Nikola stock surging on hydrogen fuel-cell truck and supply deals

Nikola stock (NKLA) is rocketing higher after the electric truck maker announced two big deals for its hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

First off, small-scale hydrogen producer BayoTech agreed to a supply deal with Nikola HYLA’s division, which is its hydrogen distribution and dispensing solution for commercial trucking applications using hydrogen fuel-cell technology. BayoTech has agreed to purchase up to 50 Nikola Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell trucks over the next five years, with the first twelve trucks slated for delivery in 2023 and 2024. Nikola says its fuel-cell trucks have a range of up to 500 miles.

The HYLA tie-up with BayoTech will in turn see Nikola purchase up to 10 of BayoTech’s HyFill hydrogen transport trailers, which are required to distribute high-pressure hydrogen from production sites to refueling stations.

Secondly, Nikola supplier Bosch said at its Tech Day 2023 in Stuttgart on Thursday that it would begin volume production of its fuel-cell power modules, with Nikola serving as Bosch’s pilot customer.

Bosch fuel cells will be used in Nikola’s Class 8 truck, which has first deliveries to customers starting in North America in Q3 of this year.

“Bosch is one of the very few companies that are capable of mass-producing technology as complex as fuel-cell stacks. We don’t just have the required systems expertise, but also the capability of quickly scaling up new developments to mass production,” Markus Heyn, Bosch board member and chairman of Bosch Mobility, said in a statement. Bosch says it will invest $2.8 billion into hydrogen fuel technology through 2026, which is over $1 billion more than it was planning to spend.

Bosch's hydrogen fuel cell production line in Germany
Bosch's hydrogen fuel cell production line in Germany (Bosch)

Nikola shares traded up nearly 60% in late afternoon trading.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance earlier this year, Nikola CEO Michael Lohscheller said the company was forecasting production of "between 375 and 500 trucks" for the year and that the company plans to temporarily pause production at its Coolidge, Arizona, plant in order to modify the assembly line to accommodate both hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric assembly. The company said it is also leaning more toward boosting production of its hydrogen fuel cell trucks and assembling battery-electric models on a "build-to-order" basis.

It hasn’t been all good news for Nikola recently, as three weeks ago a fire damaged multiple battery-electric trucks at its Arizona headquarters. At the time Nikola said it suspected "foul play," but the Phoenix Fire Department concluded its investigation and found "no evidence at all of arson," meaning a possible battery issue may have been the cause of the fire.

Phoenix and Tempe fire crews battle multiple electric vehicle fires at the Nikola Motor Co. headquarters in Phoenix on June 23, 2023.
Phoenix and Tempe fire crews battle multiple electric vehicle fires at the Nikola Motor Co. headquarters in Phoenix on June 23, 2023. (Phoenix Fire Department)

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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