Nikola Wants to Give Hydrogen a Go Since Battery-Electric Trucks Worked Out So Well

A view of the Nikola electric semi truck
A view of the Nikola electric semi truck

Nikola has had a real tough go of it over the past few years. Right now the supposed-to-be truck maker is losing over $150 million per quarter, and that’s a lot of money when you consider the fact it only has about $150 million in cash and receivables on hand, according to a report from Automotive News.

In case you missed it:

Being in that sort of money situation can change how you view things, what your priorities are, and what you’ll do going forward. That’s apparently what happened with our dear Nikola. The company is completely revamping its strategy. Executives are telling AutoNews that it is going to focus on hydrogen trucks and its relatively new hydrogen refueling business called Hyla.


Read more

Part of the reason for this switch in focus is because the hydrogen fuel cell version of Nikola’s Tre truck has a claimed 500-mile range. It drummed up a lot of interest at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo, and where there’s interest, there’s money – something Nikola desperately needs.

The outlet reports that Nikola dealers currently have 140 fuel cell trucks on order, and it has halted production at its Coolidge, Arizona factory to retool it. But, trucks won’t be the only component of Nikola’s hydrogen game plan. It’s apparently also going to have a nationwide network of up to 50 Hyla refueling stations. An average of one per state doesn’t seem like enough, but what do I know? It’s reportedly teaming up with Voltera, a Virginia-based energy infrastructure company to build EV charging and hydrogen fueling stations to make Nikola’s plans come to fruition.

Now, don’t worry Nikola fan(s). The company is still apparently going to make battery-electric vehicles, but only for special orders. They’ll be built alongside the fuel cell trucks at the Coolidge plant.

“The ports in California, they prefer a battery electric truck, and we are happy to continue to produce the battery-electric truck,” Michael Lohscheller, Nikola CEO, told Automotive News.

He also said that Nikola has delivered 162 battery-electric trucks to customers and has made 33 retail sales in the first quarter of 2023.

All of this exciting news comes as Nikola continues to struggle finacially. AutoNews says it’s able to raise $500 million going forward, but it’ll have to do it through existing credit and loan agreements. It could also borrow money against its buildings and other assets.

Nikola also recently ended its joint venture with Iveco, an Italian truck maker, to build battery-electric trucks in Europe. Nikola will reportedly sell its stake in Iveco back to the company for $35 million, and Iveco will purchase 20 million shares of Nikola.

In the first quarter, Nikola lost $169 million, according to Automotive News. That works out to 31 cents per share, and it’s a bit more than the $152.9 million it lost in the first quarter of 2022. There is some good news, though. AutoNews says Nikola’s first quarter revenue reached $11.1 million. That’s up from just $1.88 million the same time last year. Good job, guys!

More from Jalopnik

Sign up for Jalopnik's Newsletter. For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.