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Nikola Has Given Up Predicting Its Short-Term Future

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Nikola, a startup electric truck maker with a very, uh, colorful past, released its third-quarter financial results on Thursday, as public companies are required to do. Nikola reported $24.2 million in revenue for the quarter, which isn’t great for a company with a market cap of around $1.3 billion, but that revenue number was actually slightly more than Wall Street expected.

Nikola also said it has delivered 111 of its electric Tre trucks this year, and that it would not be meeting its goal of delivering at least 300 by the end of the year. Making cars is hard, etc. More interesting, was what Nikola executives did not say, via Reuters:

The company was expected to deliver between 300 and 500 Tre battery electric vehicles this year by cashing in on a shift to electric trucks by logistic companies looking to cut ownership costs and meet sustainability goals.

Nikola executives said in a conference call with analysts after its third-quarter results that it will not provide fourth quarter and full-year forecasts.

Nikola has given up, in other words, guessing just how production will go this year, probably because we’re already a month into the fourth quarter and Nikola knows that it is not going all that well. That is also probably because it’s going to miss its previously-stated target, and it’s no fun making predictions about your company that you later have to admit missed the mark.

As a practical matter, since Nikola seems to be a more buttoned-down version of itself than in prior years, when wild predictions were more the norm, maybe Nikola has learned that at the end of the day the prediction, itself, is pointless. At the end of the day, you’ve got to churn out the product, which is easy enough to count, and then everyone can see how Nikola actually did.

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