After months of bad news and difficult times electric truck start up Nikola has announced it has produced two electric test trucks for a Southern California trucking company ahead of full-scale production in 2022.

If the pilot program goes well, Nikola plans to deliver 30 Tre BEVs and 70 Tre hydrogen fuel-cell trucks to the same company in the next two years.

After the bumpy ride of the past year, Nikola founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton, stepped down amid fraud investigations by the US Federal government, which prompted General Motors to scale back a deal with the Arizona based start up.

Milton was charged with fraud earlier this year, and Nikola switched its focus from its Badger pickup (originally intended to be built by GM) to its planned electric semi trucks. Late last week Nikola announced that it delivered the first examples of its Tre battery-electric trucks as part of a pilot program with one of its customers.

The two Tre BEV trucks went to Total Transportation Services Inc, a trucking company operating in Los Angeles and at the Long Beach port.

The Tre BEV has a claimed range of 600 km thanks to a 753.0-kWh battery, and a total of 645 horsepower allows for a claimed top speed of 120km/h.

Nikola says that the truck can charge from 10 to 80 per cent in two hours at up to 240 kW, and it has a gross combined vehicle weight rating of 37.1 tonnes. Nikola is also planning a Tre FCEV with a hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain that it claims can travel up to 800km.

TTSI has a letter of intent with Nikola for 100 trucks following a trial program of two Tre BEVs and two Tre FCEVs.

Nikola hasn’t said when TTSI will receive its Tre FCEV pilot trucks, but after the program ends, Nikola aims to deliver 30 Tre BEVs to the company in 2022 and 70 Tre FCEVs in 2023.

Nikola and European partner Iveco also have a deal with the Hamburg Port Authority in Germany for the delivery of 25 Tre BEVs in 2022.