USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren has signed a letter of intent to purchase 10 battery-electric trucks from Thompson Truck Centers, the exclusive sales and service dealer for electric vehicle maker Nikola.
The trucks, with the model name Tre, are planned to be the first zero-emission vehicles in USA Truck's fleet, the company said in a news release. Thompson will provide maintenance and energy infrastructure required to operate the Nikola trucks, which are expected to be delivered in the first half of 2022.
The agreement also includes the option to purchase 90 additional Nikola zero-emission trucks over the next two years, the release says.
"The partnership with Nikola and Thompson advances our critically important (environmental, social and governance) initiatives and further demonstrates our commitment to sustainability now and in the future," James Reed, president and CEO of USA Truck, said.
With more than 2,000 employees, USA Truck is one of the nation's largest over-the-road truckload carriers and brokers.
"USA Truck is committed to advancing a more sustainable and efficient approach to transportation, and we are excited to integrate our Nikola Tre BEVs in their operations with market-leading support by Thompson," Nikola President, Energy & Commercial Pablo Koziner said.
The deal with Nikola was announced weeks after the electric vehicle maker agreed to pay $125 million to settle charges that it defrauded investors by misleading them about its products. The SEC alleged that Nikola, which went public in 2020 through a SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company, sought to inflate its stock price (NASDAQ: NKLA) before it had produced a single vehicle.
As part of the settlement, the company neither admitted nor denied the SEC's findings. It also agreed to cooperate with the SEC's ongoing investigation.
Nikola said in a statement that it has taken action to seek reimbursement from its founder, Trevor Milton, for costs and damages in connection with government and regulatory investigations.