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Nikola’s New Pick-Up Truck Sends Stocks Soaring

The new sustainable vehicle start-up, Nikola has seen a massive increase in their stocks after announcing their new pick-up, the ‘Badger’, via Twitter
Electric vehicle (EV) start-up Nikola made its debut as a publicly-traded company on 4th June. Although the company is yet to deliver a single product or have a factory their new pick-up, the ‘Badger’, is designed to compete with the Ford F-10. The electric and fuel cell vehicle pioneer already have a market higher than industry the well-established company, Fiat Chrysler.

Nikola’s mission is to “transform the transportation industry while improving our employees’ lives and leaving the world a better place” through the production of their hydrogen and electric vehicles. It is their use of both hydrogen and electric-powered vehicles which CEO, Trevor Milton, told CleanTech News is “another competitive advantage of Nikola”.

To complete their ‘mission’ and “transform the transportation industry”, Milton told us Nikola will take “nearly 1 million dollars of revenue away from oil companies for every truck [Nikola] we build. Vertical integration is key to Nikola’s success and controlling the zero-emission fuel and zero-emission vehicle allows us to transform how transportation functions”.

After a tweet by CEO, Trevor Milton, announcing the release of their new pick-up truck, The ‘Badger’, stock in the pioneering company soared 104% on Monday. Despite their lack of production, Nikola was valued at $28.63 billion as of market close Tuesday, even eclipsing Ford at one point on the same day.

Initially, the company’s focus has been to design, develop and produce hydrogen-electric Class 8 trucks. On top of this, they have also focused on building hydrogen station infrastructure throughout North America.

Nikola’s hydrogen-electric vision has expanded to pickup trucks and since sharing the first details in February, they will open reservations for the ‘Badger’ on the 29th of this month. Milton told us about the performance of his products stating “not only does sustainable vehicles perform better than ICE vehicles, they create more jobs and make a greater impact on cleaning up pollution” drawing attention to the breadth of advantages products such as ‘The Badger’ has.

What makes the ‘Badger’ unique?
The ‘Badger’ pick-up truck is, according to Milton, “the only pickup to be offered in BEV and FCEV options. With the Badger you can buy it as a BEV with the option to add the fuel-cell for more range” and “it is the only pickup to offer more than 500 miles per range”.

The new pick-up is being offered as both electric and hydrogen fuel cell as “electric works very well in short-haul or city driving. Hydrogen works best for long-haul or hauling trailers fully-loaded that need range and/or are weight-sensitive”.

Although the company is yet to produce its vehicles, there has been a rise in interest in the hydrogen fuel cell field. Hydrogen has the same benefits as electric vehicles as they use the same electric motors while also eliminating issues derived from battery electric vehicles such as long recharge times and added weight. A lighter battery with a shorter recharge time is beneficial for long-haul vehicles, hence why the ‘Badger’ is offered as both battery-electric and fuel cell electric.

Why have they been so successful?
The need for sustainable vehicles has been exacerbated in today’s climate. There is an increased awareness about the need to replace the use of fossil fuels with sustainable, cleaner alternatives to protect our planet. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to reverse the damage made and change the way we use technology.

According to Milton, there have been some delays in suppliers due to the pandemic, pushing everything back by a few months, but he is not concerned by the effect the pandemic could have on the company. Milton told us concerning to this, “We do know that there is a greater push for clean vehicles after the virus which has been a positive for the clean energy and transportation” he continued “I believe it [COVID-19] will only accelerate adoption to EV’s”.

Already, the company have secured truck orders worth $10 billion from companies led by Anheuser-Bush and it has been estimated their sales will jump from $150 million to $3.2 billion from 2021 to 2024. Nikola is also expected to sell or lease 7,000 battery-powered units and 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell trucks in 2024.

When talking about the initial success of the company, Milton attributes this to many things, but the key seems to be communication. Milton told us “We make it a point to be as open and transparent as possible by making our supporters feel like they truly know us through behind-the-scenes videos, company tours, social media engagement across all platforms by me and my team”.

He also told us “Today, investors choose to invest in those making a difference and that is why Nikola has been so successful”.

It is Nikola’s recognition for the need for sustainable, clean vehicles in the market paired with their openness and transparency which has made this innovative start-up such a success. Currently partnered with European commercial vehicle maker CNH/Iveco to build a battery-electric version of their trucks, Nikola should be ready for the market starting 2021. They are also working with Bosch, Meritor and several other manufacturers specialising in commercial vehicle space.

With the success of the start-up before they’ve even built their factory, there is a lot to be expected from the electric and fuel cell vehicle pioneer, Nikola. For the future Milton hopes to “execute our [their] business model, finish the factory, build trucks and get profitable” also stating “it is incredibly exciting to be solving global challenges through strategic design and innovation”.

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