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Nikola raises $100 million in August, anticipates oversubscribed Series C

(Photo: Nikola Motor Company)

Nikola Motor Company raised over $100 million in August, and the company’s CEO Trevor Milton expects its $200 million C round to be oversubscribed. Nikola boasts a $1.1 billion pre-money valuation.

“We worked pretty hard for eight months to prepare for the round,” Milton said. “We didn’t know how quick it was going to come in, but we certainly exceeded our expectations, which is always a good thing.”

The hydrogen-electric truck maker will not release the identity of the early investor, instead allowing them to make the announcement themselves in the coming months.

There will also be more money coming in soon, according to Milton.

“We’ve got two or three more groups that have committed to full round, and those will be coming out in the next month or two,” Milton said. “We’re going to oversubscribe this round, which is really awesome. That’s a very rare thing to do, especially in a unicorn value where you’re over $1 billion.”

Nikola has made several large announcements over the past few months, and investors seem to have noticed.

“So far this year we have kicked-off plans to build the largest hydrogen network in the world with NEL, secured a massive 800-truck order commitment from Anheuser-Busch, developed the most energy dense battery system on the market with almost 400 watt hours per liter, engineered a 240 kW fuel cell, kicked-off electric vehicle stability controls and electric ABS with WABCO, designed a thermo-management and HVAC system with Mahle, finalized the most advanced class-8 independent suspension on the market with Meritor, relocated our company to Arizona to build our new 150,000 sq. ft. headquarters and now closed on $100,000,000,” Milton said in a media release.

Shortly before Nikola announced its 800-truck order from Anheuser-Busch, FreightWaves reported the company refunded all money paid as part of reservations to receive a Nikola One hydrogen-electric truck. It cited the large order as motivation behind the refunds. The trucks can now be reserved without a deposit.

Milton said the 28 hydrogen fuel stations and 800 trucks for Anheuser-Busch will take about five years to build out, starting toward the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.

Nikola is reporting about $10.5 billion in pre-sales, but Anheuser-Busch and Chattanooga-based U.S. Xpress are the only companies that have publicly announced their orders.

“U.S. Xpress and Anheuser-Busch only take up a portion of the trucks, so all the rest are taken up by hundreds of other fleets,” Milton said.

He said the company is only about two or three weeks away from announcing the unveiling date for the pre-production truck everyone will be able to see and drive.

When asked what sets Nikola apart from competitors like Tesla, Milton said the biggest difference is that Nikola’s truck is outpreforming diesel in every category.

“It’s lighter. It’s more powerful. It goes further, and it’s zero emissions,” he said. “You’re talking about a zero-emission truck, up to 1,000 horsepower, that can go 500 to 1,200 miles on a fill, then refuel in 20 minutes, and weighs 5,000 pounds less than a pure electric vehicle. Hydrogen makes sense on a truck.”

Nikola is planning on having more than 700 hydrogen stations across the U.S. and Canada by 2028. The first 14 stations will be up and running by 2021, according to a Nikola media release.

“The best days are in front of us,” Milton added.

Ashley Coker

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.