Nikola Motor Company: 7 things to know about the rising Tesla competitor

By Zlati Meyer

When it comes to electric vehicles, you might feel it’s “Tesla, Tesla, Tesla” (said in your best Jan Brady voice), but the iconic car company will have to share the road—and the person it’s named after—with a competitor of growing interest to investors and the press.

Say hello to Nikola Motor, which drove the stock market crazy on Monday, more than doubling its per-share price. Now, it’s $77.96 in early-afternoon trading.

Here’s what you need to know about the company:

    The newest Nasdaq business makes battery-electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and hydrogen fueling station infrastructure.

    It went public last Thursday. The ticker symbol is NKLA.

    Its IPO isn’t what excited investors. Rather, tweets by founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton on Sunday and Monday about the sign-up list for the company’s new Badger pickup truck is what got the stock moving. Nikola is already known for its tractor-trailer trucks.

    The Badger has an estimated range of 600 miles, according to the company. Heavy D from the Discovery Channel’s reality TV show Diesel Brothers is working with Nikola on design, construction, and testing. Tesla’s electric truck, called the Cybertruck, was announced in November.

    The IPO stemmed from its merger with VectoIQ, described by Nikola as “a special purpose acquisition company formed for the purpose of acquiring a business.” Nikola agreed to the deal as a way to get capital. VectoIQ knows the automotive industry; its managing partner is Steve Girsky, General Motors’ former vice-chairman.

    The company is named for Nikola Tesla, the inventor best known for his work with alternating current.

    Nikola was founded in 2015 and is currently based in Phoenix.

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