According tomedia reports, electric truck start-up Nikola is about to become a public company. The Arizona-based company announced Tuesday that it will merge with a listed acquisition company called VectoIQ, similar to the deal that space company Virgin Galactic completed in the second half of 2019.
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, when Nikola will list on the NASDAQ exchange under the name NKLA.
By then, the company, which was founded in 2015, will receive $525 million in new investment. It is understood that Nikola is committed to using hydrogen fuel cell technology to manufacture large, zero-emission trucks. While several well-known companies and start-ups such as Tesla, Daimler and Freightliner are also working on pure electric trucks, The Nikola is the only company dedicated to developing hydrogen-powered large trucks.
So far, the start-up has developed three different trucks, two of which are designed for mass production in the U.S. and Europe.
Hydrogen-powered cars have never really become popular in passenger cars, based on the lack of sound infrastructure. Over the past decade, companies such as Tesla, as well as several government departments and clean energy groups, have spent a lot of time building a relatively large network of electric car chargers, but hydrogen-fueled stations have only a few.
For Nikola, the selling point has always been that hydrogen power makes more sense in commercial applications. Since many commercial transport routes are point-to-point, it is easy to determine where hydrogen stations should be established. According to Nikola, hydrogen-fueled trucks are better suited for long-distance transportation than battery-powered cars for reasons such as filling a hydrogen fuel tank for much less time than charging a large battery pack; But that means the truck will be heavier, which will eventually limit the efficiency of the truck.
So far, Nikola has acquired a number of customers, such as Anheuser-Busch, which has ordered hundreds of trucks in 2018. In addition, Nikola has signed an agreement with energy company Nel to develop hydrogen fuel stations, as well as an agreement with automotive supplier Bosch to help it design truck parts. Last year, Nikola also formed a joint venture with Iveco, a European truckmaker, which made a huge difference — not only providing some legitimacy for the start-up’s plans but also providing a shortcut to production.
The company plans to start producing battery-powered trucks next year, with an estimated 600 deliveries, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. By 2023, that number will double every year as hydrogen-fueled trucks are put into operation. In addition, Nikola expects to generate $3.2 billion in revenue by 2024 by selling 7,000 battery-powered trucks and 5,000 hydrogen-fueled trucks.
In addition, Nikola plans to apply the technology it is developing for its large trucks to other formal factors. Last year, the company unveiled an electric private yacht and a four-wheeled electric off-road vehicle. Just last month, the company unveiled a pickup truck called Badger that will have a range of up to 600 miles through a combination of hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion battery technology.