Recent events have put Nikola, the US fuel cell truck maker in freefall, after a damning report by analysts. The report was titled, “Nikola: How to Parlay An Ocean of Lies Into a Partnership With the Largest Auto OEM in America,” has led to the resignation of Nikola CEO, Trevor Milton and an ongoing fall in the company’s share value.
The carnage resulting from the report by Hindenburg Research does not stop there. Reports suggest the US Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are both set to launch investigations into alleged fraud.
“We have gathered extensive evidence, including recorded phone calls, text messages, private emails and behind-the-scenes photographs, detailing dozens of false statements by Nikola Founder Trevor Milton,” says the Hindenburg document. “We have never seen this level of deception at a public company, especially of this size.”
The report talks about how, in the face of growing skepticism over the functionality of its truck, Nikola staged a video called ‘Nikola One in Motion’ which showed the truck cruising on a road at a high rate of speed. Hindenburg says its investigation of the site and text messages from a former employee reveal that the video was an elaborate ruse, Nikola had the truck towed to the top of a hill on a remote stretch of road and simply filmed it rolling down the hill.
Elsewhere the report tells us, “A spokesman for Volvo spin-off Powercell AB, a hydrogen fuel cell technology company that formerly partnered with Nikola, called Nikola’s battery and hydrogen fuel cell claims ‘hot air’.”
The reasons behind all of the alleged behaviour, which has left the fuel cell truck maker in freefall, is explained by the assertion in the report that, “Trevor has managed to parlay these false statements made over the course of a decade into a ~$20 billion public company. He has inked partnerships with some of the top auto companies in the world, all desperate to catch up to Tesla and to harness the EV wave.”