Nikola CEO confident of closing deal with energy partner, talks with GM continue

U.S. Nikola’s logo is pictured at an event held to present CNH’s new full-electric and Hydrogen fuel-cell battery trucks in partnership with U.S. Nikola event in Turin, Italy, December 3, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

DETROIT (Reuters) – Nikola Corp NKLA.O Chief Executive Mark Russell said on Wednesday he remains confident the electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicle startup will close a deal with an energy partner and talks to finalize an alliance with General Motors Co GM.N continue.

There had been reports Nikola’s talks with energy firms including BP Plc BP.L had stalled, but Russell told Reuters he is confident Nikola will still announce by year-end a collaboration with an energy firm to build hydrogen-refueling stations.

“We’ve talked to all of those folks and those discussions are continuing,” he said in an interview. “We’re confident that we’re still going to hit the milestones laid out there of announcing a partner by the end of the year and getting stations going starting next year.”

Short-seller Hindenburg Research released a scathing report on Sept. 10 that called Nikola a “fraud” and on Wednesday the company released a statement defending its business model, technology and partnerships.

Russell repeated Nikola’s comments from Tuesday that talks with GM continue but declined further comment. Nikola had previously said it expected to finalize terms prior to Sept. 30. GM affirmed on Wednesday that the talks with Nikola continue.

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