Shares of electric-truck start-up Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) opened higher on Wednesday, after a General Motors (NYSE:GM) executive praised the company and said that partnership negotiations are still underway.
As of 10:30 a.m. EDT, Nikola's shares were up about 9.4% from Tuesday's closing price.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday morning, GM president Mark Reuss said that his company is continuing to "work the opportunity" of a partnership with Nikola.
The two companies announced on Sept. 8 that GM would provide Nikola with batteries and fuel cells for its heavy trucks, and that it would engineer and build Nikola's Badger electric pickup, in exchange for a $2 billion stake. But Nikola's stock has since fallen by roughly half after a short-seller alleged that the company had misled investors, throwing the deal into question.
Auto investors have seen the GM deal as key to Nikola's growth plan, particularly in the wake of the short-seller's allegations and the related departure of the company's founder, Trevor Milton. Reuss' comments raised hopes that a deal will be completed by GM's Dec. 3 deadline; that's why Nikola's stock opened higher today.
Reuss said that Nikola offers GM an excellent opportunity to put its fuel cells, developed in a joint venture with Honda Motor, into heavy Class 7 and Class 8 trucks. The deal would give the GM-Honda venture added scale and could provide extensive data once Nikola's trucks are on the road.
In a separate interview with Bloomberg, Reuss said that Nikola's Badger will have a different powertrain from the one that GM will use in its Hummer electric pickup, revealed by GM on Tuesday night. While the Badger is expected to combine batteries with a hydrogen fuel cell, the GMC Hummer EV will debut in the fall of 2021 with a 1,000 horsepower, three-motor battery-electric drive system, GM said on Tuesday.