Electric heavy-truck maker Hyzon Motors (HYZN -0.86%) said it has begun shipping its fuel-cell-powered heavy trucks to customers, a significant milestone it achieved ahead of some better-known rival start-ups. 

Hyzon on Wednesday morning reported a net loss of $9.4 million in the second quarter, or $0.10 per share, versus a slight loss in the second quarter of 2020. Hyzon had no revenue in the quarter, but it made strong progress on its go-to-market plan -- enough progress that the second quarter will almost certainly be its last as a "pre-revenue" company.

Highlights of Hyzon's second quarter

Hyzon, based in Rochester, New York, is a spinoff of Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, which has been developing hydrogen fuel cells for over 15 years. The company has a factory in the Netherlands that has begun small-scale manufacturing, another in Chicago that will be operational soon, and a third plant under construction in Rochester that will be up and running by mid-2022.

A Hyzon electric semi truck outside of its Netherlands factory.

Hyzon's Dutch factory has begun delivering vehicles to customers in Europe. Image source: Hyzon Motors.

Auto investors should note that Hyzon doesn't build trucks and buses from scratch. The company manufactures zero-emissions drivetrains and installs them on chassis from major truck and bus makers, an approach that greatly reduced its time to market and that allows it to supply customers with a range of vehicle types at reasonable costs.

Hyzon may not have generated any revenue in the second quarter, but CEO Craig Knight emphasized that the company did make significant progress on its business plan. Its milestones in recent months have included booking orders from customers in Europe and Australia for a range of vehicles including garbage trucks, buses, and tractor-trailers for an Austrian supermarket chain and Netherlands-based dairy giant Royal FrieslandCampina. 

Of course, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks require hydrogen refueling stations, and that's also part of Hyzon's plan. In June, the company hired McKinsey & Company veteran Parker Meeks to lead the buildout of a global hydrogen refueling network that -- the company hopes -- will eventually include 1,000 stations in Europe, Australia, and North America. 

Looking ahead: Hyzon's expectations for the second half of 2021

  • Hyzon confirmed its prior sales guidance: It still expects to deliver 85 vehicles in 2021.
  • Hyzon expects its first vehicle revenue to occur in the current (third) quarter.
  • The company's first U.S.-assembled trucks will begin on-road trials with U.S. customers before the end of the year.

Hyzon also confirmed its Chicago facility will begin production in the fourth quarter of 2021, and its Rochester plant is on track to begin production in the second quarter of 2022.

The raw numbers

Metric Q2 2021 Q2 2020
Adjusted earnings (loss) before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization ($12.01 million) (About $293,000)
Research and development spending $3.5 million About $13,000
Operating profit (loss) ($9.27 million) ($13.05 million)
Net income (loss) ($9.71 million) (About $172,000)
Net income (loss) per share ($0.10) $0.00

Data source: Hyzon Motors. Adjusted figures exclude stock-based compensation of about $580,000 in the second quarter of 2021. 

Hyzon had $517 million in cash as of Aug. 10. The company had $32.3 million in cash as of June 30, before its merger with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition closed, and $17.14 million in cash as of Dec. 31, 2020.