Tesla competitor Nikola CEO: Never been a better time to go public for zero-emission vehicle companies

'The public was dying to buy stock,' electric truckmaker says

Nikola Motors CEO Trevor Milton told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo there has never been a better time to go public for zero-emission vehicle companies.

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The Arizona-based electric truckmaker announced Tuesday that it will go public in a merger with publicly traded investment company VectoIQ Acquisition.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The combined company will be valued at more than $3.3 billion.

"We know right now, we're the leaders is electrification for heavy-duty transport, and we want to make sure because we're first that we got the same type of value that Tesla saw on the automotive side," Milton told Bartiromo.

Nikola One / Nikola Motor Company

Milton, who has previously called his company the "Amazon of electric vehicles," acknowledged that Nikola is going public before other companies typically do. It was formally announced as a company in May 2016.

"We want people to have complete transparency now, and we want to make sure that our money is protected," Milton said. "That money in the private sector became very difficult and you had to give up a lot, and the public was dying to buy stock into Nikola."

ValueAct Capital founder Jefferey Ubben, whose investment firm has a stake in Nikola, told Bartiromo that other reasons to go public early are to "have an audit committee and hit milestones and be profitable sooner."

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Milton explained Nikola is building 700 hydrogen stations around America, which will fill not only Nikola trucks but also its competitors, as well.

"The way to think about the growth of Nikola and the value of Nikola is: When you buy a diesel truck today, you pay $150,000 for the truck, and the oil company makes $1 million. That's how much they make off of every truck sold," Milton said.

Nikola One grill / Nikola Motor Company

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"Nikola is very unique because I always tell people that we're not a truck manufacturer, although we are," he continued. "We're really an energy-tech company, so in seven years from now, Nikola will become the largest energy consumer in the world. That's insane to think about, and it's because of how much energy is consumed in both charging electric battery trucks and also our hydrogen trucks, and we control that whole infrastructure."

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