Nikola rises from the zero emission ashes, delivered 35 H2 trucks last year

Cannon Mug Headshot
Nikola assembly line
Nikola Motors kicked off serial production of its hydrogen fuel cell trucks July 31, 2023, in in Coolidge, Arizona, with the commercial launch Sept. 28.

Once briefly the darling of Wall Street – with its valuation surging higher than Ford, a company more than 100 years older – Nikola Motors was largely written off for dead following a 2020 scandal that last month saw its founder, Trevor Milton, convicted of fraud

Nikola's fall from grace was nearly as spectacular as its rise, seemingly out of nowhere. Nikola became a publicly traded company via reverse merger and in a matter of less than a week, its stock price doubled. That surge, the court alleged, was driven by "false and misleading statements" made by Milton about Nikola’s products and capabilities that induce retail investors to purchase Nikola stock and sent the stock to the moon and made him a billionaire. 

Nikola stock chartSince its mid-2020 high, Nikola's stock has shed more than 90% of its value. It closed January 3 at 74 cents, compared to an all-time high of 65.90 on June 19, 2020.

Last year the company said it produced 42 and wholesaled 35 Class 8 Nikola hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) – "What we believe is the only U.S. designed and assembled Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric truck on the road today,” noted Nikola CEO Steve Girsky. Assembled in Coolidge, Arizona, the FCEV commenced serial production July 31, 2023, with the commercial launch Sept. 28.   

The company has also produced and shipped more that 200 all battery electric models, but wound up having to recall all of them over battery problems and the associated risk of fire. 

[Related: Trevor Milton still wants to revolutionize trucking, and he still doesn’t care if you don’t believe him]

Nikola and its dealers as of November had received 277 non-binding orders from 35 customers for the hydrogen fuel cell electric truck from the likes of J.B. Hunt, AJR Trucking, Biagi Bros. and TTSI. 

Of the seven trucks produced but not wholesaled, three are being used in an extended field test with a fleet partner, two are in continued validation and engineering and two are being used for service training/customer demos. 

Nikola’s FCEV features a range of up to 500 miles and the company claims an estimated fueling time as low as 20 minutes. The company believes its truck is among the longest ranges of all commercially available zero tailpipe emission Class 8 trucks, with versatile applications ranging from drayage and intermodal to metro-regional truckload and less-than-truckload to certain specialized hauling use cases.   

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers

“Our goal is to introduce a better, cleaner way to deliver goods to the North American market in a reliable package,” said Girsky. “Our FCEV customer pilot programs have shown strong results, with truck uptime at 98% – crucial for efficient fleet usage.” 

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]
Hydrogen Fuel Cell & BEV Survey
The following survey was sent as a link in an email cover message in February 2023 to the newsletter lists for Overdrive and CCJ. After approximately two weeks, a total of 176 owner-operators under their own authority, 113 owner-operators leased or assigned to a carrier and 82 fleet executives and 36 fleet employees from fleets with 10 or more power units had completed and submitted the questionnaire for a total of 407 qualified responses. Cross-tabulations based on respondent type are provided for each question when applicable.
View Infogram