Nikola Stock Is Likely to Defy the Skeptics

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Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) is making great progress in manufacturing and generating orders for its battery-electric and hydrogen heavy-duty commercial trucks. With businesses and governments seeking to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. and Europe, Nikola’s status as a first-mover in environmentally friendly semi-trucks should enable it to post great financial results over the longer term. Consequently, I remain upbeat on NKLA stock.

Nikola went public via a reverse merger with VectoIQ Acquisition Corp. on June 3. Shares rocketed from the mid-$30s to a high just below $94 in a matter of days before quickly reversing. Today, NKLA stock trades for less than $10 a share after falling 42% in the past 12 months.

Some of the recent weakness can be attributed to the broader sell-off in tech stocks, which appears to be presenting a great opportunity to go long NKLA stock.

Nikola Completes Its First Deliveries

In line with predictions I made in late 2020 and early 2021, and counter to Nikola’s many detractors, the truck maker is not just surviving but thriving.

On Dec. 21, the company agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $125 million to resolve fraud allegations. The SEC investigation was part of a broader crackdown by the agency on EV startups that merged with special purpose acquisition companies. Settling with the SEC removed a big overhang for the shares, and NKLA stock popped as much as 31% in the days following the news.

Part of investors’ enthusiasm around this time likely also stemmed from the fact that Nikola announced it had completed its first customer delivery. On Dec. 17, the company said it had delivered the first Nikola Tre BEV pilot trucks, which are designed for local deliveries of up to 350 miles, to California-based trucking company Total Transportation Services (TTSI).

The deliveries were part of a collaboration between the two companies in which TTSI has expressed its intent “to order 100 Nikola Class 8 battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) semi-trucks.” The latter is meant for longer-distance deliveries of up to 500 miles. Per the agreement, TTSI is slated to buy 30 BEVs this year from Nikola and 70 FCEVs in 2023.

Nikola Expanding Capacity As It Adds More Customers

During Nikola’s earnings conference call on Nov. 4, CEO Mark Russell said the company had begun manufacturing 40 BEVs and seven FCEVs that are to be used for testing purposes.

Meanwhile, Nikola continues to make progress on developing its factory in Coolidge, Ariz. Specifically, it expects to complete the expansion of its assembly area during the first quarter of this year. By early 2023, it anticipates the plant will be able to manufacture “up to 20,000” trucks annually, as well as build fuel cell modules for those EVs.

In the past few months, Nikola has made several sizeable deals with new customers.

In mid-October, Nikola announced PCT Trucking plans to lease 100 Nikola FCEVs. This was followed by a December announcement that Heniff Transportation Systems plans to purchase or lease 10 BEV trucks from Nikola.

And just last week, we got news of a similar agreement with USA Truck (NASDAQ:USAK) for 10 BEVs. That was followed a day later by a report that trucking company Saia intends to buy or lease as many as 100 BEVs from Nikola.

Support for Clean Hydrogen Should Boost NKLA Stock

President Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion social spending package, which included $500 billion to combat climate change, passed the House in November but stalled after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin withdrew his support. However, according to Politico, clean hydrogen is one of the technologies Manchin has “long favored.”

Since the Democrats need Machin’s vote, it’s likely hydrogen subsidies will find their way into the final legislation. If that happens, it should be a big boon for NKLA stock. The company’s FCEV truck will be powered by hydrogen, and the company plans to build its own hydrogen fuel network.

For its part, California is building 100 hydrogen fueling stations around the state, paving the way for Nikola’s FCEV trucks to be appealing to many companies there.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has proposed the creation of the “world’s first market framework for hydrogen.” That’s important because Nikola has a production plant in Ulm, Germany. The facility is expected to produce up to 100 trucks this year.

The Bottom Line on NKLA Stock

Nikola is making excellent progress in many important areas and remains poised to benefit from the support of multiple governments.

Meanwhile, the truck maker’s $4 billion market capitalization drastically undervalues the long-term potential of the company and NKLA stock.

On the date of publication, Larry Ramer did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. 

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 13 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015.  Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been GE, solar stocks, and Snap. You can reach him on StockTwits at @larryramer. 

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