Nikola To Report As Chip Squeeze May Put 2021 Milestones At Risk

Fuel cell and battery electric vehicle startup Nikola (NKLA) will report first-quarter results Friday as the chip supply crunch threatens key milestones for this year. Nikola stock fell.


Nikola Earnings Report

Estimates: Analysts expect a loss of 27 cents per share on no revenue.

Results: Check back Friday.

Outlook: In February, Nikola said trial production of the Tre semi-truck is set to start in June in Germany, while its Arizona plant will start producing the Tre in Q3. CEO Mark Russell also predicted 50-100 battery-electric Tre deliveries in 2021, generating $15 million-$30 million in revenue, with the first customers due to receive the trucks in Q4.

But those goals may slip as the global auto industry downgrades production forecasts amid the chip shortage. Last week, Ford (F) said it’ll halve second-quarter production. And on Monday, Volkswagen (VWAGY) warned the shortage will curb output of vehicles overall, while sparing EVs.

Stock: Shares fell 1.7% to close at 10.81 on the stock market today. Nikola stock has been on in a downturn for several months and is well off a high of 93.99 reached in June.

Among other top fuel cell stocks, Fuelcell Energy (FCEL) dropped 4.8%, and Plug Power (PLUG) fell 7.6%. Ballard Power (BLDP) sank 19.7% after announcing disappointing Q1 results Monday.

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Green Trends Favor Nikola Stock

Beyond 2021, other important dates for Nikola stock are coming up. After the battery-electric Tre, with 300 miles of range, begins deliveries in Q4, a hydrogen fuel-cell version, with a range up to 500 miles, will follow in the second half of 2023.

Nikola also is targeting the launch of another fuel-cell semi truck — the Two — with up to 900 miles of range in late 2024.

Meanwhile, Nikola is making some progress on starting to build up infrastructure. In April, Nikola announced plans to create a hydrogen pipeline network in Germany with its partners CNH Industrial (CNHI) and OGE.

Also last month, it announced a deal with TravelCenters of America (TA) to install hydrogen refueling stations for heavy-duty trucks at two sites in California. These sites may begin operation as early as the first quarter of 2023.

Hydrogen fuel cells are gaining popularity as renewable energy investment has been on the rise globally following the enactment of the Paris Climate Agreement. Even Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest energy company, sees a huge potential for hydrogen fuel.

Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter for investing news and more.


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