Nikolas electric garbage truck is based on his Nikola Tre Semi.

Nikola Motor

Nikola may not have a lot of sales yet, but the order book for manufacturers of battery and hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles is getting heavier. Waste management company Republic RSG Services wants 2,500 electric garbage trucks from the upstart maker and delivery to begin in three years.

The work vehicles are a variant of the Nikola Tre battery-semi, which will go into production with the assembly partner Iveco in Germany at the end of this year. Units for the Republic are being built at Nikola’s US facility, under construction in Coolidge, Arizona. The emission-free vehicles offer a range of more than 250 km and can transport up to 1200 cans per load, said Nikola from Phoenix.

The contract is the largest ever for electric garbage trucks in the US, and the Republic has an option to expand it to up to 5,000 vehicles, Nikola said. The contract could ultimately be valued at $ 1 billion to $ 2 billion, Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton said on a conference call. A traditional diesel or natural gas-powered garbage truck typically costs around $ 500,000. He refused to give a specific price for the Nikola model.

“The trash market is one of the most stable in the industry and offers long-term shareholder value,” said Milton. “The Nikola Tre powertrain is ideal for the garbage market because it uses the same batteries, controls, inverters and e-axles. By sharing the Tre platform, we can reduce the cost of both programs by using the same parts. “

Prior to the announcement, Nikola announced that it had more than 14,000 orders for hydrogen fuel cell trucks. The brewer Anheuser-Busch is waiting for hundreds of these vehicles to go into production in Arizona in 2023. The company, which listed its shares on the Nasdaq NDAQ in June, announced a net loss of $ 86.6 million for the quarter ended June 30th that month. Nikola has not forecast any significant sales of battery and hydrogen-powered vehicles in at least two years Tractor units.

“We are for electrification,” said Jon Vander Ark, president of Republic Services, on a conference call. His company is the second largest recycling and waste haulier in the United States, buying about 20% of all garbage trucks sold annually. “I have no doubt that the entire industry will get there in time.”

Early batches of the trucks will likely go to California and Arizona first, due to state incentives and customer demand, Vander Ark said. The republic does not make deposits for the trucks. “We would have determined that. They didn’t need our money, ”he said.

Tests of the Nikola garbage trucks on the road will begin in 2022, and deliveries for the Republic will begin in 2023. The vehicle’s batteries hold 720 kWh of electricity and are equipped with automated side and front loaders. Republic helps design, said Nikola.

In addition to garbage trucks and Semis, Nikola plans to sell electric ATVs and jet skis and is preparing to announce a manufacturing partner for its battery-powered and hydrogen-powered Dachs pickup truck.

Nikola stock rose nearly 18% to close at $ 43.18 in Nasdaq trading on Monday.