Troubled Nikola boasts first revenue from hydrogen vehicles, but will it be enough to revive its fortunes?
H2 truck maker reports sales of 35 vehicles since September
Hydrogen truck manufacturer Nikola has today (Thursday) announced that it has sold 35 hydrogen trucks wholesale since serial production started in September, with the revenue from its fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to be recognised for the first time in its end of year results.
“What an effort by our dedicated and passionate team, to create — and deliver — what we believe is the only US designed and assembled Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric truck on the road today,” said Nikola CEO Steve Girsky.
The company has also produced another seven hydrogen trucks, three of which are undergoing a field test with an unnamed fleet partner. Two are “in continued validation and engineering”, while the remaining vehicles are being used for service training and customer demonstrations.
Nikola has told Hydrogen Insight that it will disclose the exact amount of revenue from its 35 trucks sold wholesale in its Q4 earnings call in February.
However, this announcement led to only a modest 10% surge in the company’s share price, which has closed at less than $1 since early December.
According to its Q3 earnings report, Nikola has accumulated around $2.9bn in losses since it was founded ten years ago by Trevor Milton — who was last month sentenced to four years in prison and issued a $1m fine for securities fraud, subject to appeal.
The government and regulatory investigation into whether the company had defrauded investors resulted in an order for Nikola to pay a $125m civil penalty in 2021 to settle charges. The truck manufacturer has since won a $165m settlement with its founder and former CEO to recover these costs.
Nikola finally started serial production on its Tre FCEV model in September — nearly seven years after faking a working prototype at a launch event in December 2016 — with much of the revenue before this brought in from the sale of the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) version of the truck.
However, in August, the company had halted all sales and recalled 209 Tre BEV trucks last year, after investigations into fires at the firm’s headquarters and manufacturing plant uncovered a fault in the battery pack.
Nikola reported in third-quarter earnings that the recall campaign would cost the firm $61.m for retrofitting impacted trucks with new battery packs and returning them to customers, with the company reporting a negative revenue from truck sales of $1.7m for the quarter.
As of November, the company has reported 277 non-binding orders from 35 customers for its hydrogen trucks, as well as purchase orders for 47 battery-electric trucks from a single dealer despite the recall.