addressing the broader industry landscape, Girsky commented, “The big players are writing off the zero-emission trucking industry. I know they're experimenting with prototypes, but they believe this technology won't be viable until late in the decade.” Despite the concerns about Nikola's viability, the company has invested significant time and effort in developing both all-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell trucks.
In a bold statement, Girsky revealed that one of Nikola's gamma hydrogen fuel-cell trucks recently completed a 900-mile (1,448 km) journey in a single day. He challenged anyone to find another “zero-emission vehicle truck anywhere” that can match this remarkable feat.
Just as Tesla transitioned from being dismissed to becoming an industry powerhouse, Girsky envisions a similar trajectory for Nikola, emphasizing that automakers' initial skepticism about profitable electric vehicles played a crucial role in Tesla's success. With Nikola's focus on zero-emission trucking, Girsky believes the company has the potential to shape the future of the industry, much like Tesla did in the electric car market.