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Nikola electric garbage truck deal with Republic Services turns to trash

Roadshow logo Roadshow 12/23/2020 Chris Paukert
a close up of a truck: Nikola had planned to produce this sleek-looking electric chassis for use in garbage and recycling trucks. Nikola © Provided by Roadshow Nikola had planned to produce this sleek-looking electric chassis for use in garbage and recycling trucks. Nikola

Nikola is closing out a rough 2020 with news that another of its planned vehicles won't see the light of day. The startup zero-emissions vehicle manufacturer had previously announced a deal working with refuse giant Republic Services to build a battery-powered garbage truck, but that EV collaboration is no more.

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According to a statement released by Nikola on Wednesday, "After considerable collaboration and review, both companies determined that the combination of the various new technologies and design concepts would result in longer than expected development time, and unexpected costs. As a result, the program is being terminated resulting in the cancellation of the previously announced vehicle order."

The announcement sent Nikola's already-damaged stock tumbling -- it's down over 10% as of this writing.

Initially announced on Aug. 10, the plan called for Phoenix-based Nikola to deliver 2,500 refuse and recycling trucks to fellow Arizona-based company Republic Services starting in 2023. The trucks were expected to be built on Nikola's Tre heavy-duty battery-electric semi-truck chassis that was first shown in 2019.

Tesla Semi, meet the Nikola Tre -- ready for production next year

a bridge over a body of water: The Nikola Tre is going to production, thanks to a partnership with CNH Industrial.

The Nikola Tre is going to production, thanks to a partnership with CNH Industrial.
© Provided by Roadshow

The deal had been hailed as "the industry's first large-scale commitment to fleet electrification." At that time, Nikola's stock price and fortunes were riding high. Today, the picture for the company is different, with Nikola having ousted its founder and chairman, Trevor Milton in disgrace amidst fraud accusations. That development was followed by a dramatic scaling-back of the company's deal with General Motors in November. That episode resulted in the cancelation of Nikola's planned Badger electric pickup truck, as well as GM nixing its planned equity stake in Nikola.

a close up of a truck: Nikola had planned to produce this sleek-looking electric chassis for use in garbage and recycling trucks. © Nikola

Nikola had planned to produce this sleek-looking electric chassis for use in garbage and recycling trucks.

As part of the Wednesday announcement, Nikola reaffirmed plans to deliver its first Tre battery-electric semi trucks in 2021, as well as plans to break ground on the company's first hydrogen station in 2021. The company plans to offer hydrogen fuel-cell-based electric semis from 2023.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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