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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.

Buffett eyes slow U.S. progress, but says "never bet against America"

Warren Buffett in New York City in 2017. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called progress in America "slow, uneven and often discouraging," but retained his long-term optimism in the country, in his closely watched annual shareholder letter released Saturday morning.

Why it matters: It breaks months of uncharacteristic silence from the 90-year-old billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO — as the fragile economy coped with the pandemic and the U.S. saw a contentious presidential election.

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.