Former CEO, company founder and major shareholder (with an estimated 20 per cent of the company still owned) Trevor Milton has been charged with making “misleading, false statements directly to the investing public” via social media and television, print and podcast interviews, according to an SEC investigation. A court has frozen assets worth US$ 100 million belonging to Trevor Milton. However, the company has nothing to do with it. Construction work at the Coolidge plant is progressing according to plan. In parallel, there were various cooperation agreements with distributors as well as service points for repairs – now already 116. In addition, Nikola is expanding the sector of consumables – electricity supply contracts for battery-electric trucks as well as for the in-house production of hydrogen. The H2 infrastructure is being built in parallel.
With US$ 5 billion in the bank, Plug can position itself perfectly in the hydrogen and fuel cell theme complex. This includes its own H2 production as well as the development of alliances, such as the most recent one with Renault. And it is advisable – in my opinion – to reduce the one-sided focus on the market for forklift trucks (material handling), since the major manufacturers such as Toyota and Kion are pursuing their own hydrogen strategy in the future and the devices of future generations will already have a fuel cell system included, so that the conversion or expansion of a battery is not necessary.
The second quarter of this year was a very good one for Tesla, with 201,250 electric cars delivered – a record. On the other hand, more and more comments are appearing that the quality of the vehicles leaves much to be desired. In addition, the market share of this frontrunner in battery-electric mobility is falling massively. In Europe, it is only about 5 per cent in the last quarter (but 13 per cent in China), because companies like VW are gaining a lot of ground and other manufacturers are constantly launching new models. Tesla will certainly find answers, such as a low-cost variant, Model 2, which according to media reports could make its début in 2022.
Nowadays, Tesla [Nasdaq: TSLA] is largely making headlines not for of its financials but for the tweets of its charismatic chief executive, Elon Musk. His thoughts on cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and doge coin, which, depending on the time of day, he says are a really good or a really bad deal, can dominate whole news cycles. Someone recently brought up the huge amounts of energy needed to mine them. As it turns out, the process uses non-renewable sources of energy, which could end up reflecting badly on the image of battery-electric cars as well. In response, Musk said he will rethink his position on bitcoin, which helped cause the cryptocurrency’s price to plunge from over USD 60,000 to USD 30,000. One might wonder what his behavior did to Tesla’s own USD 1.5 billion bitcoin investment.
That Tesla chief Elon Musk would, one way or another, place his trust in Bitcoin was to be expected. He had already stated his interest and his enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency many times in the past and had previously considered switching the whole of his corporate financing to this digital money format. Words turned to action, with Tesla investing USD 1.5 billion in bitcoins.
The hammer fell on Nov. 30, 2020. General Motors will not buy into Nikola. But according to the new memorandum of understanding, GM still wants to work with Nikola on battery and fuel cell technology. Consequently, the Badger pickup truck will not emerge from GM’s assembly line as planned. And the originally projected USD 2 billion investment is also rendered moot. As a result, Nikola stock plummeted.
It may seem contradictory, since joining an important market index is a very good thing, requiring funds to adjust their holdings. In Tesla’s case, I see at least USD 8 billion would have to be invested through them. I tend to doubt this will automatically lead to a massive increase in valuation. Index funds may already have positions based on a variety of investment vehicles, such as options that can be turned into shares without any relevant influence on the price. Perhaps out of pure contrariness, the stock could turn sour when things are looking their best because analysts, investors and the media see only rising prices, completely ignoring the risks.
Fuel cell and hydrogen stocks are riding a wave of popularity as a new megatrend sweeps the market. So far, every single one of these stocks has exceeded expectations. But how long will the love affair between investors and the industry last? Will analysts and shareholders use new methods to evaluate business models, prospects, backlogs, submarkets and revenues, and, above all, the potential for profit? And will the market separate the wheat from the chaff? I’d say yes, that will definitely happen.
US manufacturer Nikola is the company currently making the most waves in the nascent hydrogen market, emerging as another success story similar to Tesla‘s. Its critics, however, consider the Phoenix-based would-be truck maker to be just as overrated as its competitor from Fremont, as it has yet to deliver on most of its promises.
What for ups and downs Tesla has seen. High-volume trading each day prior to the 5-1 split pushed the price to more than USD 2,200 – at the beginning of this year, it was below USD 400. A USD 420 billion market cap for what exactly?