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A new note from RBC Capital Markets explains why electric and hydrogen truck startup Nikola may be poised to succeed despite now-departed founder Trevor Milton's allegedly false claims about its progress and tech.

Details: Instead, "What made NKLA unique was [the opportunity] to sell 'routes' via fuel cell truck leases, and helping industry solve 'chicken and egg' problem associated with hydrogen infrastructure build-out."

  • "If they're able to succeed, this could potentially create a first mover advantage and a feedback loop allowing them to sell more trucks."

Yes, but: RBC analysts say Nikola must "rebuild credibility" and the stock will remain in the "penalty box" while that happens.

  • Also, they note risks facing Nikola, some of which are the same ones facing any alternative transportation startup, such as price volatility for raw materials, slow market uptake of non-fossil fuel tech, and more.

Where it stands: Nikola's big industrial partners are sticking with the embattled company, providing another sign it's positioned to survive the tumult for now.

  • German industrial conglomerate Bosch, which is providing components for a planned hydrogen semitruck, is still on board, per Reuters.
  • And Nikola's top finance exec said at an investor event yesterday that Bosch and CNH Industrial — the European company slated to manufacture the Nikola Tre — remain partners.
  • As we reported, GM still plans to build Nikola's Badger pickup and supply tech for its heavy trucks, and fleet owners that placed semi orders haven't bailed.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 22, 2019 - Technology

Tesla ushers in the electric pickup moment

Photo: Tesla

Tesla unveiled its futuristic "Cybertruck" at an L.A. event on Thursday that was heavy on light shows, yet analysts remain in the dark about the future of electric pickups — and Tesla's role in it.

Why it matters: The event was the splashiest sign yesterday that automakers are moving closer to bringing electric models to the huge pickup market.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.