Sep 22, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Electric truck startup Nikola is down but not out

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Nikola Corp., a high-flying electric truck startup until just days ago, has come back down to earth but somehow hasn't crashed — at least not yet.

Driving the news: Founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton quit Monday amid reported federal probes of allegations that he lied about Nikola's tech and progress.

Why it matters: The tumult sent the stock price tumbling, and revealed the jeopardy facing the startup with almost zero revenue or commercial production but a big dollar market value largely based on expectations.

The intrigue: So far, Nikola's big corporate partners are standing by them. GM said its deal with Nikola — which includes an 11% stake, building its Badger pickup and supplying tech for its semitrucks — is intact.

  • And remember GM has some connections to Nikola. Steve Girsky, a former GM exec who is on Nikola's board, has stepped into Milton's shoes in the top slot.

What they're saying: "We will work with Nikola to close the transaction we announced nearly two weeks ago to seize the growth opportunities in broader markets with our hydrotec fuel cell and ultium battery systems, and to engineer and build the Nikola Badger," GM said.

  • The waste company Republic Services, which has ordered 2,500 electric garbage trucks from Nikola, said it will "continue to work with Nikola and our other suppliers to develop electric recycling and waste collection vehicles."
  • Anheuser-Busch, which announced an order for hundreds of big trucks in 2018, has not publicly backed away. They did not respond to an inquiry Monday.

Go deeper: GM's eyes are wide open on Nikola partnership

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