Nikola Corporation reports progress related to its Class 8 battery-electric truck sales and the start of production of the hydrogen fuel cell version.

Let's start with the all-electric Nikola Tre model, which during the second quarter of 2023, noted 45 Wholesales and 66 retail deliveries. Production during the period, amounted to 33 units (down from 63 in Q1 and from 50 in Q2 2022) because production was put on hold.

Nikola Tre results in Q2 and H1 2023:

  • Wholesale: 45 and 76
  • Retail: 66 and 99
  • Production: 33 and 96

We are not sure when the Nikola Tre will enter production again, but it's worth noting that the company is working to bring the battery pack production line in-house in Coolidge, Arizona (after closing down battery production operations of Romeo Power, acquired in 2022).

"Progress also continued on the battery pack line installation in Coolidge. When we resume battery-electric truck production, the battery packs utilized will be built at our facility in Coolidge."

Meanwhile, the hydrogen fuel cell Nikola Tre FCEV entered series production on July 31, 2023 and the first customer deliveries are expected in September.

According to Nikola, 18 customers placed orders to Nikola and its dealers for over 200 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks.

Nikola Tre BEV

Nikola Tre BEV

Nikola Tre FCEV

Nikola Tre FCEV

It sounds like a good starting point for the hydrogen version of the Class 8 truck, but of course, it's not a volume that would sustain long-term operations. Nikola noted that the current production capacity of the facility is 2,400 trucks per year on three shifts (800 per year on one shift, or 200 per quarter on one shift).

In other words, there must be a lot more orders to keep the plant busy. Additionally, Nikola has to complete the battery pack production line and fuel cell power module assembly line. The fuel cell power module production should be ready in Q4 2023, which will allow the use of in-house produced systems, instead of those supplied by Bosch.

"Progress continued on the fuel cell power module assembly line. We expect the fuel cell power module assembly line to be completed in Q4 of this year. Fuel cell power modules utilized in hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in 2023 will be built and shipped to Coolidge by Bosch."

Another very important element of the future growth of Nikola is the hydrogen refueling infrastructure, specifically for trucks.

The company noted two things - the start of the development process for eight stations, out of which first to enter operation before the end of 2023, and the upcoming deployment of nine mobile hydrogen fuelers:

  • "...we have begun the station development process for eight (8) initial stations. Our first station in Ontario, California is expected to go into operation by the end of 2023"
  • "We expect to deploy nine (9) hydrogen mobile fuelers at several locations in California by the end of 2023 to support zero-emissions trucking operations."

The Nikola's Phoenix Hydrogen Hub project located in Buckeye (near Phoenix), Arizona, was acquired by Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), as the company wanted to free its capital resources. The site is expected to be a high-volume hydrogen production site.

Time will tell whether the hydrogen infrastructure will be ready on time to support the rollout of the first vehicles. Without the refueling infrastructure, there will be not much value in the promised range of up to 500 miles (over 800 km) and an estimated fueling time of approximately 20 minutes.

In terms of finances, in Q2 Nikola noted more than $15.3 million in revenues (compared to $18.1 million a year ago), while its net loss amounted to nearly $218 million (compared to a net loss of $173 million a year ago).

Let's recall that earlier this year, Nikola Corporation and Iveco Group announced a new chapter in their partnership, basically parting ways and focusing on their core markets (respectively North America and Europe). Nikola completed the sale of the European joint venture to Iveco.

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