Nikola electric truck company admitted to forging a promo video from January 2018
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will check the activities of Nikola, which is accused of fraud. Hindenburg Research has published a report claiming that Nikola faked a promo video for the Nikola One electric truck. Hindenburg Research says the truck manufacturer has defrauded investors about its business prospects.
In December 2016, the founder of Nikola Motor Company, Trevor Milton, presented a prototype of the Nikola One truck. In January 2018, Nikola posted a video titled “Nikola One on the Move” on YouTube and other social networks. It showed the Nikola One truck driving on a two-lane highway in the desert.
Investment firm Hindenburg Research released a report last week claiming the truck did not move on its own. Most likely, according to Hindenburg Research, Nikola towed the car to the top of a small hill and allowed it to roll down, then tilted the camera to give the impression that the truck was driving on its own on a flat road.
On Monday morning, Nikola sent out a press release that agreed with Hindenburg Research's claim. Nikola admits that the Nikola One prototype did not work in December 2016 and did not move on its own when the company released the video 13 months later. Nikola claims that the gearbox, batteries, inverters, power steering, and several other components of the truck were in working order during the December 2016 show, however a working hydrogen fuel cell or motors to drive the wheels are two key components of the new truck, according to Hindenburg. The research was absent.
Nikola now admits that the truck was never fully operational.
“When we switched to the next generation of trucks, we ultimately decided not to invest additional resources in the completion of Nikola One. Instead, Nikola moved on to work on her next car, the Nikola Two. Nikola has never stated that the truck was powered by its own power plant. Nikola's investors who invested in this project knew about the technical capabilities of Nikola One at the time of investment, ”the company says.
Hindenburg Research accuses Nikola of cheating and exaggerating the capabilities of its trucks. Nikola says Hindenburg Research is trying to manipulate the company's stock. As Bloomberg writes Nikola has not posted significant revenue to date, but its shares surged to nearly $ 80 in June, making it a market valuation higher than Ford Motors. After the Hindenburg Research report was released, Nikola's share price plummeted its earnings since going public. Nikola has approached the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with a request to examine the claims of Hindenburg Research. The SEC will determine if Nikola has violated securities laws. The regulatory review is preliminary and will not give rise to allegations of wrongdoing for now, but Hindenburg founder Nathan Anderson said he was "encouraged that regulators are looking into the situation."
As ArsTechnica underlines, Nikola One's interest helped the company raise funds to collaborate with more experienced businesses, including Bosch and Iveco, who assisted Nikola in the design and production of subsequent vehicles. Last week, General Motors announced it was acquiring a $ 2 billion stake in Nikola. As part of the deal, GM will build an electric pickup truck called the Badger. In addition, Nikola plans to start production of a battery-electric semi-trailer in Ulm, Germany, in a joint venture with CNH Industrial's Iveco division by the end of 2021. The company also has a plant under construction in Coolidge, USA, where the company hopes to begin mass production of fuel cell semi-trailers by 2023.