Loss-making Nikola Motors is selling hydrogen trucks for about half the amount it costs to make them




Supply-chain shortages of pressurised fuel tanks and batteries meant parts had to be flown to the US from Europe, driving up costs


US-based zero-emission automaker Nikola Motors is currently selling its new hydrogen trucks for almost half as much as they cost to manufacture.


The average selling price for its Tre FCEV fuel-cell electric trucks in the fourth quarter of last year was $351,000, but they cost $679,000 each to produce during the same period, according to Nikola.


However, if you include the per-vehicle fixed costs and “accruals” — as Nikola did in its last month's presentation of its Q4 results — the production cost rises to a little over $1.26m, which suggests that the trucks are actually being sold at almost a quarter the price of its total manufacturing costs.


A spokesperson for Nikola told Hydrogen Insight: “The $679,000 represents direct costs in producing each FCEV in Q4. Our fixed costs are incurred regardless of the number of trucks produced and not representative of what it would cost for each truck built. This is also true of accruals which are related to depreciation, amortization, warranty, and inventory write-downs.”


The $351,000 selling price was due to “fulfillment of legacy deals,” the company said in its Q4 results presentation.


And the high production price in Q4 was partly due to domestic supply-chain shortages, which meant that pressurised fuel tanks and electric batteries had to be flown over from Europe.


Steve Girsky, CEO of the Arizona-based company — which registered net losses of $966m in 2023 and $784m in 2022 — said that the hydrogen technology is so new that suppliers are encountering problems as they scale up from prototypes to full commercial production.


Nikola only began delivering its first hydrogen trucks at the end of last year — seven years after faking a working prototype — and it expects production costs to fall significantly this year, with total gross margins for its battery electric and H2 heavy-duty vehicles of negative 80-100% for the full year — up from negative 260% for its Tre FCEV in Q4 2023.


The company expects $150-170m of revenue from the sale of up to 350 hydrogen trucks and about 100 battery electric units in 2024.



Hot News

FuelCellChina Interviews