Nikola Delivers Electric Semi Trucks in California

Having recently posted an article highlighting some of Nikola’s bad behavior, it’s only fair that the company receives some acknowledgment for delivering on a promise. Last week, the company shipped the first examples of its Tre battery-electric trucks in California.

Two test vehicles were issued to Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI) to see how the Tre handles running deliveries in and out of Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. The trucking firm has a letter of intent from Nikola to purchase 100 trucks following a trial program of two Tre BEVs and their fuel-cell (FCEV) counterparts once the latter is in production.

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Nikola to Pay $125 Million to Settle Fraud Charges, Founder in Dutch

Nikola Corp. has agreed to pay $125 million to settle charges levied by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the company actively defrauded investors by providing misleading information about its technical prowess, production capabilities, and general prospects.

The settlement comes after a salvo of civil and criminal charges were launched against Nikola’s founder Trevor Milton, who got in trouble for convincing investors that the prospective automaker had fully functional prototypes boasting technologies other companies would have envied when that wasn’t actually the case. Milton was chided for using social media to promote false claims about the business, with his pleading not guilty to fraud charges brought up by the Department of Justice in July.

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Nikola Founder Continues Dumping Stock Following Criminal Indictment

Nikola Corp. founder, Trevor Milton, has been offloading stock ever since he was indicted for making misleading and/or blatantly false statements about the company. The formal charges were issued in July, piggybacking off a critically damning report from 2020 that alleged Nikola had grotesquely misrepresented its production capabilities and falsified a video where it showed an inoperable prototype vehicle working as if it was fully functional. The paper caught the attention of both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ) — resulting in Milton stepping down as CEO and twelve months of investigative probes.

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Nikola Deathwatch: DOJ Indicts Founder for Lying to Investors

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted Nikola founder Trevor Milton over claims made to investors that could have been intentionally misleading. Though anybody tracking the story from the beginning already knows the corporate plot surrounding the company’s trucks has more holes than a deli platter comprised entirely of baby swiss.

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Nikola Embarrassed After Internal Review, Now Downsizing

The outside firm Nikola hired to conduct the internal investigation looking into the validity of claims made by ousted founder Trevor Milton has reached a conclusion. Milton does appear to have been fabricating the status of the company’s technology and how far along its prototypes were. But Nikola wasn’t helping and ended up being implicated in a few falsehoods of its own.

Some wealthy individual lying to a sea of people for the sake of making money is hardly news, however. The entire world runs on politicians and business people going back on promises made months earlier and clarifying statements that never seem to illuminate anything. What makes Milton’s offense so bad is that he seems to have used the power of lying to mislead investors who might have otherwise made money. Nikola shares never truly recovered from the exposé published by Hindenburg Research as part of its plan to short the company, and those who never bothered to question the legitimacy of its technical claims before investing are suddenly very interested in knowing everything about the business.

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GM No Longer Building Nikola Electric Pickup, Nixes Equity Stake

On Monday, General Motors and Nikola Corp announced a revamped agreement that eliminates an equity stake in the startup for the Detroit automaker and nixed any plan for manufacturing Nikola’s electric pickup truck. This makes the keystone of the revised contract their collaborative work on fuel-cell development, represents a major setback in their partnership, and makes GM management look like rubes for having announced a sizable commitment that had to be walked back after a short seller claimed Nikola was fraudulently representing itself.

Despite having much to gain by torpedoing the EV startup’s curiously high share price, the associated Hindenburg report raised serious questions about exactly how much progress Nikola had made. The short seller effectively accused the company of fraud, something Nikola denied. Though subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice still began arriving at its offices in late September. Founder and former executive chairman Trevor Milton stepped down around this period. At the time, the company said it was cooperating with the investigations “and will continue to cooperate, with these and any other regulatory or governmental requests.”

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Faraday Future Returns, Discusses Going Public With Reverse Merger

Faraday Future is hoping to go public through a reverse merger, proving that the finances associated with electric vehicle startups rarely operate within the confines of reality. Founded by Chinese businessman Jia Yueting in April 2014, the company began making waves the following year when it announced a plan to invest over $1 billion a factory in Nevada (its first) and went on a massive hiring spree. With the help of millions in government tax incentives, the plan was to start building some of the world’s most advanced EVs by 2017.

But people were becoming suspicious as early as 2016, when questions were raised about where the money was coming from and how much was left. By year’s end, work on Faraday’s Nevada facility had been suspended indefinitely. Following a lightly-botched presentation of its future product in early 2017, more outlets began to report the company was quickly running out of money as it backed out of several more projects. Months later, an internal power struggle left founder Jia Yueting as the primary decision-maker. Faraday Future spent the next few years scrambling to repay its debts and scrounging for (mostly Chinese) investors that might get it closer to its ultimate goal of building cars.

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Nikola Criticized for Censoring YouTube Videos That Made It Look Bad

We’re getting the feeling that Nikola Corp is going to be the biggest dumpster fire since our multi-year love/hate relationship with Faraday Future. Content creators on YouTube are now criticizing the startup for abusing copyright claims to strike down videos that were coming down hard on its recent actions after at least two financial commentators operating channels on the Google-owned video platform have had clips removed this week.

While copyright abuses have become uncomfortably common as a way to censor opponents on YouTube over the last few years, they’ve become increasingly predatory as Google rarely seems interested in siding with the little guy. We suppose this was the inevitability of the proliferation of a corporate-controlled internet but knowing that makes the practice seem no less grimy, especially with terms and services being so woefully vague that content can be removed for practically any reason, to begin with. Nikola is hardly the first company to engage in this grotesque behavior and will not be the last.

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GM Considers MORE Nikola Stock?

General Motors is understandably considering revisions to its deal with Nikola Corp following the recent hullabaloo that tanked the startup’s stock. Allegations had surfaced that founder Trevor Milton had misled investors by promising technologies that did not yet exist, forcing him to leave Nikola’s ranks right around the time the Securities and Exchange Commission decided to get involved.

Obviously, critics said this made GM look as though it was run by morons. Last month, the Detroit automaker agreed to take an 11 percent stake in Nikola while also planning to build its all-electric Badger pickup and sharing its hydrogen tech to help spur development. But it seems as though this was being done on little more than Milton’s word that Nikola was the real deal. General Motors does not appear to have done its due diligence in vetting the company’s true capabilities. While the obvious remedy would seem to be to distance itself from the now-tainted brand, GM is actually rumored to be considering expanding its interests in Nikola now that its share price has declined.

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Nikola Delays World Conference, GM Stalls Partnership

Nikola Corp. has decided to reschedule the Nikola World conference that would have offered the public a look at its all-electric Badger pickup and an opportunity to see what else the company was cooking up. Under normal circumstances, we would all just fault COVID-19 and move on with our frustrating little lives. But the firm was recently accused of having misled investors on the true progress of its technology.

Those allegations were rebuffed by chairman and founder Trevor Milton… before he abruptly left the company and Nikola’s ludicrously high stock valuation pivoted in the wrong direction.

Interestingly, most of the blame seems to be staying with Milton. Nikola shares pitched up on Wednesday, despite the only major change being one more vacant office on the top floor. Meanwhile, CEO Mark Russell has been trying to get everyone stoked about Nikola World and all the amazing stuff that’s supposed to be there in December 2020. That included a view of the Badger pickup, which GM was supposed to build and the company has been taking preorders for since June.

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Trevor Milton Steps Down From Nikola, Stock Sinks [UPDATED]

It’s been a wild ride for Nikola, from being highly valuedperhaps overvalued – by Wall Street, to partnering with GM, to being accused of fraud, to founder Trevor Milton voluntarily stepping down today.

Milton, who was hailed as the next Elon Musk not long ago, is stepping aside less than two weeks after Hindenburg Research, a short-selling firm, published a long article/blog post accusing Nikola of fraud. Milton and Nikola pushed back, saying the report contained inaccuracies, but Milton is resigning as executive chairman and giving up his spot on the board anyway.

The board has accepted his resignation.

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Nikola Responds to Criticisms of Fraud

Following a scathing report from Hindenburg Research that called Nikola a fraudulent company largely dependent upon the blind excitement surrounding electric vehicles, the accused has finally issued a response. On Monday, Nikola released a bulleted letter suggesting the report was the act of an opportunistic short seller that was attempting to take advantage of the period immediately proceeding the announced partnership with General Motors. While Hindenburg didn’t exactly hide that aspect of itself in its own report, it frames the business as only profiting off companies that weren’t above board to begin with. It also received support from Citron Research, which said it likewise thought Nikola needed to be scoped out by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and promised to help pay for half of any legal fees incurred as a result of Hindenburg’s reporting.

Meanwhile, Nikola was crafting its rebuttal after founder Trevor Milton explained he had to wait on a comprehensive response because he was already in contact with the SEC. As his constant Twitter updates started to become counterproductive, this was likely a wise decision. The response dropped on Monday, clearing a handful of items up while making a bunch of other aspects seem even more suspect.

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Scathing Report Accuses Nikola of Fraud

While we’ve suspected that electric vehicle startups and green tech, in general, is probably a little overvalued, we’ve never accused anyone of outright fraud. Burgeoning automakers have a tendency to over promise and under deliver. Throughout history, this has occasionally gotten them into serious trouble. But it’s also how the game is played, especially when you’re new to the scene and need to distinguish yourself from giant entities who would just as soon crush you in lieu of risking the eventual competition. Nikola is a perfect example of this and built a hype train so swift that legacy brands could only hope to buy it out or invest and share in the fruits of its labor before it sped away.

But what if it wasn’t ever growing any industrial fruit?

That’s the claim being made by Hindenburg Research — which specializes in short selling, pointing to firms on the cusp of financial disaster (hence the name), and attempting to bust businesses the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might be interested in. The financial research firm has suggested that Nikola founder Trevor Milton had misrepresented what the company was actually capable of in terms of product, with the intent to mislead investors into thinking the company should be incredibly valuable. It reads like a hit piece and was accused by Milton of being just that. However, there are issues brought up in the report that are still worth examining.

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GM Investing $2 Billion Into EV Startup Nikola

General Motors announced it will be taking an 11-percent stake in Nikola on Tuesday. It even said it would be actively helping the startup produce the hydrogen/battery-powered Badger pickup, sending the firm’s already-insane share price through the roof. Nikola shares were up 30 percent before the trading day even began, with the General seeing some positive changes in its own stock. Things only improved from there for both companies as news of the partnership continued to spread.

The deal is costing GM $2 billion and allots it one board member of its choosing in exchange for its manufacturing expertise.

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GM Muses Spinning Off EV Operations to Better Court Investors

One of the strangest anomalies in the automotive industry is the way electric vehicle startups (like technology companies in general) seem to draw limitless support from investors while established automakers don’t receive nearly the same kind of love — even when transitioning toward EVs.

There’s a logic behind this, however. Green tech is overwhelmingly trendy at the moment, even if some of it lacks a comprehensive game plan to actually save the environment, and financial backers are always looking to get in on the next big thing before anybody else — resulting in scattershot investing that sometimes coalesces into a major victory for new firms possessing sufficient moxie.

But it hasn’t helped the auto industry’s largest players, who are seen as dinosaurs using the blood of their forebears to amass their fortunes. They lack the presumed purity of brands like Tesla or Nikola (clever name), even though their financial goals seem largely the same.

A potential solution to this problem is to distance tech-focused entities from the core business.

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  • Carlson Fan The way the truck drops in the rear and the bed/tailgate become a ramp is genius! I'd buy it just for that alone!!! It would be awesome for loading snowmobiles and garden tractors in the back. However, my trucks need to be able to regularly tow heavy loads long distance, summer & winter. Sorry folks, current battery tech. isn't even close to what it needs to be for me to think even one second that a battery truck could replace my current ICE powered truck. An EV for a DD makes sense , but for truck you need a MUCH better battery.
  • Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.
  • Stodge I test drove the 200S and damn, its suspension was so firm, I was convinced it didn't actually include suspension at all. It hurt my spine and hip, it was that firm.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird If Mopar had only offered sport hatch versions of the 200 and or Dart they might have sold more of them for folks who wanted some more versatility without having to go for a small utility Compass Patriot or new at the time Renegade or Cherokee.
  • El scotto I started driving in the late 70's. The cars high school kids could afford and wanted were very very worn out muscle cars. Oh Lordy those V-8's bring back some happy memories. Oh there some outliers in my crowd, a VW Bug and a Dodge Scamp with slant six; neither car would die. In 10 years their will be young people wanting very used Teslas or Dodge's with hemis. B&B, I say that if someone is excited about their EV, Hybrid, or Hemi welcome them to the club of people who like cars.