Troubled hydrogen truckmaker Nikola exceeds sales target but revenue falls due to losses on every vehicle sold

Nikola may have sold 40 hydrogen trucks wholesale in the first quarter of 2024 — five more than it had set as a high-case target in a February outlook — but the troubled zero-emission automaker still saw its revenue drop by more than a quarter from $10.7m in Q1 2023 to $7.5m.

A major reason for this dip in revenue is due to a cancelled dealer agreement, which incurred an $8m return, as well as accounting for extra cancellations in the future, although this was partially offset by Nikola charging more for its fuel-cell trucks than its battery-electric units — which it recalled last year owing to several battery fires.

However, Nikola continues to sell its fuel-cell trucks at a massive loss. The costs associated with selling each truck ballooned to $61.7m in Q1 2024, 87% higher than the same period last year when the company only sold battery-electric trucks.

Last quarter, the truckmaker admitted that while the average selling price for its FCEVs was $351,000, each unit cost $679,000 to produce, not counting per-vehicle fixed costs and accruals.

Although the company had reduced its operating expenses by more than 15%, it still recorded a net loss of $147.7m for the quarter, although this compares to a loss of $169.1m for the same period last year.

And because Nikola had issued 786,187,915 shares since Q1 2023, the net loss per share was only $0.11, compared to $0.31 the year before.

However, the company saw its cash and cash-equivalents drop from $464.7m at the end of 2023 to $345.6m as of 31 March, while its deficit has increased to $3.2bn since the company’s launch.

Nikola’s future as a Nasdaq-listed business is also precarious, given that in January it was issued a non-compliance notice, which required the company to trade at $1 or more per share for ten consecutive working days within 180 days — which it has so far failed to do.

This had last month prompted Nikola’s board to recommend a vote for a reverse stock split, which would reduce the number of shares in the company, and therefore increase the value of each remaining share to more than $1.

Despite the high cost of producing FCEVs, Nikola plans to deliver another 50-60 fuel-cell trucks in Q2, with 300-350 of these vehicles sold by the end of the year.

The truckmaker already boasts that it accounted for 99% of FCEV (fuel-cell electric vehicle) vouchers filed in Q1 this year for the state of California’s HVIP low-emission heavy vehicle incentive programme.


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