Proof of realism in the face of an overly ambitious task or a simple admission of weakness in the face of shareholders? Either way, Nikola doesn’t want to venture further down the path of the electric garbage truck. Capitalized to the tune of $ 6 billion, the brand announced yesterday that it was throwing in the towel.
The garbage truck of the future will not bear the Nikola stamp. While the competition is active, and progressing, on the design of electric trucks with a similar concept, the start-up based in Phoenix (Arizona) admitted at the end of December that it was dropping its electric garbage truck for its part. . The latter should initially be designed in partnership with Republic Services, America’s number two in waste management.
This announcement, which comes in an already delicate context for Nikola, instantly caused its share to drop 10% on the stock market. It is also difficult to justify from a strictly engineering point of view, since other market players are making rather good progress in the design of electrical transport solutions for waste, recalls Electrek.
Nikola evacuates a project that is too complex and expensive in R&D
« After close collaboration and careful consideration, the two companies [Nikola et Republic Services, NDLR] determined that the combination of various new technologies and new design methods would result in longer than expected development time and unexpected costs. As a result, the program is interrupted, resulting in the cancellation of the previously announced vehicle order.Nikola said in a statement.
The project carried out jointly by the two groups was initially supposed to result in the conception “a fully equipped garbage truck, the first in the industry, based on a battery-powered, emission-free electric platform“. An ambitious phrasing for a project which finally fell through just a few months after its announcement at the start of the year.
The competition remains in the running
Two explanations can be put forward to understand Nikola’s decision. The group’s technologies may not be as advanced as promised (with regard to the brand’s history of false promises, the thing is far from impossible), but one can also think that the project would not have allowed Nikola to generate income fast enough.
As pointed out Electrek, Nikola’s competitors are continuing their work, with rather promising results. The Chinese BYD, for example, has an electric garbage truck weighing 3.9 tonnes. The latter has a range of 160 kilometers only on battery. Mack and Volvo have also unveiled trucks of this type, while Daimler for its part has announced outright that it is able to launch one on the market.