Nikola still “on plan,” says CEO

By Mike Brezonick05 November 2021

Nikola HQ Electric truck manufacturer Nikola has continued to report financial losses but the company is still continuing to execture its business plan, CEO Mark Russell said.

Nikola Corp., the Phoenix, Ariz.-headquartered supplier of battery electric (BEV) and fuel cell electric (FCEV) commercial trucks, reported a net loss for the third quarter of 2021, but the company continues to “execute on our business plan,” according to CEO Mark Russell.

For the quarter that ended Sept. 30, Nikola recorded a net loss of $267,567 versus a $79,704 deficit in the third quarter in 2020. Year to date, the company reported a net loss of $531,022, up from the $228,632 loss for the same period of 2020.

Nikola CEO Mark Russell Mark Russell

“During the third quarter, we continued to execute on our business plan,” Russell said. “Validation of the Nikola Tre BEV is progressing, with trucks now being test-driven and tested on public roads. We also formally inaugurated our joint venture manufacturing facility in Ulm, Germany, and entered into additional strategic partnerships to advance our hydrogen refueling ecosystem with TC Energy and OPAL Fuels.”

“With prospects of an SEC settlement, we’re looking forward to resolving the outstanding issues relating to our founder and bringing that chapter to a close and maintaining our focus on delivering trucks to our customers, and building the energy, service, and support infrastructure our customers need.”

Earlier this year, Nikola founder Trevor Milton was hit with criminal charges for securities and wire fraud in connection with what prosecutors called a scheme to defraud and mislead investors about the development of Nikola’s products and technology.

Nikola Two FCEV Nikola said it is continuing to test its fuel cell electric truck in Arizona and at a joint venture facility in Germany.

Nikola Tre BEV validation

During the quarter, Nikola said progress continued validating the Nikola Tre BEV in preparation for public road release in December 2021. “As of today, we have completed eight gamma trucks,” the company said, and has begun building pre-series trucks in Coolidge, Arizona. The company said it continues “to work steadfastly towards our commitment to deliver up to 25 trucks to dealers and customers by December 2021. The trucks will haul customer loads, gain real-world mileage accumulation, and in turn we expect to secure additional orders for 2022 volume and beyond.

Nikola Tre FCEV Update

The company said that “as of today, we have built seven Nikola Tre FCEV alphas, comprised of two in Ulm (Germany) and five in Coolidge. Track testing has begun in both Ulm, Germany, and Phoenix, Arizona, and we continue to progress toward road release by the end of 2021.

Coolidge Manufacturing Update

Nikola said that it has begun Nikola Tre BEV pre-series builds in Coolidge. “Trucks are on the assembly line and in process, the company said. “As we are building our pre-series trucks, we are concurrently expanding the Phase 1 assembly expansion area to enable our total production capacity in 2022 of 2400 trucks per year on two shifts.

The new Nikola Tre fuel-cell heaavy truck The Nikola Tre heavy-duty fuel cell truck is being assembled at a joint venture facility in Ulm, Germany

“We anticipate the expanded Phase 1 will be completed in January 2022, and the construction of Phase 2 will begin immediately after that. Phase 2 is expected to be completed in early 2023, at which time our assembly hall will be fully built out with an installed process capacity of 20,000 units per year. The facility will be capable of building the Nikola Tre BEV and FCEV trucks on the same line, and also assembling the Bosch fuel cell modules.”

JV manufacturing facility at Iveco’s complex in Germany

In September, Nikola and Iveco inaugurated the Ulm Joint Venture Manufacturing Facility. The company said it is currently building 10 pre-series Nikola Tre BEVs in Ulm.

Also in September, Nikola and Iveco signed an MoU with the Hamburg Port Authority during to supply up to 25 Nikola Tre BEVs for delivery to the port throughout 2022. Later that same month, Nikola entered into an MoU with Opal Fuels, LLC to collaborate on the development, construction, and operation of hydrogen refueling stations in North America and the use of renewable natural gas (RNG) in hydrogen production. Under the MoU, Nikola and Opal intend to co-develop and co-market hydrogen refueling infrastructure to accelerate the adoption of FCEVs in North America.

SEC Investigation Update

Nikola and the staff of the Division of Enforcement at the SEC have been engaged in discussions regarding a resolution of the SEC’s investigation. The company expects that, if approved, the resolution would include a $125 million civil penalty paid in installments over time. Final resolution is subject to documentation satisfactory to all the parties, and completion of any settlement is contingent on a vote of the Commissioners of the SEC.

In addition, the company said it “intends to seek reimbursement from its founder, Trevor Milton, for costs and damages in connection with the government and regulatory investigations.”

Looking ahead

Nikola said it “looks forward to achieving the following milestones in the fourth quarter of 2021:”

- Delivering pre-series Nikola Tre BEVs for use on public roads hauling customer freight.

- Announcing additional fleet testing dealers/customers.

- Purchasing land for its first centralized hydrogen production hub facility and/or commercial on-site gaseous generation station and announcing additional hydrogen infrastructure/ecosystem partners.

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