Nikola Tweets 100% Reservation Refunds, Pokes at Rival Tesla

Nikola took to twitter to boast about its success and poke at its rival Tesla. However, with its hydrogen-electric trucks only due to start production in 2021, the startup may want to proceed with a little more caution.

Nikola Motors drew some attention on April 14 when it took to its official Twitter account to boast about its success and possibly poke at rival Tesla. Through two lengthy tweets, the electric vehicle firm pointed to its $8 billion in preorders, 100% refunds on reservations and the fact that, unlike competitor Tesla, the company would not use deposit money to operate its business.

Bold statements

The startup also tweeted that their Nikola One and Two trucks could now be reserved "without any deposit." The comments were made despite the fact that the company is only expected to start production of the trucks in 2021, a fact that could complicate delivery timelines and force Nikola to review its promises.

In contrast, production of the Tesla Semi is expected to begin in 2019, already putting the company ahead of the ambitious startup rival. In addition, Nikola's plans, revealed last January, to build a $1 billion hydrogen-electric semi truck factory in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, require a move from Salt Lake City that is only set to be completed in October of 2018.

Finally, there is the important fact that Nikola's trucks require an elaborate network of hydrogen refueling stations. The startup has announced it will deploy 364 hydrogen stations across the U.S. and Canada within ten years, a goal that is certain to be much easier said than done.

A history of daring statements

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However, Nikola’s bold posts did not come as much of a surprise as the company has a history of making inflated statements. CEO Trevor Milton told Fortune during an interview in November of 2017 that “everything people know about trucking is going to be changed because Nikola has changed it.”

Nikola, however, does seem to partner with companies that believe in its daring vision. A press release published by Nikola on April 3 from Nel ASA, stating the hydrogen company had received additional purchase orders from the startup, featured a quote from Chief Executive Officer of Nel Jon André Løkke saying the firm looked “forward to supplying the demo stations, which will lay the groundwork for the world’s largest, most efficient network of low-cost hydrogen production and fueling sites."

Time will tell if Nikola is proven right. In the meantime, it might serve the company well to remember that a little humility goes a long way.