Nikola Motors Goes Public, Schedules Coolidge Groundbreaking

by Blake Herzog

Nikola Corporation began trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange June 4 after completing its $3-billion merger with special acquisition corporation VectoIQ and announced a July 23 groundbreaking date for its planned Coolidge factory shortly afterward.

Nikola founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton disclosed the Coolidge groundbreaking plans in a June 19 tweet: “The ceremony will be held here to kick off construction of the plant that will build up to 35,000 zero-emission semitrucks and create thousands of jobs.”

Nikola spokeswoman Nicole Rose said in an email June 29 no further details about the event had been released but will be forthcoming, with COVID-19-related precautions such as a limited audience and distancing between the audience members.

Known as Nikola Motors before the merger, the automaker said it expects to begin generating revenue in 2021 with production of the Nikola TRE Class 8 BEV semitruck in Germany for its initial European market. Production of hybrid long-haul semis is expected to start at the incoming 1-million-square-foot factory on the south end of Coolidge in 2022 or 2023.

Trading under the NKLA symbol, the onetime startup’s shares started trading at $32.75 June 4, saw highs and lows during the month and were sitting around $65 by the last week of June, according to a chart on the Nikola website.

Having grabbed attention from major manufacturers like Anheuser Busch for the potential of its emission-free short- and long-haul trucks, Nikola entered the consumer pickup market June 29 by opening reservations for the Badger, a hybrid electric hydrogen fuel cell truck touted with a range up to 600 miles on one charge.

Nikola has said it will be partnering with an established automaker to produce the Badger and is talking to three prospective partners. The vehicle is to be unveiled during this year’s Nikola World event, scheduled Dec. 3-5 in Phoenix.

The $1 billion Nikola plant in Coolidge is projected to create as many as 2,000 jobs in Pinal County by 2024.