Aug 11, 2020 - Economy

Nikola stock surge shows power of corporate buys of electric vehicles

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

The electric truck startup Nikola Motors' stock surged 22% Monday and the company now has a market capitalization of $17 billion. That's pretty, pretty good considering they have basically no revenue yet.

Driving the news: The bump came after Monday's announcement that the waste management company Republic Services has ordered at least 2,500 electric garbage trucks, with deliveries slated to start in 2023.

Why it matters: Corporate fleet purchases are likely to be a big part of the pathway for electric vehicles.

  • As Nikola CEO Trevor Milton put it: "The refuse market is one of the most stable markets in the industry and provides long-term shareholder value."

The big picture: Other companies are also targeting fleet customers right out of the gate.

  • Fleets make sense for several kinds of electric vehicles, not just heavy trucks, because of predictable routes and centralized charging locations.
  • The startup Rivian is building a pickup and an SUV, but has raised gobs of cash partly on the strength of its deal to supply Amazon with electric delivery vehicles.
  • Lordstown Motors, which is aiming its planned pickup at commercial fleets, just raised money via purchase by a special purpose acquisition company that will allow it to go public.

How it works: Back to Nikola (which by the way is also building a pickup). They said the garbage trucks will be based on the drivetrain of the Nikola Tre electric semitruck, which is supposed to begin production late next year.

  • The vehicles for Republic Services will have a range of 150 miles per charge, Nikola said. The order is for 2,500 units but could expand to 5,000.
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