The rapid development of the electric vehicle industry is not complete without scandals, which is understandable: the entrance ticket price is much lower than in the case of internal combustion engines, and the flight for imagination in terms of design and capabilities is simply enormous. Therefore, various startups in this industry (and much more in related ones) are growing day by day. But not everyone reaches the stage of mass production. It may so happen that the much-hyped startup Nikola Corporation, which promised to put electric and hydrogen tractors on the stream, as well as an electric pickup truck, is just a fiction and a simulation of innovation in order to obtain investments that are subsequently cashed out.
Analytical company Hindenburg Research has come up with revelatory material against Nikola. The report talks about massive cases of Nikola forgery and outright lies “About their technologies”… Analysts claim that they have collected an extensive database of evidence of fraud, based on records of phone calls, text messages, e-mails. “We have never seen this level of deception in a public company, especially this size. Trevor Milton managed to turn false statements made over ten years into a public company worth about $ 20 billion, ” – with these words the report begins. And then, directly, the facts.
For example, a video titled “Nikola One in Motion,” which showed a Nikola One truck moving along a road at high speed, was called “Carefully thought out staging”: Nikola workers towed a truck to the top of a hill on a remote stretch of road and just filmed it rolling down the hill.
Last October, Nikola promised to revolutionize the battery industry by buying some new technology from another company. But the deal fell through when Nikola realized that, firstly, the technology was completely useless, and secondly, the president of the battery company had deceived … NASA a few months before. Interestingly, after the whole truth about the “miracle technology” was revealed, Trevor continued to publicly advertise it.
Or here’s another fact. In one of his presentations, Trevor claimed that his company was able to reduce the cost of hydrogen production by 81% compared to competitive solutions, and that Nikola already produces hydrogen (the company planned two versions of its truck – a purely electric and a hydrogen power plant, which would independently generated electricity on board). But Nikola later admitted that she did not produce hydrogen at all.
Trevor appointed his brother Travis “Director of Hydrogen Production / Infrastructure”but previously Travis was involved in … pouring concrete driveways and performing various subcontracting work on home renovations in Hawaii.
Claims of ownership of Nikola’s energy-producing assets are also fiction. Trevor claimed that 3.5 megawatts of solar panels are installed on the roof of Nikola headquarters, however aerial photographs of the roof show that these panels do not exist. Nikola also announced that it owns its own gas wells, but they are not reflected in the company’s assets.
Trevor claimed that Nikola develops all the key components of its promising electric vehicles in-house, but in reality, they seem to be either bought from third-party companies, or simply licensed. For example, Nikola buys inverters from Cascadia: in a video showing inverters allegedly made in-house, Nikola hid the Cascadia sticker with a piece of masking tape.
All in all, there is more than enough data to raise doubts about Nikola, its development and leadership. Not surprisingly, following the publication of the Hindenburg Research report, Nikola Corp. fell 13%. However, it should be noted that Hindenburg Research itself can benefit from this situation, as it owns Nikola shares and has a short position on the exchange. Analysts have indicated this in their report.
Together with Nikola shares, General Motors shares went down, but not so significantly – by 5.6%. Previously, the two companies agreed to jointly produce electric vehicles. It is natural that negative news about one (and there is plenty of negative news in the report) affected the other as well.
Nikola itself denies all accusations of lies and falsifications. “Nikola has been audited by some of the most reputable companies and investors in the world.”– said in a statement from the manufacturer Bloomberg News. “We are on track for success and will not flinch over a report that contains misleading information to manipulate our stock.”