J.B. Hunt Transport is ordering 13 battery-electric and hydrogen-powered fuel cell trucks from Nikola. The purchase boosts the startup’s prospects in a critical week for the company.

The 10 battery electric trucks help Nikola reduce inventory. The hydrogen-powered fuel cell truck order allows Nikola to grow its order book for the zero-emission trucks. 

Company shares (NASDAQ: NKLA) rose about 16% intraday to $2.64 a share. As recently as June 6, shares traded below $1 and Nikola faced the threat of being delisted from the Nasdaq.

For Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT), the purchase helps meet its sustainability goals by adding more zero-tailpipe and fully zero emissions trucks to its fleet. Unlike other fuel cell truck customers, Hunt had sufficient exposure to the hydrogen-powered trucks to skip testing.

Nikola Tre BEV deliveries begin in August

Deliveries begin in August from Nikola’s inventory of battery-electric Tres. The number of unsold trucks stood at 152 at the end of the first quarter in March. Nikola reports its second-quarter financials on Friday.

The trucks with nine battery packs can cover up to 300 miles on a single electric charge.

“It’s important for us to be at the forefront of new technologies and innovative solutions that have the potential to change the way we move freight,” Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer and president of J.B. Hunt contract services, said in a news release.

The Lowell, Arkansas-based Hunt set a goal in November 2022 of reducing its carbon emission intensity 32% by 2034 compared with 2019.

Hunt will use the trucks to service routes in the greater Los Angeles and Phoenix areas. Nikola’s hydrogen arm, HYLA, will supply the hydrogen and fueling infrastructure for the fuel cell electric trucks. They go into production this quarter.

Nikola has a big week ahead

On Tuesday, a regulation change goes into effect in Delaware that clears the way for Nikola to double the number of its authorized shares. Selling some of those shares will help pay overdue interest on a $200 million hedge fund loan. It will also bolster Nikola’s flagging balance sheet until it books revenue from fuel cell truck sales to more than a dozen customers.

Nikola will announce the final vote on the share increase proposal on Thursday after adjourning its virtual annual meeting twice because it did not have enough votes to pass the measure when a higher threshold was required.

The company has said it already has sufficient votes to pass the proposal under the new regulation, which requires a simple majority of proxies voting in favor of the share increase. Previously, it needed 50% plus one of all outstanding shares to pass.

Related articles:

Nikola clear to increase share count, thanks to Delaware rule change

Nikola cashes out of European JV and refocuses on fuel cells at home

Electric truck maker still trying to raise share count but proxies may not be needed

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

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