Nikola Trucks: Stock soared after the electric semitruck developer reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss and indicated it is pushing forward with plans to begin production this year.
Nonetheless, the company’s future remains clouded by ongoing regulatory investigations prompted by the company’s founder’s fraudulent comments.
Nikola, which has yet to generate revenue, said in a statement that its net loss for the first quarter was $120.2 million, or 14 cents per share, excluding some factors.
This was better than the consensus estimate of a loss of 27 cents per share.
The stock soared 13 percent in Nasdaq trade on Friday, closing at $11.50.
Nikola’s battery-powered Tre truck, developed in Ulm, Germany, with partner Iveco, is undergoing testing in the United States, with nine more units on the way.
The company claims it will begin commercial manufacturing of zero-emission big rigs in August, with 50 to 100 units arriving in the fourth quarter of 2021.
It’s also trying to finish its own manufacturing in Coolidge, Arizona, which will produce Tre and Nikola.
Two semis, one powered by batteries and the other by hydrogen fuel cells.
In a conference call, CEO Mark Russell claimed, “We’re going to have the longest-range battery-electric truck that we know of.”
He claimed that “so far, the reception to the Tre BEV prototypes has been quite positive” from potential buyers who have begun to evaluate them.
After creator Trevor Milton was accused of misrepresenting about Nikola’s technology, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Justice Department launched investigations into the company.
In an SEC statement today, the business also revealed that on March 24, the regulator filed an additional subpoena related to its “projected 2021 cash flow and expected use of 2021 capital raising.”
It is collaborating with the inquiries, according to Nikola.
The ongoing investigations overshadowed the company’s recent good developments, which include a partnership to establish a hydrogen fuel pipeline in Europe.
Sales and service plans for its vehicles, and plans to install hydrogen fuel stations at TravelCenters of America truck stops.
Nikola also said this week that it had a tentative agreement with Total Transportation Services Inc., a high-volume trucker that transports cargo in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Nikola added that, in addition to starting Tre production in Germany this year, it will begin truck trial production at the new Coolidge plant in July.
This year, it also plans to begin building of its first commercial hydrogen fuel station.
The first Nikola’s stations will be positioned along U.S. Highway 10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Anheuser-Busch is the first customer for Nikola’s hydrogen-powered trucks, and it plans to start testing prototype vehicles making pilot beer runs by the end of 2021, according to Russell.
While Milton was a flamboyant personality who portrayed himself as a transportation sector disruptor akin to Elon Musk, making bold claims about Nikola’s patented technology.
The competing intentions of industrial giants such as Daimler, Volvo Group, Toyota, Hino, Hyundai, Cummins, General Motors, and Navistar have drastically enhanced the company’s vision for hydrogen as a clean choice for powering heavy-duty vehicles.
Batteries are a solid option for shorter ranges up to 300 miles, according to those firms, although hydrogen is more enticing for distances of 500 miles or more, as well as quick refilling.
Nikola claims that their battery-electric Tre has a 750 kwh battery pack that can travel 350 kilometres on a single charge.
A fuel cell version, expected in a year or two, will travel at least 500 miles on a single tank.
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