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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.

Go deeper

Nov 10, 2020 - Science

Cruise to test autonomous grocery delivery for Walmart in Arizona

Photo: Cruise

Walmart is partnering with self-driving technology company Cruise to pilot autonomous grocery deliveries in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Why it matters: Cruise is not the first partner Walmart has selected to test AV deliveries. But the retailer noted that Cruise's fleet of electric vehicles, powered with renewable energy, supports its mission to achieve zero emissions by 2040.

11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional Hispanics want Lujan Grisham at HHS

Michelle Lujan Grisham arriving on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Hispanic lawmakers are openly lobbying to have New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham be named Health and Human Services secretary, according to a letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: These members are now following the example some Black lawmakers have used for weeks: trying to convince Joe Biden his political interests will be served by rewarding certain demographic groups with Cabinet picks.

3 hours ago - World

Map: A look at world population density in 3D

This fascinating map is made by Alasdair Rae of Sheffield, England, a former professor of urban studies who is the founder of Automatic Knowledge. It shows world population density in 3D.

Details: "No land is shown on the map, only the locations where people actually live. ... The higher the spike, the more people live in an area. Where there are no spikes, there are no people (e.g. you can clearly identify ... the Sahara Desert)."