Filed: 7 May 21, 9:03am
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the quarterly period ended March 31, 2021
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 001-38495
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(I.R.S. Employer|
|4141 E Broadway Road|
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(Zip Code)|
|(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)|
|(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of Each Class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common stock, $0.0001 par value per share||NKLA||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has ﬁled all reports required to be ﬁled by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to ﬁle such reports), and (2) has been subject to such ﬁling requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such ﬁles). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company”, and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:
|Large accelerated filer||☒||Accelerated filer||☐|
|Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
As of May 4, 2021, there were 393,848,491 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|Summary Risk Factors|
|PART I - FINANCIAL INFORMATION|
|Item 1.||Financial Statements|
|PART II - OTHER INFORMATION|
Summary Risk Factors
Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that could affect our ability to successfully implement our business strategy and affect our financial results. You should carefully consider all of the information in this report and, in particular, the following principal risks and all of the other specific factors described in Item 1A. of this report, “Risk Factors,” before deciding whether to invest in our company.
•We are an early stage company with a history of losses, and expect to incur significant expenses and continuing losses for the foreseeable future.
•We may be unable to adequately control the costs associated with our operations.
•Our business model has yet to be tested and any failure to commercialize our strategic plans would have an adverse effect on our operating results and business, harm our reputation and could result in substantial liabilities that exceed our resources.
•Our limited operating history makes evaluating our business and future prospects difficult and may increase the risk of your investment.
•We will need to raise additional funds and these funds may not be available to us when we need them. If we cannot raise additional funds when we need them, our operations and prospects could be negatively affected.
•If we fail to manage our future growth effectively, we may not be able to market and sell our vehicles successfully.
•Our bundled lease model may present unique problems that may have an adverse effect on our operating results and business and harm our reputation.
•We may face legal challenges in one or more states attempting to sell directly to customers which could materially adversely affect our costs.
•We face risks and uncertainties related to litigation, regulatory actions and government investigations and inquiries.
•Our success will depend on our ability to economically manufacture our trucks at scale and build our hydrogen fueling stations to meet our customers’ business needs, and our ability to develop and manufacture trucks of sufficient quality and appeal to customers on schedule and at scale is unproven.
•We may experience significant delays in the design, manufacture, launch and financing of our trucks, including in the build out of our manufacturing plant, which could harm our business and prospects.
PART I - FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Item 1. Financial Statements
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except share and per share data)
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||763,750||$||840,913|
|Restricted cash and cash equivalents||0||4,365|
|Prepaid in-kind services||33,375||46,271|
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||7,270||5,368|
|Total current assets||804,395||896,917|
|Restricted cash and cash equivalents||0||4,000|
|Property, plant and equipment, net||123,422||71,401|
|Intangible assets, net||50,000||50,050|
|Investment in affiliate||7,312||8,420|
|Liabilities and stockholders' equity|
|Accrued expenses and other current liabilities||30,144||18,809|
|Term note, current||0||4,100|
|Total current liabilities||70,971||52,273|
|Finance lease liabilities||13,671||13,956|
|Deferred tax liabilities, net||9||8|
|Commitments and contingencies (Note 12)||0||0|
|Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value, 150,000,000 shares authorized, 0 shares issued and outstanding as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020||0||0|
|Common stock, $0.0001 par value, 600,000,000 shares authorized, 393,745,157 and 391,041,347 shares issued and outstanding as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively||39||39|
|Additional paid-in capital||1,592,716||1,540,037|
|Other comprehensive income (loss)||(74)||239|
|Total stockholders' equity||912,283||980,141|
|Total liabilities and stockholders' equity||$||1,003,318||$||1,053,713|
See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In thousands, except share and per share data)
|Three Months Ended|
|Cost of solar revenues||0||43|
|Research and development||55,163||24,077|
|Selling, general, and administrative||65,427||7,935|
|Total operating expenses||120,590||32,012|
|Loss from operations||(120,590)||(31,997)|
|Other income (expense):|
|Interest income (expense), net||(9)||62|
|Loss on forward contract liability||0||(1,324)|
|Revaluation of warrant liability||951||0|
|Other income, net||219||114|
|Loss before income taxes and equity in net loss of affiliate||(119,429)||(33,145)|
|Income tax expense||1||1|
|Loss before equity in net loss of affiliate||(119,430)||(33,146)|
|Equity in net loss of affiliate||(794)||0|
|Net loss per share:|
|Weighted-average shares outstanding:|
See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE LOSS
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Other comprehensive loss:|
|Foreign currency translation adjustment, net of tax||(313)||0|
See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
(In thousands, except share data)
|Three Months Ended March 31, 2021|
|Common Stock||Additional Paid-in|
|Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss)||Total Stockholders' Equity|
|Balance as of December 31, 2020||391,041,347||$||39||$||1,540,037||$||(560,174)||$||239||$||980,141|
|Exercise of stock options||1,896,667||—||2,413||—||—||2,413|
|Issuance of shares for RSU awards||807,143||—||—||—||—||—|
|Other comprehensive loss||—||—||—||—||(313)||(313)|
|Balance as of March 31, 2021||393,745,157||$||39||$||1,592,716||$||(680,398)||$||(74)||$||912,283|
|Three Months Ended March 31, 2020|
|Redeemable Convertible Preferred Stock||Common Stock||Additional Paid-in|
|Balance as of December 31, 2019||82,297,742||$||383,987||60,167,334||$||1||$||0||$||(188,480)||$||(188,479)|
|Retroactive application of recapitalization||(82,297,742)||(383,987)||210,658,758||26||383,961||0||383,987|
|Adjusted balance, beginning of period||0||0||270,826,092||27||383,961||(188,480)||195,508|
Issuance of Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock, net of $2,651 issuance costs (1)
Issuance of Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock for in-kind contribution (1)
|Exercise of stock options||—||—||1,224||—||2||—||2|
Cumulative effect of ASU 2016-02 adoption
|Balance as of March 31, 2020||0||$||0||274,245,640||$||27||$||415,953||$||(222,454)||$||193,526|
See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.
(1) Issuance of Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock has been retroactively restated to give effect to the recapitalization transaction.
See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Cash flows from operating activities|
|Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used in operating activities:|
|Depreciation and amortization||1,805||1,408|
|Deferred income taxes||1||1|
|Non-cash in-kind services||12,896||6,731|
|Loss on forward contract liability||0||1,324|
|Equity in net loss of affiliate||794||0|
|Revaluation of warrant liability||(951)||0|
|Changes in operating assets and liabilities:|
|Accounts receivable, net||0||323|
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||(1,758)||314|
|Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities||2,083||(156)|
|Other long-term liabilities||0||(9)|
|Net cash used in operating activities||(59,249)||(21,897)|
|Cash flows from investing activities|
|Purchases and deposits of property, plant and equipment||(24,521)||(1,439)|
|Net cash used in investing activities||(24,521)||(1,439)|
|Cash flows from financing activities|
|Proceeds from issuance of Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock, net of issuance costs paid||0||12,963|
|Business Combination and PIPE financing, net of issuance costs paid||0||(394)|
|Proceeds from the exercise of stock options||2,626||2|
|Proceeds from landlord of finance lease||0||889|
|Payments on finance lease liability||(258)||(309)|
|Payment of note payable||(4,100)||0|
|Payments for issuance costs||(26)||0|
|Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities||(1,758)||13,151|
|Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash||(85,528)||(10,185)|
|Cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, beginning of period||849,278||89,832|
|Cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, end of period||$||763,750||$||79,647|
|Supplementary cash flow disclosures:|
|Cash paid for interest||$||187||$||282|
|Cash interest received||$||259||$||310|
|Supplementary disclosures for noncash investing and financing activities:|
|Purchases of property, plant and equipment included in liabilities||$||27,108||$||3,584|
|Accrued deferred issuance costs||$||330||$||0|
|Accrued Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock issuance costs||$||0||$||6,868|
|Non-cash prepaid in-kind services||$||0||$||13,269|
|Accrued Business Combination and PIPE transaction costs||$||0||$||4,263|
See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
1.BASIS OF PRESENTATION
Nikola Corporation (‘‘Nikola’’ or the ‘‘Company’’) is a designer and manufacturer of heavy-duty commercial battery electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles and energy infrastructure solutions.
On June 3, 2020 (the "Closing Date"), VectoIQ Acquisition Corp. ("VectoIQ"), consummated the previously announced merger pursuant to the Business Combination Agreement, dated March 2, 2020 (the "Business Combination Agreement"), by and among the VectoIQ, VCTIQ Merger Sub Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of VectoIQ incorporated in the State of Delaware ("Merger Sub"), and Nikola Corporation, a Delaware corporation ("Legacy Nikola"). Pursuant to the terms of the Business Combination Agreement, a business combination between the Company and Legacy Nikola was effected through the merger of Merger Sub with and into Legacy Nikola, with Legacy Nikola surviving as the surviving company and as a wholly-owned subsidiary of VectoIQ (the "Business Combination").
On the Closing Date, and in connection with the closing of the Business Combination, VectoIQ changed its name to Nikola Corporation. Legacy Nikola was deemed the accounting acquirer in the Business Combination based on an analysis of the criteria outlined in Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 805. This determination was primarily based on Legacy Nikola's stockholders prior to the Business Combination having a majority of the voting interests in the combined company, Legacy Nikola's operations comprising the ongoing operations of the combined company, Legacy Nikola's board of directors comprising a majority of the board of directors of the combined company, and Legacy Nikola's senior management comprising the senior management of the combined company. Accordingly, for accounting purposes, the Business Combination was treated as the equivalent of Legacy Nikola issuing stock for the net assets of VectoIQ, accompanied by a recapitalization. The net assets of VectoIQ are stated at historical cost, with no goodwill or other intangible assets recorded.
While VectoIQ was the legal acquirer in the Business Combination, because Legacy Nikola was deemed the accounting acquirer, the historical financial statements of Legacy Nikola became the historical financial statements of the combined company, upon the consummation of the Business Combination. As a result, the financial statements included in this report reflect (i) the historical operating results of Legacy Nikola prior to the Business Combination; (ii) the combined results of the Company and Legacy Nikola following the closing of the Business Combination; (iii) the assets and liabilities of Legacy Nikola at their historical cost; and (iv) the Company’s equity structure for all periods presented.
In accordance with guidance applicable to these circumstances, the equity structure has been restated in all comparative periods up to the Closing Date, to reflect the number of shares of the Company's common stock, $0.0001 par value per share issued to Legacy Nikola's stockholders in connection with the recapitalization transaction. As such, the shares and corresponding capital amounts and earnings per share related to Legacy Nikola redeemable convertible preferred stock and Legacy Nikola common stock prior to the Business Combination have been retroactively restated as shares reflecting the exchange ratio established in the Business Combination Agreement. Activity within the statement of stockholders' equity for the issuances and repurchases of Legacy Nikola's redeemable convertible preferred stock, were also retroactively converted to Legacy Nikola common stock.
(b)Unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements
The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) and pursuant to the regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The unaudited financial information reflects, in the opinion of management, all adjustments, consisting of normal recurring adjustments, considered necessary for a fair statement of the Company's financial position, results of operations and cash flows for the periods indicated. The results reported for the interim period presented are not necessarily indicative of results that may be expected for the full year. These consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto for the year ended December 31, 2020 included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Certain prior period balances were conformed to the restated financial statements, as previously disclosed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020, due to the accounting for warrant liabilities.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly-owned subsidiaries. Intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated.
Certain prior period balances have been reclassified to conform to the current period presentation in the consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes.
All dollar amounts are in thousands, unless otherwise noted. Share and per share amounts are presented on a post-conversion basis for all periods presented, unless otherwise specified.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect certain reported amounts and disclosures. Accordingly, actual results could differ from those estimates.
(c)Funding Risks and Going Concern
As an early stage growth company, Nikola’s ability to access capital is critical. Until the Company can generate sufficient revenue to cover its operating expenses, working capital and capital expenditures, the Company will need to raise additional capital.
Additional stock financing may not be available on favorable terms and could be dilutive to current stockholders. Debt financing, if available, may involve restrictive covenants and dilutive financing instruments.
The Company’s ability to access capital when needed is not assured and, if capital is not available to the Company when, and in the amounts needed, the Company could be required to delay, scale back, or abandon some or all of its development programs and other operations, which could materially harm the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
These financial statements have been prepared by management in accordance with GAAP and this basis assumes that the Company will continue as a going concern, which contemplates the realization of assets and the satisfaction of liabilities and commitments in the normal course of business. These financial statements do not include any adjustments that may result from the outcome of this uncertainty.
As of the date of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, the Company’s existing cash resources and existing borrowing availability are sufficient to support planned operations for the next 12 months. As a result, management believes that the Company's existing financial resources are sufficient to continue operating activities for at least one year past the issuance date of the financial statements.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
2.SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
(a)Cash, Cash Equivalents and Restricted Cash and Cash Equivalents
The Company considers all highly liquid investments purchased with a remaining maturity of three months or less to be cash equivalents. Additionally, the Company considers investments in money market funds with a floating net asset value to be cash equivalents. As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company had $763.8 million and $840.9 million of cash and cash equivalents, which included cash equivalents of $747.1 million and $827.1 million of highly liquid investments at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively.
As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company had 0 and $4.1 million, respectively, in an escrow account related to the securitization of the term loan with JP Morgan Chase included in restricted cash and cash equivalents. The term loan was repaid by the Company during the first quarter of 2021. Additionally, as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company had 0 and $4.0 million, respectively, included in non-current restricted cash and cash equivalents for the required deposit to Pinal Land Holdings, LLC ("PLH"), which was deposited in escrow during the first quarter of 2021 pursuant to the terms of the land conveyance agreement. Further, as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company had 0 and $0.3 million, respectively, in refundable customer deposits included in current restricted cash and cash equivalents.
The reconciliation of cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash and cash equivalents to amounts presented in the consolidated statements of cash flows are as follows:
|March 31, 2021||December 31, 2020||March 31, 2020||December 31, 2019|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||763,750||$||840,913||$||75,515||$||85,688|
|Restricted cash and cash equivalents – current||0||4,365||4,132||0|
|Restricted cash and cash equivalents – non-current||0||4,000||0||4,144|
|Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash and cash equivalents||$||763,750||$||849,278||$||79,647||$||89,832|
(b)Fair Value of Financial Instruments
The carrying value and fair value of the Company’s financial instruments are as follows:
|As of March 31, 2021|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Total|
|Cash equivalents – money market||$||747,078||$||0||$||0||$||747,078|
|As of December 31, 2020|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Total|
|Cash equivalents – money market||$||827,118||$||0||$||0||$||827,118|
|Restricted cash equivalents – money market||4,100||0||0||4,100|
In September 2019, Legacy Nikola entered into an agreement that required Legacy Nikola to issue, and the investor to purchase, Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock at a fixed price in April 2020 (the “Forward Contract Liability”),
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
which was accounted for as a liability. The Forward Contract Liability was remeasured to its fair value each reporting period resulting in the recognition of a $1.3 million loss in other income (expense) on the consolidated statements of operations during the first quarter of 2020. The Forward Contract Liability was settled in April 2020 with the issuance of Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock.
In determining the fair value of the Forward Contract Liability, estimates and assumptions impacting fair value included the estimated future value of the Company's Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock, discount rates and estimated time to liquidity. The following reflects the significant quantitative inputs used:
|As of March 31, 2020|
|Estimated future value of Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock||$||10.00|
|Time to liquidity (years)||0.03|
As a result of the Business Combination, the Company assumed a warrant liability (the "Warrant Liability") related to previously issued private warrants in connection with VectoIQ's initial public offering. The Warrant Liability was remeasured to its fair value at each reporting period and upon settlement. The change in fair value was recognized in revaluation of warrant liability on the consolidated statements of operations. The change in fair value of the Warrant Liability was as follows:
|Estimated fair value at December 31, 2020||7,335|
|Change in fair value||(951)|
|Estimated fair value at March 31, 2021||6,384|
The fair value of the warrants outstanding was estimated using the Black-Scholes model. The application of the Black-Scholes model requires the use of a number of inputs and significant assumptions including volatility. The following reflects the inputs and assumptions used:
|March 31, 2021||December 31, 2020|
|Remaining term (in years)||4.18||4.42|
|Expected dividend yield||0||%||0||%|
(c)Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Recently issued accounting pronouncements not yet adopted
There have been no recently issued accounting pronouncements or changes in accounting pronouncements not yet adopted that are applicable or material to the Company as of March 31, 2021.
Recently adopted accounting pronouncements
In December 2020, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued ASU 2019-12, Income Taxes (Topic 740): Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes, which is intended to simplify various aspects related to accounting for income taxes. The pronouncement is effective for fiscal years, and for interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
December 15, 2020, with early adoption permitted. We adopted the ASU on January 1, 2021 and it did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.
In August 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-06, which simplifies the guidance on the issuer's accounting for convertible debt instruments by removing the separation models for (1) convertible debt with a cash conversion feature and (2) convertible instruments with a beneficial conversion feature. As a result, entities will not separately present in equity an embedded conversion feature in such debt and will account for convertible debt instruments wholly as debt, unless certain other conditions are met. The elimination of these models will reduce reported interest expense and increase reported net income for entities that have issued a convertible instrument that is within the scope of ASU 2020-06. ASU 2020-06 requires the application of the if-converted method for calculating diluted earnings per share. The treasury method will no longer be available. The guidance is effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2021, and interim periods within those fiscal years, with early adoption permitted, but only at the beginning of the year. The Company early adopted the new guidance effective January 1, 2021. There was no impact to the Company's consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2021 as a result of the adoption.
In January 2020, the FASB issued ASU No. 2020-01, Investments – Equity Securities (Topic 321), Investments - Equity Method and Joint Ventures (Topic 323), and Derivative and Hedging (Topic 815), which addresses accounting for the transition into and out of the equity method and provides clarification of the interaction of rules for equity securities, the equity method of accounting, and forward contracts and purchase options on certain types of securities. ASU 2020-01 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020, and interim periods within those fiscal years. We adopted the ASU on January 1, 2021 and it did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.
3. BUSINESS COMBINATION
On June 3, 2020, the Company and VectoIQ consummated the merger contemplated by the Business Combination Agreement, with Legacy Nikola surviving the merger as a wholly-owned subsidiary of VectoIQ. Immediately prior to the closing of the Business Combination, all shares of outstanding redeemable convertible preferred stock of Legacy Nikola were automatically converted into shares of Legacy Nikola common stock. Upon the consummation of the Business Combination, each share of Legacy Nikola common stock issued and outstanding was canceled and converted into the right to receive 1.901 shares (the "Exchange Ratio") of the Company's common stock (the "Per Share Merger Consideration").
Upon the closing of the Business Combination, VectoIQ's certificate of incorporation was amended and restated to, among other things, increase the total number of authorized shares of all classes of capital stock to 750,000,000 shares, of which 600,000,000 shares were designated common stock, $0.0001 par value per share, and of which 150,000,000 shares were designated preferred stock, $0.0001 par value per share.
In connection with the execution of the Business Combination Agreement, VectoIQ entered into separate subscription agreements (each, a "Subscription Agreement") with a number of investors (each a "Subscriber"), pursuant to which the Subscribers agreed to purchase, and VectoIQ agreed to sell to the Subscribers, an aggregate of 52,500,000 shares of the Company's common stock (the "PIPE Shares"), for a purchase price of $10.00 per share and an aggregate purchase price of $525.0 million, in a private placement pursuant to the subscription agreements (the "PIPE"). The PIPE investment closed simultaneously with the consummation of the Business Combination.
Prior to the closing of the Business Combination, Legacy Nikola repurchased 2,850,930 shares of Legacy Nikola's Series B redeemable convertible preferred stock at the price of $8.77 per share for an aggregate purchase price of $25.0 million pursuant to a Series B preferred stock repurchase agreement (the "Repurchase Agreement") with Nimbus Holdings LLC ("Nimbus"). The repurchase is retrospectively adjusted in the statement of stockholders' equity to reflect the Company’s equity structure for all periods presented.
Immediately following the Business Combination, pursuant to a redemption agreement, Nikola redeemed 7,000,000 shares of common stock from M&M Residual, LLC ("M&M Residual") at a purchase price of $10.00 per share. See Note 7 “Related Party Transactions” for further details on the transaction.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The Business Combination is accounted for as a reverse recapitalization in accordance with GAAP. Under this method of accounting, VectoIQ was treated as the "acquired" company for financial reporting purposes. See Note 1 "Basis of Presentation" for further details. Accordingly, for accounting purposes, the Business Combination was treated as the equivalent of Nikola issuing stock for the net assets of VectoIQ, accompanied by a recapitalization. The net assets of VectoIQ are stated at historical cost, with no goodwill or other intangible assets recorded.
Prior to the Business Combination, Legacy Nikola and VectoIQ filed separate standalone federal, state and local income tax returns. As a result of the Business Combination, structured as a reverse acquisition for tax purposes, Legacy Nikola, which was renamed Nikola Subsidiary Corporation in connection with the Business Combination (f/k/a Nikola Corporation), became the parent of the consolidated tax filing group, with Nikola Corporation (f/k/a VectoIQ Acquisition Corp.) as a subsidiary.
The number of shares of common stock issued immediately following the consummation of the Business Combination:
|Number of Shares|
|Common stock, outstanding prior to Business Combination||22,986,574|
|Less: redemption of VectoIQ shares||(2,702)|
|Common stock of VectoIQ||22,983,872|
|VectoIQ Founder Shares||6,640,000|
|Shares issued in PIPE||52,500,000|
|Less: M&M Residual redemption||(7,000,000)|
|Less: Nimbus repurchase||(2,850,930)|
|Business Combination and PIPE financing shares||72,272,942|
Legacy Nikola shares (1)
|Total shares of common stock immediately after Business Combination||360,904,478|
(1) The number of Legacy Nikola shares was determined from the 151,831,441 shares of Legacy Nikola common stock outstanding immediately prior to the closing of the Business Combination converted at the Exchange Ratio of 1.901. All fractional shares were rounded down.
4.BALANCE SHEET COMPONENTS
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, plant and equipment consist of the following at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020:
|March 31, 2021||December 31, 2020|
|Machinery and equipment||$||14,957||$||14,820|
|Furniture and fixtures||1,480||1,480|
|Finance lease asset||34,775||34,775|
|Property, plant and equipment, gross||133,592||79,816|
|Less: accumulated depreciation and amortization||(10,170)||(8,415)|
|Total property, plant and equipment, net||$||123,422||$||71,401|
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Depreciation expense for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 was $1.8 million and $1.4 million, respectively.
Accrued Expenses and Other Current Liabilities
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities consisted of the following at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020:
|March 31, 2021||December 31, 2020|
|Accrued payroll and payroll related expenses||$||8,149||$||1,105|
|Accrued stock issuance||615||285|
|Accrued outsourced engineering services||4,058||2,514|
|Accrued purchases of property, plant and equipment||4,310||2,533|
|Accrued legal expenses||9,813||8,845|
|Other accrued liabilities||2,102||2,457|
|Current portion of finance lease liability||1,097||1,070|
|Total accrued expenses and other current liabilities||$||30,144||$||18,809|
5.INTANGIBLE ASSETS, NET
The gross carrying amount and accumulated amortization of separately identifiable intangible assets are as follows:
|As of March 31, 2021|
|Total intangible assets||$||50,150||$||(150)||$||50,000|
|As of December 31, 2020|
|Total intangible assets||$||50,150||$||(100)||$||50,050|
Amortization expense for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 was immaterial. The Company will begin amortization of the $50.0 million intellectual property license for the S-WAY platform obtained from Iveco (see Note 7) at the start of production. As of March 31, 2021, production has not commenced.
In April 2020, the Company and Iveco entered into a series of agreements which established a joint venture in Europe, Nikola Iveco Europe B.V. All assets and liabilities of Nikola Iveco Europe B.V. were transferred to Nikola Iveco Europe GmbH during the third quarter of 2020. The operations of the joint venture are located in Ulm, Germany, and consist of manufacturing the battery-electric ("BEV") and fuel cell electric ("FCEV") Class 8 trucks for the European market, as well as for the North American market while the Company's greenfield manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona, is being completed.
The agreements provide for a 50/50 ownership of the joint venture and a 50/50 allocation of the joint venture's production volumes and profits between Nikola and Iveco. Both parties are entitled to appoint an equal number of members to the shareholders' committee of the joint venture. Pursuant to the terms of the agreements, the Company and Iveco each
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
contributed intellectual property licenses to their respective technology. During 2020, the Company contributed $8.8 million for a 50% interest in the joint venture, in accordance with the amended contribution agreement. The intellectual property licenses contributed to the joint venture by Nikola are related to intellectual property related to Nikola-developed BEV and FCEV technology for use in the European market. Iveco contributed to the joint venture a license for the S-WAY technology for use in the European market.
Nikola Iveco Europe GmbH is considered a VIE due to insufficient equity to finance its activities without additional subordinated financial support. The Company is not considered the primary beneficiary as it does not have the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the economic performance based on the terms of the agreements. Accordingly, the VIE is accounted for under the equity method.
As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the carrying amount of the Company's equity interest was $7.3 million and $8.4 million, respectively, and is included in investment in affiliate on the consolidated balance sheets. For three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, the Company recognized a $0.8 million loss and 0, respectively, from the joint venture included in equity in net loss of affiliate on the consolidated statements of operations. The Company does not guarantee debt for, or have other financial support obligations to the entity and its maximum exposure to loss in connection with its continuing involvement with the entity is limited to the carrying value of the investment.
7.RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS
Related Party Aircraft Charter Agreement
In 2019, the Company entered into an aircraft charter arrangement with its former Executive Chairman of the board of directors and Legacy Nikola's former Chief Executive Officer to reimburse him for the flight hours incurred for Company use on his personal aircraft. These flight hours were related to business travel by the former Executive Chairman and other members of the executive team to business meetings and trade conferences, as well as the former Executive Chairman's commute between the Company’s headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, and his residence in Utah. The aircraft charter arrangement was terminated effective October 2020 and there are no such amounts to report subsequent to the termination date. During the three months ended March 31, 2020, the Company recognized expense of $0.2 million for the business use of the aircraft.
Related Party Income
During the three months ended March 31, 2020, the Company recorded an immaterial amount for the provision of solar installation services to the former Executive Chairman, which were billed on a time and materials basis. Solar installation services were terminated effective October 2020 and there are no such amounts to report subsequent to the termination date.
Related Party Redemption of Common Stock
Immediately following the Business Combination, pursuant to a redemption agreement, the Company redeemed 7,000,000 shares of common stock from M&M Residual at a purchase price of $10.00 per share, payable in immediately available funds. The number of shares to be redeemed and the redemption price were determined and agreed upon during negotiations between the various parties to the Business Combination, including the former Executive Chairman and representatives of VectoIQ, Legacy Nikola and the Subscribers.
Former Related Party License and Service Agreements
In September 2019, the Company entered into a Master Industrial Agreement (“CNHI Services Agreement”) and S-WAY Platform and Product Sharing Agreement (“CNHI License Agreement”) with CNH Industrial N.V. ("CNHI") and Iveco S.p.A ("Iveco"), a former related party, in conjunction with the Company’s Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock offering. Under these agreements, CNHI and Iveco were issued 25,661,448 shares of Legacy Nikola Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock in exchange for an intellectual property license valued at $50.0 million, $100.0 million in-kind services and $100.0 million in cash.
During the three months ended March 31, 2020, the Company issued 2,052,917 shares of Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock to Iveco, in exchange for $20.0 million of prepaid in-kind services. During the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, $12.9 million and $6.7 million, respectively, of in-kind services were recognized in research and
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
development on the consolidated statements of operations. As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, $33.4 million and $46.3 million prepaid in-kind services, respectively, were reflected on the consolidated balance sheets.
As of June 3, 2020, Iveco was no longer considered a related party under ASC 850.
Former Related Party Research and Development
During the three months ended March 31, 2020, the Company recorded research and development expenses of $0.9 million from a former related party. As of June 3, 2020, the entity was no longer considered a related party and as a result there are no such amounts to report for the three months ended March 31, 2021.
Former Related Party Stock Repurchase
In March 2020, the Company entered into a letter agreement with Nimbus in which Nimbus agreed to terminate the Nimbus redemption letter agreement dated August 3, 2018. Concurrently, the Company entered into an agreement with Nimbus, whereby the Company agreed to repurchase 2,850,930 shares of Series B preferred stock from Nimbus at a share price of $8.77 for an aggregate repurchase price of $25.0 million. The parties agreed that the repurchase price constituted the price that Nimbus would otherwise be entitled to under the Nimbus redemption letter agreement. The number of shares to be repurchased was negotiated by the Company and Nimbus as a mechanism to compensate Nimbus for agreeing to relinquish its previous redemption rights granted in the Nimbus redemption letter agreement.
The repurchase was contingent on completion of the Business Combination which occurred during the second quarter of 2020 and the Company repurchased the shares in conjunction with the closing of the Business Combination (see Note 3, Business Combination).
As of June 3, 2020, Nimbus was no longer considered a related party.
Debt consisted of a term note of 0 and $4.1 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020.
In January 2018, the Company entered into a term note with JP Morgan Chase, pursuant to which the Company borrowed $4.1 million to fund equipment purchases. The term note accrued interest at 2.43% per annum and was payable on or before January 31, 2019. The term note is secured by restricted cash.
In February 2019, the Company amended the term note to extend its term by one year and increased the interest rate to 3.00% per annum. In February 2020, the Company further amended the term note and extended its term for one year, to January 31, 2021. The term note accrued interest at a rate equal to the LIBOR rate for the applicable interest period multiplied by the statutory reserve rate as determined by the Federal Reserve Board.
During the three months ended March 31, 2021, the Company repaid the $4.1 million term note.
As of March 31, 2021, the Company had a total of 750,000,000 shares authorized for issuance with 600,000,000 shares designated as common stock and 150,000,000 shares designated as preferred stock.
As of March 31, 2021, the Company had 760,915 private warrants outstanding. Each private warrant entitles the registered holder to purchase 1 share of common stock at a price of $11.50 per share, subject to adjustment, at any time
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
commencing 30 days after the completion of the Business Combination. For the three month ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, the Company recorded $0.95 million and 0 for revaluation of warrant liability on the consolidated statements of operations. As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company recorded $6.4 million and $7.3 million, respectively, for warrant liability related to the private warrants outstanding.
The exercise price and number of common stock issuable upon exercise of the private warrants may be adjusted in certain circumstances including in the event of a share dividend, or recapitalization, reorganization, merger or consolidation. However, the private warrants will not be adjusted for issuance of common stock at a price below its exercise price.
10. STOCK BASED COMPENSATION EXPENSE
2017 and 2020 Stock Plans
Legacy Nikola's 2017 Stock Option Plan (the “2017 Plan”) provides for the grant of incentive and nonqualified options to purchase Legacy Nikola common stock to officers, employees, directors, and consultants of Legacy Nikola. Options are granted at a price not less than the fair market value on the date of grant and generally become exercisable between one and four years after the date of grant. Options generally expire ten years from the date of grant. Outstanding awards under the 2017 Plan continue to be subject to the terms and conditions of the 2017 Plan.
Each Legacy Nikola option from the 2017 Plan that was outstanding immediately prior to the Business Combination, whether vested or unvested, was converted into an option to purchase a number of shares of common stock (each such option, an "Exchanged Option") equal to the product (rounded down to the nearest whole number) of (i) the number of shares of Legacy Nikola common stock subject to such Legacy Nikola option immediately prior to the Business Combination and (ii) the Exchange Ratio, at an exercise price per share (rounded up to the nearest whole cent) equal to (A) the exercise price per share of such Legacy Nikola option immediately prior to the consummation of the Business Combination, divided by (B) the Exchange Ratio. Except as specifically provided in the Business Combination Agreement, following the Business Combination, each Exchanged Option will continue to be governed by the same terms and conditions (including vesting and exercisability terms) as were applicable to the corresponding former Legacy Nikola option immediately prior to the consummation of the Business Combination. All stock option activity was retroactively restated to reflect the Exchanged Options.
At the Company's special meeting of stockholders held on June 2, 2020, the stockholders approved the Nikola Corporation 2020 Stock Incentive Plan (the "2020 Plan") and the Nikola Corporation 2020 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (the "2020 ESPP"). The 2020 Plan and the 2020 ESPP were previously approved, subject to stockholder approval, by the Company's board of directors on May 6, 2020. The aggregate number of shares authorized for issuance under the 2020 Plan will not exceed 42,802,865, plus the number of shares subject to outstanding awards as of the closing of the Business Combination under the 2017 Plan that are subsequently forfeited or terminated. The aggregate number of shares available for issuance under the 2020 ESPP is 4,000,000, which may be increased on an annual basis of up to 1.0% of the outstanding shares of common stock as of the first day of each such fiscal year.
The 2020 Plan provides for the grant of incentive and nonqualified stock option, restricted stock units ("RSUs"), restricted share awards, stock appreciation awards, and cash-based awards to employees, outside directors, and consultants of the Company. The 2020 Plan and the 2020 ESPP became effective immediately upon the closing of the Business Combination. No offerings have been authorized to date by the Company's board of directors under the ESPP.
The Company utilizes the Black-Scholes option pricing model for estimating the fair value of options granted. Options vest in accordance with the terms set forth in the grant letter. Time-based options generally vest ratably over a period of approximately 36 months. Changes in stock options are as follows:
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
|Outstanding at December 31, 2020||32,529,224||$||1.28||7.82|
|Outstanding at March 31, 2021||30,599,958||$||1.28||7.52|
|Vested and exercisable as of March 31, 2021||29,622,290||$||1.23||7.49|
The table above includes 5,090,182 outstanding performance based options as of March 31, 2021. The performance-based provision, related to specified amount of equity capital raised, was achieved for all of the outstanding performance-based awards in 2018 and the Company began recognizing expense related to these awards in 2018.
Restricted Stock Units
The fair value of RSUs is based on the closing price of the Company’s common stock on the grant date. The time-based RSUs generally vest semi-annually over a three year period or, in the case of executive officers, cliff-vest following the third anniversary from the date of grant. Certain RSUs awarded to key employees contain performance conditions related to achievement of strategic and operational milestones ("Performance RSUs"). As of March 31, 2021, not all of the performance conditions are probable to be achieved. Compensation expense has only been recognized for those conditions that are assumed to be probable. The Company updates its estimates related to the probability and timing of achievement of the operational milestones each period until the award either vests or is forfeited. In addition, for certain technical engineering employees the awards cliff vest after a three year period or vest on the achievement of certain operational milestones.
The RSUs to directors have a vesting cliff of one year after the grant date. Changes in RSUs are as follows:
|Number of RSUs|
|Balance at December 31, 2020||5,026,531|
|Balance at March 31, 2021||7,041,300|
Market Based RSUs
The fair value of Market Based RSUs was determined using a Monte Carlo simulation model that utilizes significant assumptions, including volatility, that determine the probability of satisfying the market condition stipulated in the award to calculate the fair value of the award. The Market Based RSUs contain a stock price index as a benchmark for vesting. These awards have 3 milestones that each vest depending upon a consecutive 20-trading day stock price target of the Company’s common stock. The shares vested are transferred to the award holders upon the completion of the requisite service period ending June 3, 2023, and upon achievement certification by the Company's board of directors. If the target price for the tranche is not achieved by the end of requisite service period, the Market Based RSUs are forfeited. Changes in Market Based RSUs are as follows:
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
|Number of Market Based RSUs|
|Balance at December 31, 2020||13,317,712|
|Balance at March 31, 2021||13,317,712|
Stock Compensation Expense
The following table presents the impact of stock-based compensation expense on the consolidated statements of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020:
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Research and development||$||10,322||$||359|
|Selling, general, and administrative||39,944||954|
|Total stock-based compensation expense||$||50,266||$||1,313|
As of March 31, 2021, total unrecognized compensation expense was as follows:
|Unrecognized compensation expense|
|Market Based RSUs||254,234|
|Total unrecognized compensation expense at March 31, 2021||$||401,627|
11. INCOME TAXES
To calculate the interim tax provision, at the end of each interim period the Company estimates the annual effective tax rate and applies that to its ordinary quarterly earnings. The effect of changes in the enacted tax laws or rates is recognized in the interim period in which the change occurs. The computation of the annual estimated effective tax rate at each interim period requires certain estimates and judgments including, but not limited to, the expected operating income for the year, projections of the proportion of income earned and taxed in foreign jurisdictions, permanent differences between book and tax amounts, and the likelihood of recovering deferred tax assets generated in the current year. The accounting estimates used to compute the provision for income taxes may change as new events occur, additional information is obtained, or the tax environment changes.
Income tax expense was immaterial for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020.
12. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
The Company is subject to legal and regulatory actions that arise from time to time. The assessment as to whether a loss is probable or reasonably possible, and as to whether such loss or a range of such loss is estimable, often involves significant judgment about future events, and the outcome of litigation is inherently uncertain. Other than as described below, there is no material pending or threatened litigation against the Company that remains outstanding as of March 31, 2021.
Regulatory and Governmental Investigations and Related Internal Review
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
On September 10, 2020, Hindenburg Research LLC reported on certain aspects of the Company’s business and operations. The Company and its board of directors retained Kirkland & Ellis LLP to conduct an internal review in connection with the Hindenburg article (the “Internal Review”), and Kirkland & Ellis promptly contacted the Division of Enforcement of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to make it aware of the commencement of the Internal Review. The Company subsequently learned that the Staff of the Division of Enforcement had previously opened an investigation. On September 14, 2020, the Company and 5 of its officers and employees, including Mark Russell, our Chief Executive Officer, received subpoenas from the Staff of the Division of Enforcement as a part of a fact-finding inquiry related to aspects of the Company’s business as well as certain matters described in the Hindenburg article. The Staff of the Division of Enforcement issued additional subpoenas to another 3 of the Company’s officers and employees, including Kim Brady, the Company's Chief Financial Officer, on September 21, 2020 and to the Company’s current and former directors on September 30, 2020.
The Company and Mr. Milton also received grand jury subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (the “SDNY”) on September 19, 2020. On September 20, 2020, Mr. Milton offered to voluntarily step down from his position as Executive Chairman, as a member of the Company’s board of directors, including all committees thereof, and from all positions as an employee and officer of the Company. The board accepted his resignation and appointed Stephen Girsky as Chairman of the board of directors. The Company subsequently has appointed 3 new board members, Steve Shindler, Bruce Smith and Mary Petrovich.
The Company also received a grand jury subpoena from the N.Y. County District Attorney’s Office on September 21, 2020. On October 16, 2020, the N.Y. County District Attorney’s Office agreed to defer its investigation; it has not withdrawn its subpoena issued to the Company, but has informed the Company that no further productions to it are necessary at this time.
On October 28, 2020, the Company received an information request from The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, seeking an update on the status of the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and SDNY inquiries, which the Company provided.
On March 24, 2021, the Staff of the Division of Enforcement issued an additional subpoena to the Company related to its projected 2021 cash flow and anticipated use of funds from 2021 capital raises.
The Company is committed to cooperating fully with the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY investigations, which are ongoing. As such, the Company's counsel frequently engages with the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY. Further, the Company has made voluminous productions of information and made witnesses available for interviews. The Company will continue to comply with the requests of the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY and expect to make additional productions in the future. The documents and information requested in the subpoenas include materials concerning Mr. Milton’s and the Company’s statements regarding the Company’s business operations and the future of the Company.
As part of the Internal Review, which has been substantially completed, Kirkland & Ellis had full access to Company data, emails and documents for collection and review. No request by Kirkland & Ellis for information from the Company was denied. Kirkland & Ellis was also given access to data contained on personal devices for over three dozen of our employees. Kirkland & Ellis, including with the assistance of contract attorneys, reviewed relevant documents in the legal, investor relations, finance, and human resources areas as well as Company emails from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020, employee text messages, documents found in our data room and other corporate documents. The Internal Review also included targeted interviews of over thirty (30) Company personnel. Additionally, as part of the Internal Review, Kirkland & Ellis retained automotive experts ("Automotive Experts") at a well-known consulting firm to conduct an independent assessment of the current state of our technology development. Refer to Note 14, Commitments and Contingencies, within the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020, for further details.
The legal and other professional costs the Company incurred during the first quarter of 2021 in connection with the Internal Review and disclosed elsewhere in this Report include approximately $3.0 million expensed for Mr. Milton’s attorneys’ fees under his indemnification agreement with the Company. As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 the Company accrued approximately $3.9 million and $6.6 million, respectively, in legal and other professional costs for Mr. Milton's attorneys' fees under his indemnification agreement. The Company expects to incur additional costs associated with the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY investigations and the Internal Review during fiscal year 2021, which will be expensed as incurred and which could be significant in the periods in which they are recorded.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The Company cannot predict the ultimate outcome of the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY investigations, nor can it predict whether any other governmental authorities will initiate separate investigations. The outcome of the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY investigations and any related legal and administrative proceedings could include a wide variety of outcomes, including the institution of administrative, civil injunctive or criminal proceedings involving the Company and/or current or former employees, officers and/or directors, the imposition of fines and other penalties, remedies and/or sanctions, modifications to business practices and compliance programs and/or referral to other governmental agencies for other appropriate actions. It is not possible to accurately predict at this time when matters relating to the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY investigations will be completed, the final outcome of the Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY investigations, what if any actions may be taken by the Staff of the Division of Enforcement, the SDNY or by other governmental agencies, or the effect that such actions may have on our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition, which could be material.
The Staff of the Division of Enforcement and the SDNY investigations, including any matters identified in the Internal Review, could also result in (1) third-party claims against the Company, which may include the assertion of claims for monetary damages, including but not limited to interest, fees, and expenses, (2) damage to the Company's business or reputation, (3) loss of, or adverse effect on, cash flow, assets, goodwill, results of operations, business, prospects, profits or business value, including the possibility of certain of the Company's existing contracts being cancelled, (4) adverse consequences on the Company's ability to obtain or continue financing for current or future projects and/or (5) claims by directors, officers, employees, affiliates, advisors, attorneys, agents, debt holders or other interest holders or constituents of the Company or its subsidiaries, any of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.
Further, to the extent that these investigations and any resulting third-party claims yield adverse results over time, such results could jeopardize the Company's operations and exhaust its cash reserves, and could cause stockholders to lose their entire investment.
Shareholder Securities Litigation
Beginning on September 15, 2020, 6 putative class action lawsuits were filed against the Company and certain of its current and former officers and directors, asserting violations of federal securities laws under Section 10(b) and Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and, in one case, violations of the Unfair Competition Law under California law (the “Shareholder Securities Litigation”). The complaints generally allege that the Company and certain of its officers and directors made false and/or misleading statements in press releases and public filings regarding the Company's business plan and prospects. The actions are: Borteanu v. Nikola Corporation, et al. (Case No. 2:20-cv-01797-JZB), filed by Daniel Borteanu in the United States District Court of the District of Arizona on September 15, 2020; Salem v. Nikola Corporation, et al. (Case No. 1:20-cv-04354), filed by Arab Salem in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on September 16, 2020; Wojichowski v. Nikola Corporation, et al. (Case No. 2:20-cv-01819-DLR), filed by John Wojichowski in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona on September 17, 2020; Malo v. Nikola Corporation, et al. (Case No. 5:20-cv-02168), filed by Douglas Malo in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on October 16, 2020; and Holzmacher, et al. v. Nikola Corporation, et al. (Case No. 2:20-cv-2123-JJT), filed by Albert Holzmacher, Michael Wood and Tate Wood in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona on November 3, 2020, and Eves v. Nikola Corporation, et al. (Case No. 2:20-cv-02168-DLR), filed by William Eves in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona on November 10, 2020. In October 2020, stipulations by and among the parties to extend the time for the defendants to respond to the complaints until a lead plaintiff, lead counsel, and an operative complaint are identified were entered as orders in certain of the filed actions. On November 16, 2020 and December 8, 2020 respectively, orders in the Malo and Salem actions were entered to transfer the actions to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
On November 16, 2020, 10 motions both to consolidate the pending securities actions and to be appointed as lead plaintiff were filed by putative class members. On December 15, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona consolidated the actions under lead case Borteanu v. Nikola Corporation, et al., No. CV-20-01797-PXL-SPL, and appointed Angelo Baio as the “Lead Plaintiff”. On December 23, 2020, a motion for reconsideration of the Court’s order appointing the Lead Plaintiff was filed. On December 30, 2020, a petition for writ of mandamus seeking to vacate the District Court’s Lead Plaintiff order and directing the court to appoint another Lead Plaintiff was filed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Case No. 20-73819. The motion for reconsideration was denied on February 18, 2021. The mandamus petition remains pending before the Ninth Circuit, and oral argument is scheduled for June 18, 2021.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
On January 28, 2021, the district court entered a scheduling order in the consolidated lawsuit. On March 2, 2021, pursuant to a stipulation jointly submitted by the parties, the district court vacated that scheduling order and stayed the securities action pending disposition of the pending mandamus petition.
Plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount in damages, attorneys’ fees, and other relief. The Company intends to vigorously defend itself. The Company is unable to estimate the potential loss or range of loss, if any, associated with these lawsuits, which could be material.
Beginning on September 23, 2020, 2 purported shareholder derivative actions were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware (Byun v. Milton, et al., Case No. 1:20-cv-01277-UNA; Salguocar v. Girsky et. al., Case No. 1:20-cv-01404-UNA), purportedly on behalf of the Company, against certain of the Company's current and former directors alleging breaches of fiduciary duties, violations of Section 14(a) of the Exchange Act, and gross mismanagement. The Byun action also brings claims for unjust enrichment and abuse of control, while the Salguocar action brings a claim for waste of corporate assets. On October 19, 2020, the Byun action was stayed until 30 days after the earlier of (a) the Shareholder Securities Litigation being dismissed in their entirety with prejudice; (b) defendants filing an answer to any complaint in the Shareholder Securities Litigation; or (c) a joint request by plaintiff and defendants to lift the stay. On November 17, 2020, the Byun and Salguocar actions were consolidated as In re Nikola Corporation Derivative Litigation, Lead Case No. 20-cv-01277-CFC. The consolidated action remains stayed.
On December 18, 2020, a purported shareholder derivative action was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Huhn v. Milton et al., Case No. 2:20-cv-02437-DWL, purportedly on behalf of the Company, against certain of the Company’s current and former directors alleging breaches of fiduciary duties, violations of Section 14(a) of the Exchange Act, unjust enrichment, and against defendant Jeff Ubben, a member of the Company’s board of directors, insider selling and misappropriation of information. On January 26, 2021, the Huhn action was stayed until 30 days after the earlier of (a) the Shareholder Securities Litigation being dismissed in its entirety with prejudice; (b) defendants filing an answer to any complaint in the Shareholder Securities Litigation; or (c) a joint request by plaintiff and defendants to lift the stay.
The complaints seek unspecified monetary damages, costs and fees associated with bringing the actions, and reform of the Company's corporate governance, risk management and operating practices. The Company intends to vigorously defend against the foregoing complaints. The Company is unable to estimate the potential loss or range of loss, if any, associated with these lawsuits, which could be material.
In addition, on March 8, 2021, the Company received a demand letter from a law firm representing a purported stockholder of the Company alleging facts and claims substantially the same as many of the facts and claims in the filed derivative shareholder lawsuit. The demand letter requests that the board of directors (i) undertake an independent internal investigation into certain board members and management’s purported violations of Delaware and/or federal law; and (ii) commence a civil action against those members of the board and management for alleged fiduciary breaches. In April 2021, the board of directors formed a demand review committee, consisting of independent directors Bruce L. Smith, and Mary L. Petrovich, to review such demands and provide input to the Company. There can be no assurance as to whether any litigation will be commenced by or against the Company by the purported shareholder with respect to the claims set forth in the demand letter, or whether any such litigation could be material.
Books and Record Demands Pursuant to Delaware General Corporation Law Section 220
The Company has received a number of demand letters pursuant to Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”), seeking disclosure of certain of the Company’s records. The Company has responded to those demands, stating its belief that the demand letters fail to fully comply with the requirements of Section 220 of the DGCL. However, in the interest of resolution and while preserving all rights of the defendants, the Company has engaged in negotiations with the shareholders, and intends to provide certain information that the Company had reasonably available to it.
On January 15, 2021, Plaintiff Frances Gatto filed a complaint in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to compel inspection of books and records pursuant to Section 220 of the DGCL. On January 26, 2021, Plaintiff’s counsel and the Company filed a joint letter, notifying the Court that the parties are engaged in dialogue regarding Plaintiff’s demand, and the
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Company need not answer or otherwise respond to the complaint at this time. The parties have agreed to provide an update to the Court by May 25, 2021.
Commitments and Contingencies on Land Conveyance
In February 2019, the Company was conveyed 430 acres of land in Coolidge, Arizona, by PLH. The purpose of the land conveyance was to incentivize the Company to locate its manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona, and provide additional jobs to the region. The Company fulfilled its requirement to commence construction within the period defined by the agreement and is required to complete construction of the manufacturing facility within five years of February 2019 (the “Manufacturing Facility Deadline”).
If the Company fails to meet the Manufacturing Facility Deadline, the Company may extend the completion deadline by paying PLH $0.2 million per month, until construction is completed (the "Monthly Payment Option"). The extension of the Manufacturing Facility Deadline beyond two years will require express written consent of PLH. If the Company does not exercise the Monthly Payment Option, fails to make timely payments on the Monthly Payment Option, or fails to complete construction by the extended Manufacturing Facility Deadline, PLH is entitled to either the $4.0 million security deposit or may reacquire the land and property at the appraised value to be determined by independent appraisers selected by the Company and PLH.
13. NET LOSS PER SHARE
The following table sets forth the computation of the basic and diluted net loss per share for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020.
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Less: revaluation of warrant liability||(951)||0|
|Adjusted net loss||$||(121,175)||$||(33,146)|
|Weighted average shares outstanding, basic||392,189,851||271,896,258|
|Dilutive effect of common stock issuable from assumed exercise of warrants||299,910||0|
|Weighted average shares outstanding, diluted||392,489,761||271,896,258|
|Net loss per share:|
Basic net loss per share is computed by dividing net loss for the period by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period.
Diluted net loss per share is computed by dividing the net loss, adjusted for the revaluation of warrant liability for the private warrants, by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding for the period, adjusted for the dilutive effect of shares of common stock equivalents resulting from the assumed exercise of the warrants. The treasury stock method was used to calculate the potential dilutive effect of these common stock equivalents.
Potentially dilutive shares were excluded from the computation of diluted net loss when their effect was antidilutive. The following outstanding common stock equivalents were excluded from the computation of diluted net loss per share for the periods presented because including them would have been anti-dilutive.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Stock options, including performance stock options||30,599,958||41,084,216|
|Restricted stock units, including market based RSUs||20,359,012||0|
ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
This report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this report, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” "will", and similar expressions are intended to identify forward looking statements. These are statements that relate to future periods and include our financial and business performance; expected timing with respect to the buildout of our manufacturing facilities, joint venture with Iveco and production and attributes of our BEV and FCEV trucks; expectations regarding our hydrogen fuel station rollout plan; timing of completion of prototypes, validation testing, volume production and other milestones; changes in our strategy, future operations, financial position, estimated revenues and losses, projected costs, prospects and plans; planned collaboration with our business partners; our future capital requirements and sources and uses of cash; the potential outcome of investigations, litigation, complaints, product liability claims and/or adverse publicity; the implementation, market acceptance and success of our business model; developments relating to our competitors and industry; the impact of health epidemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, on our business and the actions we may take in response thereto; our expectations regarding our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection and not infringe on the rights of others; our ability to obtain funding for our operations; the outcome of any known and unknown regulatory proceedings; our business, expansion plans and opportunities; changes in applicable laws or regulations; and anticipated trends and challenges in our business and the markets in which we operate.
Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expected. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those risks discussed in Item 1A of this report, as well as our ability to execute our business model, including market acceptance of our planned products and services; changes in applicable laws or regulations; risks associated with the outcome of any legal, regulatory, or judicial proceeding; the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business; our ability to raise capital; our ability to compete; the success of our business collaborations; regulatory developments in the United States and foreign countries; the possibility that we may be adversely affected by other economic, business, and/or competitive factors; and our history of operating losses. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to update any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
In this report, all references to “Nikola,” “we,” “us,” or “our” mean Nikola Corporation.
Nikola™ is a trademark of Nikola Corporation. We also refer to trademarks of other corporations and organizations in this report.
The below discussion should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and the audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto for the year ended December 31, 2020 included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020.
We are a technology innovator and integrator, working to develop innovative energy and transportation solutions. We are pioneering a business model that will enable corporate customers to integrate next-generation truck technology, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and related maintenance. By creating this ecosystem, we and our strategic business partners and suppliers hope to build a long-term competitive advantage for clean technology vehicles and next generation fueling solutions.
Our expertise lies in design, innovation, and software and engineering. We assemble, integrate, and commission our vehicles in collaboration with our business partners and suppliers. Our approach has always been to leverage strategic partnerships to help lower cost, increase capital efficiency and increase speed to market.
We operate in two business units: Truck and Energy. The Truck business unit is developing and commercializing BEV and FCEV Class 8 trucks that provide environmentally friendly, cost effective solutions to the short, medium and long haul trucking sector. The Energy business unit is primarily developing and constructing a network of hydrogen fueling stations to meet hydrogen fuel demand for our FCEV customers.
During 2020, we established a joint venture with Iveco, a subsidiary of CNHI, Nikola Iveco Europe Gmbh. Our joint venture with Iveco provides us with the manufacturing infrastructure to build BEV trucks for the North American market in addition to that of our greenfield manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona. The operations of the joint venture commenced during the fourth quarter of 2020.
We expect both our capital and operating expenditures will increase significantly in connection with our ongoing activities, as we:
• construct manufacturing facilities and purchase related equipment;
• commercialize our heavy-duty trucks and other products;
• develop hydrogen fueling stations;
• continue to invest in our technology;
• increase our investment in marketing and advertising, sales, and distribution infrastructure for our products and services;
• maintain and improve our operational, financial and management information systems;
• hire additional personnel;
• obtain, maintain, expand, and protect our intellectual property portfolio; and
• operate as a public company.
Comparability of Financial Information
Our results of operations and statements of assets and liabilities may not be comparable between periods as a result of the Business Combination and becoming a public company. As a consequence of the Business Combination, we became a Nasdaq-listed company, which will require us to hire additional personnel and implement procedures and processes to address public company regulatory requirements and customary practices. We expect to incur additional annual expenses as a public company for, among other things, directors' and officers' liability insurance, director fees and additional internal and external accounting, legal and administrative resources, including increased audit, compliance, and legal fees.
Key Factors Affecting Operating Results
We believe that our performance and future success depend on several factors that present significant opportunities for us but also pose risks and challenges, including those discussed below and in the section titled “Risk Factors.”
Commercial launch of heavy duty trucks and other products
We expect to derive revenue from our BEV trucks in late 2021 and FCEV trucks in the second half 2023. Prior to commercialization, we must complete modification or construction of required manufacturing facilities, purchase and integrate related equipment and software, and achieve several research and development milestones. As a result, we will require substantial additional capital to develop our products and services and fund operations for the foreseeable future. Until we can generate sufficient revenue from product sales and hydrogen FCEV leases, we expect to finance our operations through a combination of existing cash on hand, public offerings, private placements, debt financings, collaborations, and licensing arrangements. The amount and timing of our future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including the pace and results of our development efforts. Any delays in the successful completion of our manufacturing facility will impact our ability to generate revenue.
While not yet commercially available, we have received significant interest from potential customers. Going forward, we expect the size of our reservations to be an important indicator of our future performance.
Basis of Presentation
Currently, we conduct business through one reportable and one operating segment. See Note 2 in the accompanying consolidated financial statements for more information.
Components of Results of Operations
Prior to 2021, we primarily generated revenue from services related to solar installation projects that were completed in one year or less. Solar installation projects are not a part of our primary operations and were concluded in 2020.
Following the anticipated introduction of our products to the market, we expect the significant majority of our revenue to be derived from our BEV trucks starting in late 2021 and from bundled leases, or other alternative structures, for our FCEV trucks beginning in 2023. Our bundled lease offering will be inclusive of the cost of the truck, hydrogen fuel and regularly scheduled maintenance.
Cost of Revenues
Prior to 2021, our cost of revenue included materials, labor, and other direct costs related to solar installation projects.
Once we have reached commercial production, cost of revenue will include direct parts, material and labor costs, manufacturing overhead, including amortized tooling costs and depreciation of our greenfield manufacturing facility, depreciation of our hydrogen fueling stations, cost of hydrogen production, shipping and logistics costs and reserves for estimated warranty expenses.
Research and Development Expense
Research and development expenses consist primarily of costs incurred for the discovery and development of our vehicles, which include:
• Fees paid to third parties such as consultants and contractors for outside development;
• Expenses related to materials, supplies and third-party services, including prototype tooling and non-recurring engineering;
• Personnel related expenses, including salaries, benefits, and stock-based compensation expense, for personnel in our engineering and research functions; and
• Depreciation for prototyping equipment and R&D facilities.
During the three months ended March 31, 2021, our research and development expenses have primarily been incurred in the development of the BEV and FCEV trucks.
As a part of its in-kind investment, Iveco agreed to provide us with $100.0 million in advisory services (based on pre-negotiated hourly rates), including project coordination, drawings, documentation support, engineering support, vehicle integration, and product validation support. During the three months ended March 31, 2021, we utilized $12.9 million of advisory services which were recorded as research and development expense. As of March 31, 2021, we have $33.4 million of prepaid in-kind advisory services remaining which is expected to be consumed during 2021 and will be recorded as research and development expense until we reach commercial production.
We expect our research and development costs to increase for the foreseeable future as we continue to invest to achieve our technology and product roadmap goals.
Selling, General, and Administrative Expense
Selling, general, and administrative expenses consist of personnel related expenses for our corporate, executive, finance, and other administrative functions, expenses for outside professional services, including legal, audit and accounting services, as well as expenses for facilities, depreciation, amortization, travel, and marketing costs. Personnel related expenses consist of salaries, benefits, and stock-based compensation.
We expect our selling, general, and administrative expenses to increase for the foreseeable future as we scale headcount with the growth of our business, and as a result of operating as a public company, including compliance with the rules and regulations of the Securities Exchange Commission, legal, audit, additional insurance expenses, investor relations activities, and other administrative and professional services.
Interest Income (Expense), net
Interest income consists primarily of interest received or earned on our cash and cash equivalents balances. Interest expense consists of interest on our finance lease liability.
Loss on Forward Contract Liability
The loss on forward contract liability includes losses from the remeasurement of the Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock forward contract liability. In April 2020, we fulfilled the forward contract liability and, therefore, subsequent to June 30, 2020, there will not be any impact from the remeasurement of the forward contract liability.
Revaluation of Warrant Liability
The revaluation of warrant liability includes net gains and losses from the remeasurement of the warrant liability. Warrants recorded as liabilities are recorded at their fair value and remeasured at each reporting period.
Other Income, net
Other income consists primarily of other miscellaneous non-operating items, such as government grants, subsidies, merchandising, foreign currency gains and losses, and unrealized gains and losses on investments.
Income Tax Expense
Our income tax provision consists of an estimate for U.S. federal and state income taxes based on enacted rates, as adjusted for allowable credits, deductions, uncertain tax positions, changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities, and changes in the tax law. Due to cumulative losses, we maintain a valuation allowance against our U.S. and state deferred tax assets. Cash paid for income taxes, net of refunds during the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 was not material.
Equity in Net Loss of Affiliate
Equity in net loss of affiliate consists of our portion of losses from our joint venture, Nikola Venture Europe, Gmbh.
Results of Operations
Comparison of Three Months Ended March 31, 2021 to Three Months Ended March 31, 2020
The following table sets forth our historical operating results for the periods indicated:
|Three Months Ended March 31,||$||%|
|(dollar amounts in thousands)|
|Cost of solar revenues||—||43||(43)||NM|
|Research and development||55,163||24,077||31,086||129.1%|
|Selling, general, and administrative||65,427||7,935||57,492||724.5%|
|Total operating expenses||120,590||32,012||88,578||276.7%|
|Loss from operations||(120,590)||(31,997)||(88,593)||276.9%|
|Other income (expense):|
|Interest income (expense), net||(9)||62||(71)||(114.5)%|
|Loss on forward contract liability||—||(1,324)||1,324||NM|
|Revaluation of warrant liability||951||—||951||NM|
|Other income, net||219||114||105||NM|
|Loss before income taxes and equity in net loss of affiliate||(119,429)||(33,145)||(86,284)||260.3%|
|Income tax expense||1||1||—||NM|
|Loss before equity in net loss of affiliate||(119,430)||(33,146)||(86,284)||260.3%|
|Equity in net loss of affiliate||(794)||—||(794)||NM|
|Net loss per share:|
|Weighted-average shares outstanding:|
Solar Revenues and Cost of Solar Revenues
Solar revenues and cost of revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2020 were related to solar installation service projects. Solar installation projects were legacy projects that were not related to our primary operations and were concluded in 2020.
Research and Development
Research and development expenses increased by $31.1 million, or 129.1%, from $24.1 million during the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $55.2 million during the three months ended in March 31, 2021. This increase was primarily due to $12.8 million in higher spend on purchased components and outside engineering services as we focus on the development, building, and testing and validation of our Tre BEV truck, as well as continuing the development of our FCEV truck platform. In addition, we incurred higher stock-based compensation expense of $10.0 million, and increased personnel costs of $6.8 million driven by growth in our in-house engineering headcount. We also had an increase in depreciation and occupancy costs related to additional capital equipment and software dedicated to R&D activities.
Selling, General, and Administrative
Selling, general, and administrative expenses increased by $57.5 million, or 724.5%, from $7.9 million during the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $65.4 million during the three months ended March 31, 2021. The increase was primarily related to higher stock-based compensation expense of $39.0 million. In addition, there was an increase in legal expenses of
$14.5 million primarily related to regulatory and legal matters incurred in connection with the short-seller analyst article from September 2020. Further, there was an increase in personnel expenses driven by growth in headcount.
Interest Income (Expense), net
Interest income (expense), net was immaterial the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020.
Loss on Forward Contract Liability
Loss on the forward contract liability represents loss recognized from a $1.3 million change in fair value of the forward contract liability as of March 31, 2020. The forward contract was settled in April 2020.
Revaluation of Warrant Liability
The revaluation of warrant liability represents a gain of $1.0 million resulting from the change in fair value of our warrant liability during the quarter.
Other Income, net
Other income, net increased by $0.1 million from $0.1 million during the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $0.2 million during the three months ended March 31, 2021. The increase is primarily related to unrealized gains and losses from foreign currency translation.
Income Tax Expense
Income tax expense was immaterial for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020. We have accumulated net operating losses at the federal and state level and maintain a full valuation allowance against our net deferred taxes.
Equity in Net Loss of Affiliate
Equity in net loss of affiliate for the quarter ended March 31, 2021, was $0.8 million which relates to the net loss of our joint venture. The joint venture commenced operations in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
In addition to our results determined in accordance with GAAP, we believe the following non-GAAP measures are useful in evaluating operational performance. We use the following non-GAAP financial information to evaluate ongoing operations and for internal planning and forecasting purposes. We believe that non-GAAP financial information, when taken collectively, may be helpful to investors in assessing operating performance.
EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA
“EBITDA” is defined as net loss before interest income or expense, income tax expense or benefit, and depreciation and amortization. “Adjusted EBITDA” is defined as EBITDA adjusted for stock-based compensation and other items determined by management. Adjusted EBITDA is intended as a supplemental measure of our performance that is neither required by, nor presented in accordance with, GAAP. We believe that the use of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA provides an additional tool for investors to use in evaluating ongoing operating results and trends and in comparing our financial measures with those of comparable companies, which may present similar non-GAAP financial measures to investors. However, you should be aware that when evaluating EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA we may incur future expenses similar to those excluded when calculating these measures. In addition, our presentation of these measures should not be construed as an inference that our future results will be unaffected by unusual or non-recurring items. Our computation of Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures computed by other companies, because all companies may not calculate Adjusted EBITDA in the same fashion.
Because of these limitations, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for performance measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. We compensate for these limitations by relying primarily on
our GAAP results and using EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA on a supplemental basis. You should review the reconciliation of net loss to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA below and not rely on any single financial measure to evaluate our business.
The following table reconciles net loss to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020:
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Interest (income) expense, net||9||(62)|
|Income tax expense||1||1|
|Depreciation and amortization||1,805||1,408|
|Loss on forward contract liability||—||1,324|
|Revaluation of warrant liability||(951)||—|
|Equity in net loss of affiliate||794||—|
Regulatory and legal matters (1)
(1) Regulatory and legal matters include legal, advisory, and other professional service fees incurred in connection with the short-seller analyst article from September 2020, and investigations and litigation related thereto.
Non-GAAP Net Loss and Non-GAAP Net Loss Per Share, Basic and Diluted
Non-GAAP net loss and Non-GAAP net loss per share, basic and diluted are presented as supplemental measures of our performance. Non-GAAP net loss is defined as net loss attributable to common stockholders, basic and diluted adjusted for stock compensation expense and other items determined by management. Non-GAAP net loss per share, basic and diluted, is defined as Non-GAAP net loss divided by weighted average shares outstanding, basic and diluted.
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|(in thousands, except share and per share data)|
|Revaluation of warrant liability||(951)||—|
Regulatory and legal matters(1)
|Non-GAAP net loss||$||(56,043)||$||(31,833)|
|Non-GAAP net loss per share:|
|Weighted average shares outstanding:|
(1) Regulatory and legal matters include legal, advisory, and other professional service fees incurred in connection with the short-seller analyst article from September 2020, and investigations and litigation related thereto.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Since inception, we financed our operations primarily from the sales of redeemable convertible preferred stock and common stock, the Business Combination, and redemption of warrants. As of March 31, 2021, our principal sources of liquidity were our cash and cash equivalents in the amount of $763.8 million, which are primarily invested in money market funds.
Short-Term Liquidity Requirements
As of the date of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, we have yet to generate revenue from our core business operations. As of March 31, 2021, our current assets were $804.4 million consisting primarily of cash and cash equivalents of $763.8 million, and our current liabilities were $71.0 million primarily comprised of accrued expenses and accounts payables.
We believe our cash and cash equivalents balance will be sufficient to continue to execute our business strategy over the next twelve month period by (i) completing the development and industrialization of the BEV truck, (ii) completing phase one construction of the greenfield manufacturing facility, (iii) completing the construction of a pilot commercial hydrogen station and (iv) hiring of personnel.
However, actual results could vary materially and negatively as a result of a number of factors, including:
•the costs of our greenfield manufacturing facility construction and equipment;
•the timing and the costs involved in bringing our vehicles to market, mainly the BEV truck;
•our ability to manage the costs of manufacturing the BEV trucks;
•the scope, progress, results, costs, timing and outcomes of our research and development for our FCEV trucks;
•the costs of maintaining, expanding and protecting our intellectual property portfolio, including potential litigation costs and liabilities;
•revenue received from sales of our BEV trucks;
•the costs of additional general and administrative personnel, including accounting and finance, legal and human resources, as well as costs related to litigation, investigations, or settlements;
•our ability to collect revenue; and
•other risks discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors."
Long-Term Liquidity Requirements
Our current capital will not be sufficient to cover forecasted capital needs and operating expenditures starting in the second half of fiscal year 2022. Until we can generate sufficient revenue from truck sales and leases to cover operating expenses, working capital and capital expenditures, we expect to fund cash needs through a combination of equity and debt financing, including lease securitization. If we raise funds by issuing equity securities, dilution to stockholders may result. Any equity securities issued may also provide for rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of holders of our common stock. If we raise funds by issuing debt securities, these debt securities would have rights, preferences and privileges senior to those of holders of our common stock. The terms of debt securities or borrowings could impose significant restrictions on our operations. The credit market and financial services industry have in the past, and may in the future, experience periods of upheaval that could impact the availability and cost of equity and debt financing.
While we intend to raise additional capital in the future, if adequate funds are not available, we will need to curb our expansion plans or limit our research and development activities, which would have a material adverse impact on our business prospects and results of operations.
The following table provides a summary of cash flow data (in thousands):
|Three Months Ended March 31,|
|Net cash used in operating activities||$||(59,249)||$||(21,897)|
|Net cash used in investing activities||(24,521)||(1,439)|
|Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities||(1,758)||13,151|
Cash Flows from Operating Activities
Our cash flows from operating activities are significantly affected by the growth of our business primarily related to research and development activities. Our operating cash flows are also affected by our working capital needs to support growth in personnel related expenditures and fluctuations in accounts payable and other current assets and liabilities.
Net cash used in operating activities was $59.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. The most significant component of our cash used during this period was net loss of $120.2 million, which included non-cash expenses of $50.3 million related to stock-based compensation, $12.9 million expense for in-kind services, $1.8 million related to depreciation and amortization, $0.8 million equity in net loss of affiliate and $1.0 million gain on revaluation of our warrant liability, and net cash outflows of $3.8 million from changes in operating assets and liabilities primarily driven by increases in long-term deposits and prepaid expenses and other current assets, partially offset by an increase in accounts payable and accrued expenses.
Net cash used in operating activities was $21.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020. The largest component of our cash used during this period was a net loss of $33.1 million, which included non-cash charges of $1.3 million related to stock-based compensation, $6.7 million expense for in-kind services, a loss of $1.3 million related to the change in fair value of the forward contract liability, and $1.4 million related to depreciation and amortization expense, and net cash inflows of $0.5 million from changes in operating assets and liabilities primarily driven by a decrease in accounts receivable, net and prepaid expenses and other current assets.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
We continue to experience negative cash flows from investing activities as we expand our business and build out infrastructure. Cash flows from investing activities primarily relate to capital expenditures to support our growth. Net cash used in investing activities is expected to continue to increase substantially as we build out and tool our manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona, finance operations of our joint venture in Ulm, Germany, and develop the network of hydrogen fueling stations.
Net cash used in investing activities was $24.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021, which was primarily due to costs of construction for our Coolidge manufacturing facility, purchases and deposits for capital equipment and supplier tooling.
Net cash used in investing activities was $1.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, which was due to purchases and deposits on capital equipment related to the construction of our headquarters and R&D facility.
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Through March 31, 2021, we have financed our operations through proceeds from sales of redeemable convertible preferred stock and common stock, the Business Combination, and redemption of warrants.
Net cash used in financing activities was $1.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021, which was primarily due to $4.1 million term note repayment and payments on our financing lease of $0.3 million, partially offset by proceeds from the exercises of stock options of $2.6 million.
Net cash provided by financing activities was $13.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020, which was primarily due to proceeds from the issuance of Series D redeemable convertible preferred stock of $13.0 million and proceeds
from tenant allowances for the construction of our headquarters of $0.9 million, offset by payments made for future stock issuance costs of $0.4 and payments on our financing lease of $0.3 million.
Contractual Obligations and Commitments
For the three months ended March 31, 2021, there have been no material changes to our significant contractual obligations as previously disclosed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Off Balance Sheet Arrangements
Since the date of our incorporation, we have not engaged in any off balance sheet arrangements, as defined in the rules and regulations of the SEC.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon our financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with GAAP. These principles require us to make certain estimates and assumptions. These estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities, as of the balance sheet date, as well as reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Our most significant estimates and judgments involve valuation of our stock-based compensation, including the fair value of common stock, the valuation of warrant liabilities, the valuation of the redeemable convertible preferred stock tranche liability, estimates related to our lease assumptions, and contingent liabilities, including litigation reserves. Management bases its estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions believed to be reasonable, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
There have been no substantial changes to these estimates, or the policies related to them during the three months ended March 31, 2021. For a full discussion of these estimates and policies, see "Critical Accounting Estimates" in Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2 to our Unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for more information about recent accounting pronouncements, the timing of their adoption, and our assessment, to the extent we have made one, of their potential impact on our financial condition and our results of operations.
ITEM 3. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
We are exposed to a variety of market and other risks, including the effects of changes in interest rates, inflation, and foreign currency exchange rates, as well as risks to the availability of funding sources, hazard events, and specific asset risks.
Interest Rate Risk
The market risk inherent in our financial instruments and our financial position represents the potential loss arising from adverse changes in interest rates. As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of $763.8 million and $840.9 million, respectively, consisting of interest-bearing money market accounts for which the fair market value would be affected by changes in the general level of U.S. interest rates. However, due to the short-term maturities and the low-risk profile of our investments, an immediate 10% change in interest rates would not have a material effect on the fair market value of our cash and cash equivalents.
Foreign Currency Risk
For the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, we recorded $0.1 million and $0.03 million, respectively, of foreign currency gains.
ITEM 4. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES
Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
We maintain a system of disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act")) designed to ensure that the information required to be disclosed by us in the reports that we file or submit under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our Chief Executive Officer (our principal executive officer) and Chief Financial Officer (our principal financial officer), as appropriate, to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure.
Our management, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Financial Officer, has evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures under the Exchange Act as of March 31, 2021, the end of the period covered by this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. Based on such evaluation, our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Financial Officer have concluded that, as of such date, our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective solely due to the material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as described below.
Our management, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures as of the end of the period covered by this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. That evaluation included consideration of the views expressed in the SEC’s Staff Statement of April 12, 2021 (“the SEC Staff Statement”) in which the SEC Staff clarified its interpretations of certain generally accepted accounting principles related to warrants issued by Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (“SPACs”). Prior to the SEC Staff Statement, we believed that our warrant accounting was consistent with generally accepted accounting principles. Our belief was supported by the fact that most other SPACs and parties who had merged with SPACs similarly interpreted the warrant accounting principles at issue. However, based on the clarifications expressed in the SEC Staff Statement which resulted in the restatement discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020, our management and our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective in providing them with material information relating to the Company and its consolidated subsidiaries required to be disclosed in the reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act.
Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting
In connection with correcting our accounting for the private warrants assumed by us as part of the Business Combination, we have implemented additional review procedures, additional training and enhancements to the accounting policy related to the accounting for equity and liability instruments (including those with warrants) to determine proper accounting in accordance with GAAP (e.g., determine whether liability or equity classification and measurement is appropriate).
During the quarter ended March 31, 2021, we implemented the initial phase of a new Enterprise Resource Planning system. The initial phase included modules in procure-to-pay, general ledger, and asset accounting. The implementation will continue in additional phases through fiscal year 2021 and is expected to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of certain financial and business transaction processes.
Other than the items noted above, there were no changes in our internal control over financial reporting, as identified in connection with the evaluation required by Rule 13a-15(d) and Rule 15d-15(d) of the Exchange Act, that occurred during the three months ended March 31, 2021 that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
PART II - OTHER INFORMATION
Item 1. Legal Proceedings
For a description of our material pending legal proceedings, see Note 12, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and to Note 14 to our audited consolidated financial statements in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We are an early stage company with a history of losses, and expect to incur significant expenses and continuing losses for the foreseeable future.
We incurred net losses of $370.9 million and $120.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 and for the three months ended March 31, 2021, respectively, and have incurred net losses of approximately $680.4 million from Legacy Nikola's inception through March 31, 2021. We believe that we will continue to incur operating and net losses each quarter until at least the time we begin significant deliveries of our trucks, which is not expected to begin at least until 2022 for our battery electric vehicle, or BEV, truck and the second half of 2023 and 2024 for our Tre hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, or FCEV, truck and Two FCEV truck, respectively, and may occur later. Even if we are able to successfully develop and sell or lease our trucks, there can be no assurance that they will be commercially successful. Our potential profitability is dependent upon the successful development and successful commercial introduction and acceptance of our trucks and our hydrogen station platform, which may not occur.
We expect the rate at which we will incur losses to be significantly high in future periods as we:
•design, develop and manufacture our trucks;
•construct and equip our manufacturing plant to produce our trucks in Arizona;
•modify and equip the Iveco manufacturing plant in Germany to produce our trucks in Europe;
•build up inventories of parts and components for our trucks;
•manufacture an available inventory of our trucks;
•develop and deploy our hydrogen fueling stations;
•expand our design, development, maintenance and repair capabilities;
•increase our sales and marketing activities and develop our distribution infrastructure; and
•increase our general and administrative functions to support our growing operations.
Because we will incur the costs and expenses from these efforts before we receive any incremental revenue with respect thereto, our losses in future periods will be significant. In addition, we may find that these efforts are more expensive than we currently anticipate or that these efforts may not result in revenue, which would further increase our losses.
We may be unable to adequately control the costs associated with our operations.
We will require significant capital to develop and grow our business, including developing and manufacturing our trucks, building our manufacturing plant and building our brand. We expect to incur significant expenses which will impact our profitability, including research and development expenses, raw material procurement costs, leases, sales and distribution expenses as we build our brand and market our trucks and bundled leasing model, and general and administrative expenses as we scale our operations. In addition, we may incur significant costs in connection with our services, including building our hydrogen fueling stations and honoring our maintenance commitments under our bundled lease package. Our ability to become profitable in the future will not only depend on our ability to successfully market our vehicles and other products and services, but also to control our costs. If we are unable to cost efficiently design, manufacture, market, sell, distribute and service our trucks and services, our margins, profitability and prospects would be materially and adversely affected.
Our business model has yet to be tested and any failure to commercialize our strategic plans would have an adverse effect on our operating results and business, harm our reputation and could result in substantial liabilities that exceed our resources.
Investors should be aware of the difficulties normally encountered by a new enterprise, many of which are beyond our control, including substantial risks and expenses in the course of establishing or entering new markets, organizing operations and undertaking marketing activities. The likelihood of our success must be considered in light of these risks, expenses, complications, delays and the competitive environment in which we operate. There is, therefore, nothing at this time upon which to base an assumption that our business plan will prove successful, and we may not be able to generate significant revenue, raise additional capital or operate profitably. We will continue to encounter risks and difficulties frequently experienced by early commercial stage companies, including scaling up our infrastructure and headcount, and may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties or delays in connection with our growth. In addition, as a result of the capital-intensive nature of our business, we can be expected to continue to sustain substantial operating expenses without generating sufficient revenue to cover expenditures. Any investment in our company is therefore highly speculative and could result in the loss of your entire investment.
Our limited operating history makes evaluating our business and future prospects difficult and may increase the risk of your investment.
You must consider the risks and difficulties we face as an early stage company with a limited operating history. If we do not successfully address these risks, our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition will be materially and adversely harmed. We have a very limited operating history on which investors can base an evaluation of our business, operating results and prospects. We intend to derive substantially all of our revenue from the sale and lease of our vehicle platforms, which are still in the early stages of development. Our revenue for our FCEV trucks under a bundled lease model will also depend on the sale of hydrogen fuel at our planned hydrogen fueling stations which we do not expect to be operational until 2023 or later. There are no assurances that we will be able to secure future business with the major trucking companies or with independent truck drivers.
It is difficult to predict our future revenue and appropriately budget for our expenses, and we have limited insight into trends that may emerge and affect our business. In the event that actual results differ from our estimates or we adjust our estimates in future periods, our operating results and financial position could be materially affected.
We will need to raise additional funds and these funds may not be available to us when we need them. If we cannot raise additional funds when we need them, our operations and prospects could be negatively affected.
The design, manufacture, lease, sale and servicing of vehicles and related hydrogen fueling stations is capital-intensive. We expect that we will have sufficient capital to fund our planned operations for the next 12 months. We will need to raise additional capital to scale our manufacturing and roll out our hydrogen fueling stations. We may raise additional funds through the issuance of equity, equity related or debt securities, or through obtaining credit from government or financial institutions.
This capital will be necessary to fund our ongoing operations, continue research, development and design efforts, improve infrastructure, introduce new vehicles and build hydrogen fueling stations. We cannot be certain that additional funds will be available to us on favorable terms when required, or at all. If we cannot raise additional funds when we need them, our financial condition, results of operations, business and prospects could be materially adversely affected.
If we fail to manage our future growth effectively, we may not be able to market and sell our vehicles successfully.
Any failure to manage our growth effectively could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition. We intend to expand our operations significantly. Our future expansion will include:
•training new personnel;
•forecasting production and revenue;
•controlling expenses and investments in anticipation of expanded operations;
•establishing or expanding design, manufacturing, sales and service facilities; and
•implementing and enhancing administrative infrastructure, systems and processes.
We intend to continue to hire a significant number of additional personnel, including design and manufacturing personnel and service technicians for our trucks. Because our trucks are based on a different technology platform than traditional internal combustion engines, individuals with sufficient training in alternative fuel and electric vehicles may not be available to hire, and as a result, we will need to expend significant time and expense training the employees we do hire.
Our bundled lease model may present unique problems that may have an adverse effect on our operating results and business and harm our reputation.
Our bundled lease model will provide customers with the FCEV truck, hydrogen fuel and maintenance for a fixed price per mile is reliant on our ability to achieve a minimum hydrogen fuel efficiency in our FCEV trucks. If we are unable to achieve or maintain this fuel efficiency, we may be forced to provide our bundled lease customers with fuel at prices below-cost or risk damaging our relationships with our customers. Any such scenario would put our bundled lease model in jeopardy and may have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.
We may face legal challenges in one or more states attempting to sell directly to customers which could materially adversely affect our costs.
Our business plan includes the direct sale of vehicles to business customers, and potentially, to individual customers. Most, if not all, states require a license to sell vehicles within the state. Many states prohibit manufacturers from directly selling vehicles to customers. In other states, manufacturers must operate a physical dealership within the state to deliver vehicles to customers. As a result, we may not be able to sell directly to customers in each state in the United States.
We are currently not registered as a dealer in any state. In many states, it is unclear if, as a manufacturer, we will be able to obtain permission to sell and deliver vehicles directly to customers. For customers residing in states in which we will not be allowed to sell or deliver vehicles, we may have to arrange alternate methods of delivery of vehicles. This could include delivering vehicles to adjacent or nearby states in which we are allowed to directly sell and ship vehicles, and arranging for the customer to transport the vehicles to their home states. These workarounds could add significant complexity, and as a result, costs, to our business.
We face risks and uncertainties related to litigation, regulatory actions and government investigations and inquiries.
We are subject to, and may become a party to, a variety of litigation, other claims, suits, regulatory actions and government investigations and inquiries. For example, in September 2020, Nikola and our officers and employees received subpoenas from the SEC as part of a fact-finding inquiry related to aspects of our business as well as certain matters described in an article issued on September 10, 2020 by Hindenburg Research LLC, or the Hindenburg article. The SEC issued subpoenas to our directors on September 30, 2020. In addition, Nikola and Trevor R. Milton also received grand jury subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the N.Y. County District Attorney’s Office in September 2020. We have cooperated, and will continue to cooperate, with these and any other regulatory or governmental requests. We
have incurred significant expenses as a result of the regulatory and legal matters relating to the Hindenburg article. The total cost associated with these matters will depend on many factors, including the duration of these matters and any related finding.
Additionally, six putative class action lawsuits were filed against us and certain of our current and former officers and directors, asserting violations of federal securities laws under Section 10(b) and Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, and, in one case, violations of the Unfair Competition Law under California law, alleging that Nikola and certain of our officers and directors made false and/or misleading statements in press releases and public filings regarding our business plan and prospects. These lawsuits have been consolidated. Separately, three purported Nikola stockholder derivative actions were filed in the United States District Court, against certain of our current and former directors, alleging breaches of fiduciary duties, violations of Section 14(a) of the Exchange Act, and gross mismanagement, among other claims. We are unable to estimate the potential loss or range of loss, if any, associated with these lawsuits.
In addition, from time to time, we may also be involved in legal proceedings and investigations arising in the ordinary course of business, including those relating to employment matters, relationships with collaboration partners, intellectual property disputes, and other business matters. Any such claims or investigations may be time-consuming, costly, divert management resources, or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business or result of operations.
The results of litigation and other legal proceedings, including the other claims described under Note 12, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and in Note 14 in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020, are inherently uncertain and adverse judgments or settlements in some or all of these legal disputes may result in materially adverse monetary damages or injunctive relief against us. Any claims or litigation, even if fully indemnified or insured, could damage our reputation and make it more difficult to compete effectively or obtain adequate insurance in the future. The litigation and other legal proceedings described under Note 12, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and to Note 14 in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020 are subject to future developments and management’s view of these matters may change in the future.
Our success will depend on our ability to economically manufacture our trucks at scale and build our hydrogen fueling stations to meet our customers’ business needs, and our ability to develop and manufacture trucks of sufficient quality and appeal to customers on schedule and at scale is unproven.
Our future business depends in large part on our ability to execute our plans to develop, manufacture, market and sell our BEV and FCEV trucks and to deploy the associated hydrogen fueling stations for our FCEV trucks at sufficient capacity to meet the transportation demands of our business customers. We plan to initially commence manufacturing our trucks in Europe through our joint venture with CNH Industrial N.V., or CNHI and Iveco S.p.A., or Iveco, which commenced operations in the fourth quarter of 2020, and in the future at our manufacturing plant in Arizona.
Our continued development of our truck platforms is and will be subject to risks, including with respect to:
•our ability to secure necessary funding;
•the equipment we plan to use being able to accurately manufacture the vehicles within specified design tolerances;
•long-and short-term durability of our hydrogen fuel cell and electric drivetrain technology related components in the day-to-day wear and tear of the commercial trucking environment;
•compliance with environmental, workplace safety and similar regulations;
•securing necessary components on acceptable terms and in a timely manner;
•delays in delivery of final component designs to our suppliers;
•our ability to attract, recruit, hire and train skilled employees;
•quality controls, particularly as we plan to commence manufacturing in-house;
•delays or disruptions in our supply chain; and
•other delays and cost overruns.
We have no experience to date in high volume manufacturing of our trucks. We do not know whether we will be able to develop efficient, automated, low-cost manufacturing capabilities and processes, and reliable sources of component supply, that will enable us to meet the quality, price, engineering, design and production standards, as well as the production volumes,
required to successfully mass market our trucks. Even if we are successful in developing our high volume manufacturing capability and processes and reliably source our component supply, we do not know whether we will be able to do so in a manner that avoids significant delays and cost overruns, including as a result of factors beyond our control such as problems with suppliers and vendors, or in time to meet our vehicle commercialization schedules or to satisfy the requirements of customers. Any failure to develop such manufacturing processes and capabilities within our projected costs and timelines could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.
We may experience significant delays in the design, manufacture, launch and financing of our trucks, including in the build out of our manufacturing plant, which could harm our business and prospects.
Any delay in the financing, design, manufacture and launch of our trucks, including in the build out of our manufacturing plant in Arizona, could materially damage our brand, business, prospects, financial condition and operating results. Vehicle manufacturers often experience delays in the design, manufacture and commercial release of new products. To the extent we delay the launch of our trucks, our growth prospects could be adversely affected as we may fail to grow our market share. Furthermore, we rely on third party suppliers for the provision and development of many of the key components and materials used in our vehicles. To the extent our suppliers experience any delays in providing us with or developing necessary components, we could experience delays in delivering on our timelines.
We will rely on complex machinery for our operations and production involves a significant degree of risk and uncertainty in terms of operational performance and costs.
We will rely heavily on complex machinery for our operations and our production will involve a significant degree of uncertainty and risk in terms of operational performance and costs. Our truck manufacturing plant will consist of large-scale machinery combining many components. The manufacturing plant components are likely to suffer unexpected malfunctions from time to time and will depend on repairs and spare parts to resume operations, which may not be available when needed. Unexpected malfunctions of the manufacturing plant components may significantly affect the intended operational efficiency. Operational performance and costs can be difficult to predict and are often influenced by factors outside of our control, such as, but not limited to, scarcity of natural resources, environmental hazards and remediation, costs associated with decommissioning of machines, labor disputes and strikes, difficulty or delays in obtaining governmental permits, damages or defects in electronic systems, industrial accidents, fire, seismic activity and natural disasters. Should operational risks materialize, it may result in the personal injury to or death of workers, the loss of production equipment, damage to manufacturing facilities, monetary losses, delays and unanticipated fluctuations in production, environmental damage, administrative fines, increased insurance costs and potential legal liabilities, all which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition or prospects.
Once completed, if our manufacturing plant in Arizona becomes inoperable, we will be unable to produce our trucks and our business will be harmed.
We expect to begin assembly of our trucks at our manufacturing plant in Arizona after completion of the initial phase of the plant in 2021, at the earliest. We expect to produce all of our trucks at our manufacturing plant in Arizona after completion of the second phase of the plant in 2022, at the earliest. Our plant and the equipment we use to manufacture our trucks would be costly to replace and could require substantial lead time to replace and qualify for use. Our plant may be harmed or rendered inoperable by natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, flooding, fire and power outages, or by health epidemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which may render it difficult or impossible for us to manufacture our trucks for some period of time. The inability to produce our trucks or the backlog that could develop if our manufacturing plant is inoperable for even a short period of time may result in the loss of customers or harm our reputation. Although we maintain insurance for damage to our property and the disruption of our business, this insurance may not be sufficient to cover all of our potential losses and may not continue to be available to us on acceptable terms, if at all.
Our plan to build a network of hydrogen fueling stations will require significant cash investments and management resources and may not meet our expectations with respect to additional sales of our electric vehicles. In addition, we may not be able to open stations in certain states.
Our plan to build a network of hydrogen fueling stations in the United States will require significant cash investments and management resources and may not meet our expectations with respect to additional sales of our FCEV trucks. This planned construction of hydrogen stations is essential to persuading customers to pay a higher premium for our trucks. We have constructed a prototype station that provides our engineers with the ability to test and scale future stations for heavy-duty truck application, however the technology we use is currently utilized for non-commercial applications. While we have constructed a prototype station, we have very limited experience in the actual provision of our refueling solutions to users and providing these services is subject to challenges, which include the logistics of rolling out our network of refueling stations and teams in appropriate areas, inadequate capacity or over capacity in certain areas, security risks, risk of damage to vehicles during charging or refueling and the potential for lack of customer acceptance of our services. We will need to ensure compliance with any regulatory requirements applicable in jurisdictions where our fueling stations will be located, including obtaining any required permits and land use rights, which could take considerable time and expense and is subject to the risk that government support in certain areas may be discontinued. In addition, given our lack of experience building and operating fueling stations, there could be unanticipated challenges which may hinder our ability to provide our bundled lease to customers or make the provision of our bundled leases costlier than anticipated. If we are unable to build, or experience delays in building, our network of hydrogen fueling stations, we may be unable to meet our fueling commitments under our bundled lease arrangements with customers and experience decreased sales or leases of our vehicles, which may negatively impact our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.
We may not be able to produce or source the hydrogen needed to establish our planned hydrogen fueling stations.
As a key component of our business model, we intend to establish a series of hydrogen fueling stations, and we intend to include the cost of hydrogen in the purchase price of our trucks. Where electricity can be procured in a cost-effective manner, we expect that hydrogen fuel will be produced on-site, via electrolysis. In other cases, we expect that hydrogen fuel will be produced off-site and delivered to fueling stations under a supply "hub and spoke" structure. To the extent we are unable to produce or obtain the hydrogen, we may be unable to establish these fueling stations and severely limit the usefulness of our trucks, or, if we are still able to establish these stations, we may be forced to sell hydrogen at a loss in order to maintain our commitments. We believe that this hydrogen incentive will be a significant driver for purchases of our trucks, and therefore, the failure to establish and roll out these hydrogen fueling stations in accordance with our expectations would materially adversely affect our business.
Our inability to cost-effectively source the energy requirements to conduct electrolysis at our fueling stations may impact the profitability of our bundled leases by making our hydrogen uneconomical compared to other vehicle fuel sources.
Our ability to economically produce hydrogen for our FCEV trucks requires us to secure a reliable source of electricity for each of our fueling stations at a price per kilowatt hour that is below the current retail rates in the geographic areas we target. During our initial hydrogen station roll-out, we intend to source power based on the most economical power mix available at each hydrogen production site, including power from the grid that is sourced from non-renewable resources. An increase in the price of energy used to generate hydrogen through electrolysis would likely result in a higher cost of fuel for our FCEV trucks as well as increase the cost of distribution, freight and delivery and other operating costs related to vehicle manufacturing. We may not be able to offset these cost increases or pass such cost increases onto customers in the form of price increases, because of our bundled lease model for FCEV trucks, which could have an adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.
Reservations for our trucks are cancellable.
Reservations for our Nikola FCEV trucks are subject to cancellation by the customer until the customer enters into a lease agreement or, in the case of Anheuser-Busch LLC, or AB, to the extent our trucks do not meet the vehicle specifications and delivery timelines specified in the contract with AB, as discussed further below. Because all of our reservations are cancellable, it is possible that a significant number of customers who submitted reservations for our trucks may cancel those reservations. In addition, our non-binding FCEV reservations include reservations from individuals or small fleets with orders of 100 trucks or less, which collectively represent approximately 47% of our total FCEV reservations as of December 31, 2020. These individuals or small fleets may not receive FCEV trucks until the density of the hydrogen station network is sufficient for their refueling needs, which may not occur until approximately 2030 or later.
Given the anticipated lead times between customer reservation and delivery of our trucks, there is a heightened risk that customers that have made reservations may not ultimately take delivery of vehicles due to potential changes in customer preferences, competitive developments and other factors. As a result, no assurance can be made that reservations will not be cancelled, or that reservations will ultimately result in the purchase or lease of a vehicle. Any cancellations could harm our financial condition, business, prospects and operating results.
In addition, any projected revenue is based on a number of assumptions, including a projected purchase price for our trucks. If the purchase price of the trucks ends up being different than anticipated, we may not achieve the anticipated level of projected revenue, even if all of the trucks subject to reservations are sold or leased.
While we currently have a contract with AB to lease up to 800 Nikola Two FCEV trucks, if we are unable to deliver our trucks according to the vehicle specifications and delivery timelines set forth in the contract, AB has the right to cancel its order for trucks. Moreover, the AB contract specifies lease terms and rental rates that may be hard for us to meet depending on our ability to develop our trucks and hydrogen network according to current design parameters and cost estimates. Any of these adverse actions related to the AB order could harm our financial condition, business, prospects and operating results.
While we do not currently have any leasing arrangements finalized, in the future we intend to offer a bundled lease or other alternative structures to customers which would expose us to credit risk.
While we currently intend to offer bundled leasing of our trucks or other alternative structures to potential customers through a third-party financing partner, we currently have no agreement in place with any potential financing partner. We can provide no assurance that a third-party financing partner would be able or willing to provide the leasing services on terms that we have stated in our published materials, or to provide financing at all. Furthermore, offering a leasing alternative to customers will expose us to risks commonly associated with the extension of credit. Credit risk is the potential loss that may arise from any failure in the ability or willingness of the customer to fulfill its contractual obligations when they fall due. Competitive pressure and challenging markets may increase credit risk through leases to financially weak customers, extended payment terms and leases into new and immature markets. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial results and results of operations.
We face significant barriers to produce our trucks, and if we cannot successfully overcome those barriers our business will be negatively impacted.
The trucking industry has traditionally been characterized by significant barriers to entry, including large capital requirements, investment costs of designing and manufacturing vehicles, long lead times to bring vehicles to market from the concept and design stage, the need for specialized design and development expertise, regulatory requirements, establishing a brand name and image and the need to establish sales, leasing, fueling and service locations. If we are not able to overcome these barriers, our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition will be negatively impacted and our ability to grow our business will be harmed.
Our future growth is dependent upon the trucking industry’s willingness to adopt BEV and FCEV trucks.
Our growth is highly dependent upon the adoption by the trucking industry of alternative fuel and electric trucks. If the market for our BEV and FCEV trucks does not develop at the rate or to the extent that we expect, our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results will be harmed. The market for alternative fuel and electric trucks is new and untested and is characterized by rapidly changing technologies, price competition, numerous competitors, evolving government regulation and industry standards and uncertain customer demands and behaviors.
Factors that may influence the adoption of alternative fuel and electric vehicles include:
•perceptions about BEV or FCEV truck quality, safety, design, performance and cost, especially if adverse events or accidents occur that are linked to the quality or safety of alternative fuel or electric vehicles;
•perceptions about vehicle safety in general, including the use of advanced technology, such as vehicle electronics, hydrogen fueling and storage and regenerative braking systems;
•the decline of vehicle efficiency resulting from deterioration over time in the ability of the battery to hold a charge;
•concerns about the availability of hydrogen stations, including those we plan to develop and deploy, which could impede our present efforts to promote FCEV trucks as a desirable alternative to diesel trucks;
•improvements in the fuel economy of internal combustion engines;
•the availability of service for alternative fuel or electric trucks;
•volatility in the cost of energy, oil, gasoline and hydrogen;
•government regulations and economic incentives promoting fuel efficiency and alternate forms of energy;
•the availability of tax and other governmental incentives to purchase and operate alternative fuel and electric trucks or future regulation requiring increased use of nonpolluting trucks;
•our ability to sell or lease trucks directly to business or customers dependent on state by state unique regulations and dealership laws;
•the availability of tax and other governmental incentives to sell hydrogen;
•perceptions about and the actual cost of alternative fuel; and
Additionally, we may become subject to regulations that may require us to alter the design of our trucks, which could negatively impact customer interest in our products.
If our trucks fail to perform as expected, our ability to develop, market and sell or lease our alternative fuel and electric trucks could be harmed.
Once production commences, our trucks may contain defects in design and manufacture that may cause them not to perform as expected or may require repair. We currently have no frame of reference by which to evaluate the performance of our trucks upon which our business prospects depend. For example, our trucks will use a substantial amount of software to operate which will require modification and updates over the life of the vehicle. Software products are inherently complex and often contain defects and errors when first introduced.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to detect and fix any defects in the trucks’ hardware or software prior to commencing customer sales. We may experience recalls in the future, which could adversely affect our brand in our target markets and could adversely affect our business, prospects and results of operations. Our trucks may not perform consistent with customers’ expectations or consistent with other vehicles which may become available. Any product defects or any other failure of our trucks to perform as expected could harm our reputation and result in adverse publicity, lost revenue, delivery delays, product recalls, product liability claims and significant warranty and other expenses, and could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Although we hope to be among the first to bring BEV and FCEV Class 8 trucks to market, competitors have and may continue to enter the market before our trucks, which could have an adverse effect on our business.
We face intense competition in trying to be among the first to bring our BEV and FCEV truck platforms to market, including from companies in our target markets with greater financial resources, more extensive development, manufacturing, marketing and service capabilities, greater brand recognition and a larger number of managerial and technical personnel. If competitor’s trucks are brought to market before our trucks, we may experience a reduction in potential market share.
Many of our current and potential competitors, particularly international competitors, have significantly greater financial, technical, manufacturing, marketing and other resources than we do and may be able to devote greater resources to the design, development, manufacturing, distribution, promotion, sale and support of their products.
We compete in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive industry, and a number of private and public companies have announced plans to offer BEV and/or FCEV trucks, including companies such as Daimler, Hyliion, Hyundai, Lion, Tesla, Hyzon, Toyota and Volvo. Based on publicly available information, a number of these competitors have displayed prototype trucks and have announced target availability and production timelines, while others have launched pilot programs in some markets. In addition, we are aware that one potential competitor, BYD, is currently manufacturing and selling a Class 8 BEV truck. While some competitors may choose to offer BEV trucks, others such as Hyundai have announced they plan to offer FCEV trucks and invest in hydrogen stations for refueling. In addition, our principal competition for our trucks will also come from manufacturers of trucks with internal combustion engines powered by diesel fuel.
We expect competition in our industry to intensify in the future in light of increased demand and regulatory push for alternative fuel and electric vehicles. We cannot provide assurances that our trucks will be among the first to market, or that competitors will not build hydrogen fueling stations. Even if our trucks are among the first to market, we cannot assure you that customers will choose our vehicles over those of our competitors, or over diesel powered trucks.
Developments in alternative technology improvements in the internal combustion engine may adversely affect the demand for our trucks.
Significant developments in alternative technologies, such as advanced diesel, ethanol, or compressed natural gas or improvements in the fuel economy of the internal combustion engine, may materially and adversely affect our business and prospects in ways we do not currently anticipate. Other fuels or sources of energy may emerge as customers’ preferred alternative to our truck platform. Any failure by us to develop new or enhanced technologies or processes, or to react to changes in existing technologies, could materially delay our development and introduction of new and enhanced alternative fuel and electric trucks, which could result in the loss of competitiveness of our trucks, decreased revenue and a loss of market share to competitors. Our research and development efforts may not be sufficient to adapt to changes in alternative fuel and electric vehicle technology. As technologies change, we plan to upgrade or adapt our trucks and introduce new models in order to continue to provide trucks with the latest technology, in particular battery cell technology.
We have no experience servicing our vehicles. If we are unable to address the service requirements of our customers, our business will be materially and adversely affected.
Because we do not plan to begin production of our trucks until mid-2021 at the earliest, we have no experience servicing or repairing our vehicles. Servicing alternative fuel and electric vehicles is different than servicing vehicles with internal combustion engines and requires specialized skills, including high voltage training and servicing techniques. We may decide to partner with a third party to perform some or all of the maintenance on our trucks, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to enter into an acceptable arrangement with any such third-party provider. If we are unable to successfully address the service requirements of our customers, our business and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.
In addition, the motor vehicle industry laws in many states require that service facilities be available to service vehicles physically sold from locations in the state. While we anticipate developing a service program that would satisfy regulators in these circumstances, the specifics of our service program are still in development, and at some point may need to be restructured to comply with state law, which may impact on our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects.
Future product recalls could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.
Any product recall in the future may result in adverse publicity, damage our brand and materially adversely affect our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition. In the future, we may voluntarily or involuntarily, initiate a recall if any of our vehicles or electric powertrain components (including the fuel cell or batteries) prove to be defective or noncompliant with applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. Such recalls involve significant expense and diversion of management attention and other resources, which could adversely affect our brand image in our target markets, as well as our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Insufficient warranty reserves to cover future warranty claims could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.
Once our trucks are in production, we will need to maintain warranty reserves to cover warranty-related claims. If our warranty reserves are inadequate to cover future warranty claims on our vehicles, our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results could be materially and adversely affected. We may become subject to significant and unexpected warranty expenses. There can be no assurances that then-existing warranty reserves will be sufficient to cover all claims.
If we are unable to attract and retain key employees and hire qualified management, technical and engineering personnel, our ability to compete could be harmed.
Our success depends, in part, on our ability to retain our key personnel. The unexpected loss of or failure to retain one or more of our key employees could adversely affect our business. For example, in September 2020, our founder and former executive chairman, Trevor R. Milton, stepped down from his positions with us.
Our success also depends, in part, on our continuing ability to identify, hire, attract, train and develop other highly qualified personnel, including management, technical and engineering personnel. Qualified individuals are in high demand, particularly in the vehicle technology industry. Competition for individuals with experience designing, manufacturing and servicing electric vehicles is intense, and we may not be able to attract, integrate, train, motivate or retain additional highly qualified personnel in the future. Competition for these employees can be intense, and our ability to hire, attract and retain them may depend on our ability to provide competitive compensation. We use equity awards to attract talented employees, but if the value of our common stock declines significantly, as it has in the recent past, and remains depressed, it may prevent us from recruiting and retaining qualified employees. We may not be able to attract, integrate, train or retain qualified personnel in the future. Additionally, we may not be able to hire new employees quickly enough to meet our needs. Our failure to do so could adversely affect our business and prospects, including the execution of our global business strategy.
Increases in costs, disruption of supply or shortage of raw materials, particularly lithium-ion battery cells, could harm our business.
Once we begin commercial production of vehicles, we may experience increases in the cost or a sustained interruption in the supply or shortage of raw materials, including battery cells and semiconductors. Any such increase or supply interruption could materially negatively impact our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results. We use various raw materials including aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, non-ferrous metals (such as copper), and cobalt. The prices for these raw materials fluctuate depending on market conditions and global demand and could adversely affect our business and operating results. For instance, we are exposed to multiple risks relating to price fluctuations for lithium-ion cells. These risks include:
•the inability or unwillingness of current battery manufacturers to build or operate battery cell manufacturing plants to supply the numbers of lithium-ion cells required to support the growth of the electric vehicle industry as demand for such cells increases;
•disruption in the supply of cells due to quality issues or recalls by the battery cell manufacturers; and
•an increase in the cost of raw materials, such as cobalt, used in lithium-ion cells.
Any disruption in the supply of battery cells or semiconductors could temporarily disrupt production of the BEV truck until a different supplier is fully qualified. Moreover, battery cell manufacturers may refuse to supply electric vehicle manufacturers if they determine that the vehicles are not sufficiently safe. Furthermore, fluctuations or shortages in petroleum and other economic conditions may cause us to experience significant increases in freight charges and raw material costs. Substantial increases in the prices for our raw materials would increase our operating costs and could reduce our margins if the increased costs cannot be recouped through increased electric vehicle prices. There can be no assurance that we will be able to recoup increasing costs of raw materials by increasing vehicle prices.
Manufacturing in collaboration with partners is subject to risks.
In 2019, we partnered with Iveco, a subsidiary of CNHI, to manufacture the BEV truck at the Iveco manufacturing plant in Ulm, Germany through a joint venture with CNHI, which commenced operations in the fourth quarter of 2020. We currently intend to begin production of the BEV truck at the Iveco plant in 2021, with deliveries beginning late in the same year. We currently expect that approximately 40 million Euros will be invested in total by Iveco and Nikola into the manufacturing plant to prepare it for assembly, of which 14.8 million was funded through March 31, 2021. Future funding may be partially financed through debt obtained by the joint venture.
Collaboration with third parties for the manufacturing of trucks is subject to risks with respect to operations that are outside our control. We could experience delays if our partners do not meet agreed upon timelines or experience capacity constraints. There are risks of potential disputes, disagreements or fallouts with partners and failure to perform under contracts or enforce contracts against the other party, and/or the potential terminations of such contracts, and the production of our trucks could be disrupted as a result. We could be affected by adverse publicity related to our partners, whether or not such publicity is related to their collaboration with us, or adverse publicity related to our relationships with our partners. Our ability to
successfully build a premium brand could also be adversely affected by perceptions about the quality of our partners’ products. In addition, although we are involved in each step of the supply chain and manufacturing process, because we also rely on our partners and third parties to meet our quality standards, there can be no assurance that we will successfully maintain quality standards.
We may be unable to enter into new agreements or extend existing agreements with manufacturers on terms and conditions acceptable to us and therefore may need to contract with other third parties or significantly add to our own production capacity. There can be no assurance that in such event we would be able to engage other third parties or establish or expand our own production capacity to meet our needs on acceptable terms or at all. The expense and time required to complete any transition, and to assure that vehicles manufactured at facilities of new manufacturers comply with our quality standards and regulatory requirements, may be greater than anticipated. Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
We are or may be subject to risks associated with strategic alliances or acquisitions.
We have entered into, and may in the future enter into additional, strategic alliances, including joint ventures or minority equity investments with various third parties to further our business purpose. These alliances could subject us to a number of risks, including risks associated with sharing proprietary information, non-performance by the third party and increased expenses in establishing new strategic alliances, any of which may materially and adversely affect our business. We may have limited ability to monitor or control the actions of these third parties and, to the extent any of these strategic third parties suffers negative publicity or harm to their reputation from events relating to their business, we may also suffer negative publicity or harm to our reputation by virtue of our association with any such third party.
When appropriate opportunities arise, we may acquire additional assets, products, technologies or businesses that are complementary to our existing business. In addition to possible stockholder approval, we may need approvals and licenses from relevant government authorities for the acquisitions and to comply with any applicable laws and regulations, which could result in increased delay and costs, and may disrupt our business strategy if we fail to do so. Furthermore, acquisitions and the subsequent integration of new assets and businesses into our own require significant attention from our management and could result in a diversion of resources from our existing business, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our operations. Acquired assets or businesses may not generate the financial results we expect. Acquisitions could result in the use of substantial amounts of cash, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, the occurrence of significant goodwill impairment charges, amortization expenses for other intangible assets and exposure to potential unknown liabilities of the acquired business. Moreover, the costs of identifying and consummating acquisitions may be significant.
We are dependent on our suppliers, a significant number of which are single or limited source suppliers, and the inability of these suppliers to deliver necessary components of our vehicles at prices and volumes acceptable to us would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects and operating results.
While we plan to obtain components from multiple sources whenever possible, many of the components used in our vehicles will be purchased by us from a single source, especially with respect to hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. We refer to these component suppliers as our single source suppliers. While we believe that we may be able to establish alternate supply relationships and can obtain or engineer replacement components for our single source components, we may be unable to do so in the short term (or at all) at prices or quality levels that are favorable to us.
A significant benefit of our collaborations with external manufacturing partners is the ability to leverage their respective existing assortment of parts, thereby decreasing our purchasing expenses. While these relationships give us access to use an existing supplier base with the hopes of accelerating procurement of components at favorable prices, there is no guarantee that this will be the case. In addition, we could experience delays if our suppliers do not meet agreed upon timelines or experience capacity constraints.
The battery efficiency of electric trucks will decline over time, which may negatively influence potential customers’ decisions whether to purchase our trucks.
We anticipate the ranges of our Nikola Tre BEV, Nikola Tre FCEV and Nikola Two FCEV vehicles to be up to 350, 500 and 900 miles per day, respectively, before needing to recharge or refuel, depending on the type of vehicle, but that range will decline over time as the battery deteriorates. Other factors such as usage, time and stress patterns may also impact the battery’s ability to hold a charge, which would decrease our trucks’ range before needing to recharge or refuel. Such battery deterioration and the related decrease in range may negatively influence potential customer decisions.
Our trucks will make use of lithium-ion battery cells, which have been observed to catch fire or vent smoke and flame.
The battery packs within our trucks will make use of lithium-ion cells. On rare occasions, lithium-ion cells can rapidly release the energy they contain by venting smoke and flames in a manner that can ignite nearby materials as well as other lithium-ion cells. While the battery pack is designed to contain any single cell’s release of energy without spreading to neighboring cells, once our trucks are commercially available, a field or testing failure of our vehicles or other battery packs that we produce could occur, which could subject us to lawsuits, product recalls, or redesign efforts, all of which would be time consuming and expensive. Also, negative public perceptions regarding the suitability of lithium-ion cells for automotive applications or any future incident involving lithium-ion cells, such as a vehicle or other fire, even if such incident does not involve our trucks, could seriously harm our business and reputation.
In addition, once we begin manufacturing our trucks, we will need to store a significant number of lithium-ion cells at our facility. Any mishandling of battery cells may cause disruption to the operation of our facility. While we have implemented safety procedures related to the handling of the cells, a safety issue or fire related to the cells could disrupt our operations. Such damage or injury could lead to adverse publicity and potentially a safety recall. Moreover, any failure of a competitor’s electric vehicle or energy storage product may cause indirect adverse publicity for us and our products. Such adverse publicity could negatively affect our brand and harm our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.
Any unauthorized control or manipulation of our vehicles’ systems could result in loss of confidence in us and our vehicles and harm our business.
Our trucks contain complex information technology systems and built-in data connectivity to accept and install periodic remote updates to improve or update functionality. We have designed, implemented and tested security measures intended to prevent unauthorized access to our information technology networks, our trucks and related systems. However, hackers may attempt to gain unauthorized access to modify, alter and use such networks, trucks and systems to gain control of or to change our trucks’ functionality, user interface and performance characteristics, or to gain access to data stored in or generated by the truck. Future vulnerabilities could be identified and our efforts to remediate such vulnerabilities may not be successful. Any unauthorized access to or control of our trucks or their systems, or any loss of customer data, could result in legal claims or proceedings. In addition, regardless of their veracity, reports of unauthorized access to our trucks, systems or data, as well as other factors that may result in the perception that our trucks, systems or data are capable of being “hacked,” could negatively affect our brand and harm our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.
Interruption or failure of our information technology and communications systems could impact our ability to effectively provide our services.
We plan to outfit our trucks with in-vehicle services and functionality that utilize data connectivity to monitor performance and timely capture opportunities for cost-saving preventative maintenance. The availability and effectiveness of our services depend on the continued operation of information technology and communications systems, which we have yet to develop. Our systems will be vulnerable to damage or interruption from, among others, fire, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, power loss, telecommunications failures, computer viruses, computer denial of service attacks or other attempts to harm our systems. Our data centers could also be subject to break-ins, sabotage and intentional acts of vandalism causing potential disruptions. Some of our systems will not be fully redundant, and our disaster recovery planning cannot account for all eventualities. Any problems at our data centers could result in lengthy interruptions in our service. In addition, our trucks are highly technical and complex and may contain errors or vulnerabilities, which could result in interruptions in our business or the failure of our systems.
We are subject to substantial regulation and unfavorable changes to, or failure by us to comply with, these regulations could substantially harm our business and operating results.
Our alternative fuel and electric trucks, and the sale of motor vehicles in general, are subject to substantial regulation under international, federal, state, and local laws. We expect to incur significant costs in complying with these regulations. Regulations related to the electric vehicle industry and alternative energy are currently evolving and we face risks associated with changes to these regulations, including but not limited to:
•increased subsidies for corn and ethanol production, which could reduce the operating cost of vehicles that use ethanol or a combination of ethanol and gasoline; and
•increased sensitivity by regulators to the needs of established automobile manufacturers with large employment bases, high fixed costs and business models based on the internal combustion engine, which could lead them to pass regulations that could reduce the compliance costs of such established manufacturers or mitigate the effects of government efforts to promote alternative fuel vehicles.
To the extent the laws change, our trucks may not comply with applicable international, federal, state or local laws, which would have an adverse effect on our business. Compliance with changing regulations could be burdensome, time consuming, and expensive. To the extent compliance with new regulations is cost prohibitive, our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results would be adversely affected.
We are subject to various environmental laws and regulations that could impose substantial costs upon us and cause delays in building our manufacturing facilities.
Our operations will be subject to international, federal, state, and/or local environmental laws and regulations, including laws relating to the use, handling, storage, disposal and human exposure to hazardous materials. Environmental and health and safety laws and regulations can be complex, and we expect that we will be affected by future amendments to such laws or other new environmental and health and safety laws and regulations which may require us to change our operations, potentially resulting in a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, and operating results. These laws can give rise to liability for administrative oversight costs, cleanup costs, property damage, bodily injury and fines and penalties. Capital and operating expenses needed to comply with environmental laws and regulations can be significant, and violations may result in substantial fines and penalties, third party damages, suspension of production or a cessation of our operations.
Contamination at properties we will own and operate, we formerly owned or operated or to which hazardous substances were sent by us, may result in liability for us under environmental laws and regulations, including, but not limited to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, which can impose liability for the full amount of remediation-related costs without regard to fault, for the investigation and cleanup of contaminated soil and ground water, for building contamination and impacts to human health and for damages to natural resources. The costs of complying with environmental laws and regulations and any claims concerning noncompliance, or liability with respect to contamination in the future, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or operating results. We may face unexpected delays in obtaining the required permits and approvals in connection with our manufacturing facilities that could require significant time and financial resources and delay our ability to operate these facilities, which would adversely impact our business prospects and operating results.
We are subject to evolving laws, regulations, standards, policies, and contractual obligations related to data privacy and security, and any actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could harm our reputation and brand, subject us to significant fines and liabilities, or otherwise adversely affect our business.
In the course of our operations, we collect, use, store, disclose, transfer and otherwise process personal information from our consumers, employees and third parties with whom we conduct business, including names, accounts, user IDs and passwords, and payment or transaction related information. Additionally, we intend to use our trucks’ electronic systems to log information about each vehicle’s use in order to aid us in vehicle diagnostics, repair and maintenance. Our customers may object to the use of this data, which may increase our vehicle maintenance costs and harm our business prospects. Accordingly, we are subject to or affected by a number of federal, state, local and international laws and regulations, as well as contractual obligations and industry standards, that impose certain obligations and restrictions with respect to data privacy and security and govern our collection, storage, retention, protection, use, processing, transmission, sharing and disclosure of personal
information including that of our employees, customers and other third parties with whom we conduct business. These laws, regulations and standards may be interpreted and applied differently over time and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is possible that they will be interpreted and applied in ways that may have a material and adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The global data protection landscape is rapidly evolving, and implementation standards and enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. We may not be able to monitor and react to all developments in a timely manner. The European Union adopted the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which became effective in May 2018, and California adopted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA, which became effective in January 2020. Both the GDPR and the CCPA impose additional obligations on companies regarding the handling of personal data and provides certain individual privacy rights to persons whose data is collected. Compliance with existing, proposed and recently enacted laws and regulations (including implementation of the privacy and process enhancements called for under the GDPR and CCPA) can be costly, and any failure to comply with these regulatory standards could subject us to legal and reputational risks.
Specifically, the CCPA establishes a privacy framework for covered businesses, including an expansive definition of personal information and data privacy rights for California consumers. The CCPA includes a framework with potentially severe statutory damages for violations and a private right of action for certain data breaches. The CCPA requires covered businesses to provide California consumers with new privacy-related disclosures and new ways to opt-out of certain uses and disclosures of personal information. As we expand our operations, the CCPA may increase our compliance costs and potential liability. Some observers have noted that the CCPA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the United States. Additionally, effective starting on January 1, 2023, the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, will significantly modify the CCPA, including by expanding California consumers’ rights with respect to certain sensitive personal information. The CPRA also creates a new state agency that will be vested with authority to implement and enforce the CCPA and the CPRA.
Other states have begun to propose similar laws. Compliance with applicable privacy and data security laws and regulations is a rigorous and time-intensive process, and we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms to comply with such laws and regulations, which could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices, including our data practices, in a manner adverse to our business. In particular, certain emerging privacy laws are still subject to a high degree of uncertainty as to their interpretation and application. Failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations or to secure personal information could result in investigations, enforcement actions and other proceedings against us, which could result in substantial fines, damages and other liability as well as damage to our reputation and credibility, which could have a negative impact on revenues and profits.
We post public privacy policies and other documentation regarding our collection, processing, use and disclosure of personal information. Although we endeavor to comply with our published policies and other documentation, we may at times fail to do so or may be perceived to have failed to do so. Moreover, despite our efforts, we may not be successful in achieving compliance if our employees, contractors, service providers, vendors or other third parties fail to comply with our published policies and documentation. Such failures could carry similar consequences or subject us to potential local, state and federal action if they are found to be deceptive, unfair or misrepresentative of our actual practices. Claims that we have violated individuals’ privacy rights or failed to comply with data protection laws or applicable privacy notices could, even if we are not found liable, be expensive and time-consuming to defend and could result in adverse publicity that could harm our business.
Most jurisdictions have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals, regulatory authorities and other third parties of security breaches involving certain types of data. Such laws may be inconsistent or may change or additional laws may be adopted. In addition, our agreements with certain customers may require us to notify them in the event of a security breach. Such mandatory disclosures are costly, could lead to negative publicity, penalties or fines, litigation and our customers losing confidence in the effectiveness of our security measures and require us to expend significant capital and other resources to respond to or alleviate problems caused by the actual or perceived security breach. Any of the foregoing could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.
We face risks associated with our international operations, including unfavorable regulatory, political, tax and labor conditions, which could harm our business.
We face risks associated with our international operations, including possible unfavorable regulatory, political, tax and labor conditions, which could harm our business. We anticipate having international operations and subsidiaries in Germany and Italy that are subject to the legal, political, regulatory and social requirements and economic conditions in these jurisdictions. Additionally, as part of our growth strategy, we intend to expand our sales, maintenance and repair services internationally. However, we have no experience to date selling and servicing our vehicles internationally and such expansion would require us to make significant expenditures, including the hiring of local employees and establishing facilities, in advance of generating any revenue. We are subject to a number of risks associated with international business activities that may increase our costs, impact our ability to sell our alternative fuel and electric trucks and require significant management attention. These risks include:
•conforming our trucks to various international regulatory requirements where our trucks are sold, or homologation;
•development and construction of our hydrogen refueling network;
•difficulty in staffing and managing foreign operations;
•difficulties attracting customers in new jurisdictions;
•foreign government taxes, regulations and permit requirements, including foreign taxes that we may not be able to offset against taxes imposed upon us in the United States, and foreign tax and other laws limiting our ability to repatriate funds to the United States;
•fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates and interest rates, including risks related to any interest rate swap or other hedging activities we undertake;
•United States and foreign government trade restrictions, tariffs and price or exchange controls;
•foreign labor laws, regulations and restrictions;
•changes in diplomatic and trade relationships;
•political instability, natural disasters, war or events of terrorism; and
•the strength of international economies.
If we fail to successfully address these risks, our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition could be materially harmed.
Our ability to use net operating losses to reduce future tax payments may be limited by provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and may be subject to further limitation as a result of future transactions.
Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, contain rules that limit the ability of a company that undergoes an ownership change, which is generally any cumulative change in ownership of more than 50% of its stock over a three-year period, to utilize its net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards and certain built-in losses recognized in the years after the ownership change. These rules generally operate by focusing on ownership changes involving stockholders who directly or indirectly own 5% or more of the stock of a company and any change in ownership arising from a new issuance of stock by the company. Generally, if an ownership change occurs, the yearly taxable income limitation on the use of net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards is equal to the product of the applicable long-term tax exempt rate and the value of our stock immediately before the ownership change. As a result, we may be unable to offset our taxable income with net operating losses, or our tax liability with credits, before these losses and credits expire.
In addition, it is possible that future transactions (including issuances of new shares of our common stock and sales of shares of our common stock) will cause us to undergo one or more additional ownership changes. In that event, we may not be able to use our net operating losses from periods prior to this ownership change to offset future taxable income in excess of the annual limitations imposed by Sections 382 and 383.
We face risks related to health epidemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We face various risks related to public health issues, including epidemics, pandemics, and other outbreaks, including the pandemic of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. The impact of COVID-19, including
changes in consumer and business behavior, pandemic fears and market downturns, and restrictions on business and individual activities, has created significant volatility in the global economy and led to reduced economic activity. The spread of COVID-19 has also created a disruption in the manufacturing, delivery and overall supply chain of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, and has led to a global decrease in vehicle sales in markets around the world.
The pandemic has resulted in government authorities implementing numerous measures to try to contain the virus, such as travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, and business shutdowns. These measures may adversely impact our employees and operations and the operations of our customers, suppliers, vendors and business partners, and may negatively impact our sales and marketing activities, the construction schedule of our hydrogen fueling stations and our manufacturing plant in Arizona, and the production schedule of our trucks. For example, the headquarters of our partner, Iveco, located in Italy, was shut down for two months due to COVID-19, and as a result, pilot builds for the BEV truck were delayed. In addition, various aspects of our business, manufacturing plant and hydrogen fueling station building process, cannot be conducted remotely. These measures by government authorities may remain in place for a significant period of time and they are likely to continue to adversely affect our manufacturing and building plans, sales and marketing activities, business and results of operations.
The spread of COVID-19 has caused us to modify our business practices (including employee travel, recommending that all non-essential personnel work from home and cancellation or reduction of physical participation in sales activities, meetings, events and conferences), and we may take further actions as may be required by government authorities or that we determine are in the best interests of our employees, customers, suppliers, vendors and business partners. There is no certainty that such actions will be sufficient to mitigate the risks posed by the virus or otherwise be satisfactory to government authorities. If significant portions of our workforce are unable to work effectively, including due to illness, quarantines, social distancing, government actions or other restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, our operations will be impacted.
The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our business, prospects and results of operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including, but not limited to, the duration and spread of the pandemic, its severity, the actions to contain the virus or treat its impact, including vaccination efforts, and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating activities can resume. The COVID-19 pandemic could limit the ability of our customers, suppliers, vendors and business partners to perform, including third party suppliers’ ability to provide components and materials used in our trucks. We may also experience an increase in the cost of raw materials used in our commercial production of trucks. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, we may continue to experience an adverse impact to our business as a result of its global economic impact, including any recession that has occurred or may occur in the future.
Specifically, difficult macroeconomic conditions, such as decreases in per capita income and level of disposable income, increased and prolonged unemployment or a decline in consumer confidence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reduced spending by businesses, could have a material adverse effect on the demand for our trucks. Under difficult economic conditions, potential customers may seek to reduce spending by forgoing our trucks for other traditional options, and cancel reservations for our trucks. Decreased demand for our trucks, particularly in the United States and Europe, could negatively affect our business.
There are no comparable recent events which may provide guidance as to the effect of the spread of COVID-19 and a pandemic, and, as a result, the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic or a similar health epidemic is highly uncertain and subject to change. We do not yet know the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business, our operations, or the global economy as a whole. However, the effects could have a material impact on our results of operations, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
The unavailability, reduction or elimination of government and economic incentives could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.
We currently, and expect to continue to, benefit from certain government subsidies and economic incentives that support the development and adoption of our vehicles, particularly our BEV and FCEV trucks. Any reduction, elimination or discriminatory application of government subsidies and economic incentives because of policy changes, the reduced need for such subsidies and incentives due to the perceived success of the electric vehicle or other reasons may result in the diminished competitiveness of the alternative fuel and electric vehicle industry generally or our BEV and FCEV trucks in particular. This
could materially and adversely affect the growth of the alternative fuel automobile markets and our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.
These incentives include tax credits, rebates and other incentives for alternative energy production, alternative fuel and electric vehicles, including greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions credits under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GHG Rule and the California Air Resources Board. While these benefits have been available in the past, there is no guarantee these programs will be available in the future. If these tax incentives and other benefits are not available or are reduced or otherwise limited in the future, our financial position could be harmed.
We may not be able to obtain or agree on acceptable terms and conditions for all or a significant portion of the government grants, loans and other incentives for which we may apply. As a result, our business and prospects may be adversely affected.
We anticipate applying for federal and state grants, loans and tax incentives under government programs designed to stimulate the economy and support the production of alternative fuel and electric vehicles and related technologies, as well as the sale of hydrogen. For example, we intend to initially build our hydrogen fueling stations in California, in part because of the incentives that are available. We anticipate that in the future there will be new opportunities for us to apply for grants, loans and other incentives from the United States, state and foreign governments. Our ability to obtain funds or incentives from government sources is subject to the availability of funds under applicable government programs and approval of our applications to participate in such programs. The application process for these funds and other incentives will likely be highly competitive. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in obtaining any of these additional grants, loans and other incentives. If we are not successful in obtaining any of these additional incentives and we are unable to find alternative sources of funding to meet our planned capital needs, our business and prospects could be materially adversely affected.
Further, accepting funding from governmental entities or in-licensing patent rights from third parties that are co-owned with governmental entities may result in the U.S. government having certain rights, including so-called march-in rights, to such patent rights and any products or technology developed from such patent rights. When new technologies are developed with U.S. government funding, the U.S. government generally obtains certain rights in any resulting patents, including a nonexclusive license authorizing the U.S. government to use the invention for noncommercial purposes. These rights may permit the U.S. government to disclose our confidential information to third parties and to exercise march-in rights to use or to allow third parties to use our licensed technology. The U.S. government can exercise its march-in rights if it determines that action is necessary because we fail to achieve the practical application of government-funded technology, because action is necessary to alleviate health or safety needs, to meet requirements of federal regulations, or to give preference to U.S. industry. In addition, our rights in such inventions may be subject to certain requirements to manufacture products embodying such inventions in the United States. Any exercise by the U.S. government of such rights could harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may need to defend ourselves against patent or trademark infringement , or other intellectual property claims, which may be time-consuming and cause us to incur substantial costs.
Companies, organizations or individuals, including our competitors, may own or obtain patents, trademarks or other proprietary rights that would prevent or limit our ability to make, use, develop or sell our vehicles or components, which could make it more difficult for us to operate our business. We may receive inquiries from patent or trademark owners inquiring whether we infringe their proprietary rights. Companies owning patents or other intellectual property rights relating to battery packs, electric motors, fuel cells or electronic power management systems may allege infringement of such rights. In response to a determination that we have infringed upon a third party’s intellectual property rights, we may be required to do one or more of the following:
•cease development, sales, or use of vehicles that incorporate the asserted intellectual property;
•pay substantial damages;
•obtain a license from the owner of the asserted intellectual property right, which license may not be available on reasonable terms or at all; or
•redesign one or more aspects or systems of our trucks.
A successful claim of infringement against us could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition. Any litigation or claims, whether valid or invalid, could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources.
We also plan to license patents and other intellectual property from third parties, including suppliers and service providers, and we may face claims that our use of this in-licensed technology infringes the intellectual property rights of others. In such cases, we will seek indemnification from our licensors. However, our rights to indemnification may be unavailable or insufficient to cover our costs and losses.
We may also face claims challenging our use of open source software and our compliance with open source license terms. While we monitor our use of open source software and try to ensure that none is used in a manner that would require us to disclose or license our proprietary source code or that would otherwise breach the terms of an open source agreement, such use could inadvertently occur, or could be claimed to have occurred. Any breach of such open source license or requirement to disclose or license our proprietary source code could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Our business may be adversely affected if we are unable to protect our intellectual property rights from unauthorized use by third parties.
Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property rights could result in our competitors offering similar products, potentially resulting in the loss of some of our competitive advantage, and a decrease in our revenue which would adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results. Our success depends, at least in part, on our ability to protect our core technology and intellectual property. To accomplish this, we will rely on a combination of patents, trade secrets (including know-how), employee and third-party nondisclosure agreements, copyright, trademarks, intellectual property licenses and other contractual rights to establish and protect our rights in our technology. We cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with each party that may have or have had access to our trade secrets or proprietary information, including our technology and processes. In connection with our collaboration, partnership and license agreements, our rights to use licensed or jointly owned technology and intellectual property under such agreements may be subject to the continuation of and compliance with the terms of those agreements. In some cases, we may not control the prosecution, maintenance or filing of licensed or jointly owned patent rights, or the enforcement of such patents against third parties.
The protection of our intellectual property rights will be important to our future business opportunities. However, the measures we take to protect our intellectual property from unauthorized use by others may not be effective for various reasons, including the following:
•any patent applications we submit may not result in the issuance of patents;
•the scope of our issued patents may not be broad enough to protect our proprietary rights;
•our issued patents may be challenged and/or invalidated by our competitors;
•the costs associated with enforcing patents, confidentiality and invention agreements or other intellectual property rights may make aggressive enforcement impracticable;
•current and future competitors may circumvent our patents; and
•our in-licensed patents may be invalidated, or the owners of these patents may breach our license arrangements.
For example, we are currently enforcing certain of our issued U.S. patents and other intellectual property rights against Tesla. Such litigation could result in such patents being challenged and/or invalidated, expose us to counterclaims of intellectual property infringement and result in a substantial diversion of our management’s attention and resources.
Patent, trademark, and trade secret laws vary significantly throughout the world. Some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as do the laws of the United States. Further, policing the unauthorized use of our intellectual property in foreign jurisdictions may be difficult. Therefore, our intellectual property rights may not be as strong or as easily enforced outside of the United States.
Our patent applications may not issue as patents, which may have a material adverse effect on our ability to prevent others from commercially exploiting products similar to ours.
We cannot be certain that we are the first inventor of the subject matter to which we have filed a particular patent application, or if we are the first party to file such a patent application. If another party has filed a patent application to the same subject matter as we have, we may not be entitled to the protection sought by the patent application. Further, the scope of protection of issued patent claims is often difficult to determine. As a result, we cannot be certain that the patent applications that we file will issue, or that our issued patents will afford protection against competitors with similar technology. In addition, our competitors may design around our issued patents, which may adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or operating results.
We may be subject to risks associated with autonomous driving technology.
Our trucks can be designed with connectivity for future installation of an autonomous hardware suite and we plan to partner with a third-party software provider in the future to potentially implement autonomous capabilities. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to identify a third party to provide the necessary hardware and software to enable driverless Level 4 or Level 5 autonomy in an acceptable timeframe, on terms satisfactory to us, or at all. Autonomous driving technologies are subject to risks and there have been accidents and fatalities associated with such technologies. The safety of such technologies depends in part on user interaction and users, as well as other drivers on the roadways, may not be accustomed to using or adapting to such technologies. To the extent accidents associated with our autonomous driving systems occur, we could be subject to liability, negative publicity, government scrutiny and further regulation. Any of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.
The evolution of the regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles is outside of our control and we cannot guarantee that our trucks will achieve the requisite level of autonomy to enable driverless systems within our projected timeframe, if ever.
There are currently no federal U.S. regulations pertaining to the safety of self-driving vehicles. However, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has established recommended guidelines. Certain states have legal restrictions on self-driving vehicles, and many other states are considering them. This patchwork increases the difficulty in legal compliance for our vehicles. In Europe, certain vehicle safety regulations apply to self-driving braking and steering systems, and certain treaties also restrict the legality of certain higher levels of self-driving vehicles. Self-driving laws and regulations are expected to continue to evolve in numerous jurisdictions in the U.S. and foreign countries and may restrict autonomous driving features that we may deploy.
Unfavorable publicity, or a failure to respond effectively to adverse publicity, could harm our reputation and adversely affect our business.
As an early stage company, maintaining and enhancing our brand and reputation is critical to our ability to attract and retain employees, partners, customers and investors, and to mitigate legislative or regulatory scrutiny, litigation and government investigations.
Recent significant negative publicity has adversely affected our brand and reputation and our stock price. Negative publicity may result from allegations of fraud, improper business practices, employee misconduct, unfair employment practices or any other matters that could give rise to litigation and/or governmental investigations. Unfavorable publicity relating to us or those affiliated with us, including our former executive chairman, has and may in the future adversely affect public perception of the entire company. Adverse publicity and its effect on overall public perceptions of our brand, or our failure to respond effectively to adverse publicity, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
In September 2020, an entity published an article containing certain allegations against us. This article and the public response to such article, as well as other negative publicity, have adversely affected our brand and reputation as well as our stock price, which makes it difficult for us to attract and retain employees, partners and customers, reduces confidence in our products and services, harms investor confidence and the market price of our securities, invites legislative and regulatory scrutiny and has resulted in litigation and governmental investigations. As a result, customers, potential customers, partners and potential partners have failed to award us additional business, cancelled or sought to cancel existing contracts, and directed future business to our competitors, and may in the future take similar actions, and investors may invest in our competitors instead of us. See Note 12, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and to Note 14 in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020
for additional information.
The successful rehabilitation of our brand will depend largely on regaining a good reputation, meeting our vehicle commercialization schedules, satisfying the requirements of customers, meeting our fueling commitments under our future bundled lease arrangements or other customer arrangements, maintaining a high quality of service under our future bundled lease arrangements, improving our compliance programs and continuing our marketing and public relations efforts. Expenses related to our brand promotion, reputation building, and media strategies have been significant and our efforts may not be successful. We anticipate that other competitors and potential competitors will expand their offerings, which will make maintaining and enhancing our reputation and brand increasingly more difficult and expensive. If we fail to successfully rehabilitate our brand in the current or future competitive environment or if events similar to the negative publicity occur in the future, our brand and reputation would be further damaged and our business may suffer.
Although we maintain insurance for the disruption of our business and director and officer liability insurance, these insurance policies may not be sufficient to cover all of our potential losses and may not continue to be available to us on acceptable terms, if at all.
Social media platforms present risks and challenges that could cause damage to our brand and reputation, and which could subject us to liability, penalties and other restrictive sanctions.
Social media platforms present risks and challenges that have resulted, and may in the future result, in damage to our brand and reputation, and which could subject us to liability, penalties and other restrictive sanctions. Our internal policies and procedures regarding social media, have not been, and may not in the future be, effective in preventing the inappropriate use of social media platforms, including blogs, social media websites and other forms of Internet-based communications. These platforms allow individuals access to a broad audience of consumers, investors and other interested persons. The considerable expansion in the use of social media over recent years has increased the volume and speed at which negative publicity arising from these events can be generated and spread, and we may be unable to timely respond to, correct any inaccuracies in, or adequately address negative perceptions arising from such coverage. The use of such platforms by our officers and other employees and former employees has adversely impacted, and could in the future adversely impact, our costs, and our brand and reputation, and has resulted, and could in the future result, in the disclosure of confidential information, litigation and regulatory inquiries. Any such litigation or regulatory inquiries may result in significant penalties and other restrictive sanctions and adverse consequences. In addition, negative or inaccurate posts or comments about us on social media platforms could damage our reputation, brand image and goodwill, and we could lose the confidence of our customers and partners, regardless of whether such information is true and regardless of any number of measures we may take to address them. We are currently party to litigation and regulatory proceedings related in part to social media statements. See Note 12, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and to Note 14 in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020 for additional information.
General Risk Factors
Concentration of ownership among our executive officers and directors and their affiliates may prevent new investors from influencing significant corporate decisions.
As of March 31, 2021, Mark A. Russell, our President, Chief Executive Officer and director, beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, approximately 12.4%, of our outstanding common stock, and our directors and executive officers as a group beneficially own approximately 22.5% of our outstanding common stock. As a result, these stockholders will be able to exercise a significant level of control over all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors, any amendment of our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation, or our Certificate of Incorporation, and approval of significant corporate transactions. This control could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in management and will make the approval of certain transactions difficult or impossible without the support of these stockholders.
As of September 20, 2020, Trevor R. Milton, our founder and former executive chairman, beneficially owned, directly or indirectly, approximately 23.9% of our outstanding common stock. In connection with his departure in September 2020, for a period of three years from September 20, 2020, Mr. Milton has agreed to certain standstill provisions, including, among other things, agreeing not to (i) acquire ownership (beneficial or otherwise) of more than 19 million shares of our outstanding
common stock in the aggregate, together with shares held by his affiliates and associates, (ii) propose or effect any extraordinary transaction with respect to us, (iii) solicit any proxy or consent with respect to the election or removal of directors or any other proposal, (iv) seek representation on our board of directors or the removal of any member of our board of directors, or (v) submit any stockholder proposal. In addition, for a period of three years from September 20, 2020, Mr. Milton has agreed to vote his shares of our common stock (x) in favor of the slate of directors recommended by our board of directors at any meeting of our stockholders and (y) against the election of any nominee for director not recommended and nominated by our board of directors for election at such meeting. These standstill and voting restrictions could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in management and will make the approval of certain transactions difficult or impossible without the support of our executive officers and directors and their affiliates.
We have never paid dividends on our capital stock, and we do not anticipate paying dividends in the foreseeable future.
We have never paid dividends on any of our capital stock and currently intend to retain any future earnings to fund the growth of our business. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors, and will depend on our financial condition, operating results, capital requirements, general business conditions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our common stock will be the sole source of gain for the foreseeable future.
Our stock price is volatile, and you may not be able to sell shares of our common stock at or above the price you paid.
The trading price of our common stock is volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. For example, the trading price of our common stock declined recently following the release of the Hindenburg article, which contains certain allegations against us. These factors include, but are not limited to:
•our progress on achievement of business milestones and objectives;
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in operating results;
•failure to meet or exceed financial estimates and projections of the investment community or that we provide to the public;
•issuance of new or updated research or reports by securities analysts or changed recommendations for our stock or the transportation industry in general;
•announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, collaborations or capital commitments;
•operating and share price performance of other companies that investors deem comparable to us;
•our focus on long-term goals over short-term results;
•the timing and magnitude of our investments in the growth of our business;
•actual or anticipated changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;
•additions or departures of key management or other personnel;
•disputes or other developments related to our intellectual property or other proprietary rights, including litigation;
•our ability to market new and enhanced products and technologies on a timely basis;
•sales of substantial amounts of our common stock by our directors, executive officers or significant stockholders or the perception that such sales could occur;
•changes in our capital structure, including future issuances of securities or the incurrence of debt; and
•general economic, political and market conditions.
In addition, the stock market in general, and The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC in particular, has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies.
The closing price of our common stock on Nasdaq ranged from $13.75 to $79.73 following the closing of the Business Combination on June 3, 2020 through March 31, 2021. In September 2020, an entity published an article containing certain allegations against us that we believe has negatively impacted the trading price of our common stock. The price of our common stock also decreased substantially following public announcements made by us. In addition, broad market and industry factors, including COVID-19, may seriously affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance.
Any investment in our common stock is subject to extreme volatility and could result in the loss of your entire investment. In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a particular company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. This litigation, which has and may in the future be instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources. See Note 12, Commitments and Contingencies, to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and Note 14 in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020 for additional information.
We will continue to incur significant increased expenses and administrative burdens as a public company, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We face increased legal, accounting, administrative and other costs and expenses as a public company that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,, including the requirements of Section 404, as well as rules and regulations subsequently implemented by the SEC, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and the rules and regulations promulgated and to be promulgated thereunder, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the securities exchanges, impose additional reporting and other obligations on public companies. Compliance with public company requirements will increase costs and make certain activities more time-consuming. A number of those requirements require us to carry out activities we have not done previously. For example, we created new board committees and have adopted new internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures. In addition, we will continue to incur expenses associated with SEC reporting requirements. Furthermore, if any issues in complying with those requirements are identified (for example, if our independent auditors identify a material weakness or significant deficiency in our internal control over financial reporting), we could incur additional costs rectifying those issues, and the existence of those issues could adversely affect our reputation, our stock price, or investor perceptions of us. In addition, we have obtained director and officer liability insurance. Risks associated with our status as a public company may make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers. The additional reporting and other obligations imposed by these rules and regulations increase legal and financial compliance costs and the costs of related legal, accounting and administrative activities. These increased costs will require us to divert a significant amount of money that could otherwise be used to expand the business and achieve strategic objectives. Advocacy efforts by stockholders and third parties may also prompt additional changes in governance and reporting requirements, which could further increase costs.
Our failure to timely and effectively implement controls and procedures required by Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act could have a material adverse effect on our business.
As a public company, we will be required to provide management’s attestation on internal controls. The standards required for a public company under Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are significantly more stringent than those that were required of us as a private company. We will need to continue to implement additional finance, accounting, and business operating systems, procedures, and controls as we grow our business and organization and to satisfy existing reporting requirements. If we fail to maintain or implement adequate controls, if we are unable to complete the required Section 404 assessment as to the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting in future Form 10-K filings, or if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to provide us with an unqualified report as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in future Form 10-K filings, the market price of our stock could decline and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC, the Nasdaq or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.
We recently identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting and determined that our disclosure controls and procedures were ineffective which, if not remediated, may result in material misstatements of our consolidated financial statements or cause us to fail to meet our periodic reporting obligations.
In connection with the restatement as discussed in Note 1, Restatement of Consolidated Financial Statements of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements of our Annual Report on 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020, management concluded there was a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a
reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements would not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.
We identified a material weakness in our controls over the accounting for private warrants issued in connection with the initial public offering of VectoIQ and recorded to our consolidated financial statements as a result of the Business Combination with VectoIQ and the reverse recapitalization that occurred on June 3, 2020. Our controls to evaluate the accounting for complex financial instruments, such as for warrants issued by VectoIQ, did not operate effectively to appropriately apply the provisions of ASC 815-40. This material weakness resulted in a material error in our accounting for warrants related to the private warrants recorded as part of the Business Combination and a restatement of our previously issued financial statements more fully described in Note 1, Restatement of Consolidated Financial Statements, to the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements of our Annual Report on 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020. Based on the material weakness, management concluded that, as of December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, our internal control over financial reporting was not effective and our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective.
To remediate the material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, management implemented additional review procedures, and additional training and enhancements to the accounting policy related to the accounting for equity and liability instruments (including those with warrants) to determine proper accounting in accordance with GAAP.
Although our remediation plan has been implemented and is expected to be completed as of the filing date of our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, the material weakness cannot be considered remediated until the controls operate for a sufficient period and management has concluded, through testing, that our internal controls are operating effectively. While management believes that the remedial efforts will resolve the identified material weakness, there is no assurance that management’s remedial efforts conducted to date will be sufficient or that additional remedial actions will not be necessary. In addition, there can be no assurance that additional material weaknesses will not be identified in the future. If we are unsuccessful in remediating our existing or any future material weaknesses or other deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures, investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting and the accuracy and timing of our financial reporting and disclosures and our business, reputation, results of operations, liquidity, financial condition, ability to access the capital markets, perceptions of our creditworthiness, and stock price could be adversely affected. In addition, we may be unable to maintain or regain compliance with applicable securities laws or stock market listing requirements. We also face potential for litigation or other disputes which may include, among others, claims invoking the federal and state securities laws, contractual claims or other claims arising from the restatement and material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting and the preparation of our financial statements. Any such litigation or dispute, whether successful or not, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our warrants are accounted for as liabilities and the changes in value of our warrants could have a material effect on our financial results.
In connection with the restatement described above, our warrants are classified as liabilities. Under this accounting treatment, we are required to measure the fair value of the warrants at the end of each reporting period and recognize changes in the fair value from the prior period in our operating results for the current period. As a result of the recurring fair value measurement, our financial statements and results of operations may fluctuate quarterly based on factors which are outside our control. We expect that we will recognize non-cash gains or losses due to the quarterly fair valuation of our warrants and that such gains or losses could be material.
Our management has limited experience in operating a public company.
Our executive officers have limited experience in the management of a publicly traded company. Mark Russell, who joined us in February 2019 and assumed the responsibilities of the Chief Executive Officer in June 2020, is the only member of our management team who has substantial prior experience as an executive officer of a public company. Our management team may not successfully or effectively manage our transition to a public company that is subject to significant regulatory oversight and reporting obligations under federal securities laws. Their limited experience in dealing with the increasingly complex laws pertaining to public companies could be a significant disadvantage in that it is likely that an increasing amount of their time may
be devoted to these activities which will result in less time being devoted to the management and growth of the company. We may not have adequate personnel with the appropriate level of knowledge, experience, and training in the accounting policies, practices or internal controls over financial reporting required of public companies in the United States. The development and implementation of the standards and controls necessary for the company to achieve the level of accounting standards required of a public company in the United States may require costs greater than expected. It is possible that we will be required to expand our employee base and hire additional employees to support our operations as a public company which will increase our operating costs in future periods.
Our Certificate of Incorporation provides, subject to limited exceptions, that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for certain stockholder litigation matters, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or stockholders.
Our Certificate of Incorporation requires, to the fullest extent permitted by law, that derivative actions brought in our name, actions against directors, officers and employees for breach of fiduciary duty and other similar actions may be brought in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware or, if that court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, another federal or state court situated in the State of Delaware. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the forum provisions in our Certificate of Incorporation. In addition, our Certificate of Incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws, or our Bylaws, will provide that the federal district courts of the United States shall be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action under the Securities Act and the Exchange Act.
In March 2020, the Delaware Supreme Court issued a decision in Salzburg et al. v. Sciabacucchi, which found that an exclusive forum provision providing for claims under the Securities Act to be brought in federals court is facially valid under Delaware law. It is unclear whether this decision will be appealed, or what the final outcome of this case will be. We intend to enforce this provision, but we do not know whether courts in other jurisdictions will agree with this decision or enforce it.
This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or any of our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders, which may discourage lawsuits with respect to such claims. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our Certificate of Incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.
If securities or industry analysts issue an adverse recommendation regarding our stock or do not publish research or reports about our company, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will depend in part on the research and reports that equity research analysts publish about us and our business. We do not control these analysts or the content and opinions included in their reports. Securities analysts may elect not to provide research coverage of our company and such lack of research coverage may adversely affect the market price of our common stock. The price of our common stock could also decline if one or more equity research analysts downgrade our common stock, change their price targets, issue other unfavorable commentary or cease publishing reports about us or our business. For example, in September 2020, an entity published an article containing certain allegations against us that we believe has negatively impacted the trading price of our common stock. If one or more equity research analysts cease coverage of our company, we could lose visibility in the market, which in turn could cause our stock price to decline.
Item 6. Exhibits
|101.INS||Inline XBRL Instance.|
|101.SCH||Inline XBRL Extension Calculation Linkbase.|
|101.CAL||Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Calculation Linkbase.|
|101.DEF||Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Definition Linkbase.|
|101.LAB||Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Label Linkbase.|
|101.PRE||Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Presentation Linkbase.|
|104||Cover Page Interactive Data File (formatted as Inline XBRL).|
^ In accordance with Item 601(b)(32)(ii) of Regulation S-K and SEC Release No. 34-47986, the certifications furnished in Exhibits 32.1 and 32.2 hereto are deemed to accompany this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and will not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) or deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing under the Exchange Act or the Securities Act of 1933 except to the extent that the registrant specifically incorporates it by reference.
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned thereunto duly authorized.
|By:||/s/ Mark A. Russell|
|Mark A. Russell|
|President and Chief Executive Officer|
|Principal Executive Officer|
|By:||/s/ Kim J. Brady|
|Kim J. Brady|
|Chief Financial Officer|
|Principal Financial and Accounting Officer|
|Date: May 7, 2021|