A bombshell report released early Thursday claims “electric truck maker” Nikola Motors used lies and deception to trick investors and the public to bolster its bottom line.
The report was published by Hindenburg Research, which “specializes in forensic financial research by uncovering hard-to-find information from atypical sources”, and includes a substantial amount of evidence to back its claims.
The evidence includes phone calls, text messages, private emails, and behind the scenes photographs which indicate Nikola Motors has no proprietary technology, despite numerous claims by founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton.
On the claim the Nikola One semi truck unveiled in 2016 was not a working prototype, Hindenburg says the truck contained “absolutely zero hydrogen technology whatsoever”, and was only built one week before the event with “workers were running to the hardware store to pick up basic parts”.
To support the assertion, the report shows photos of a crew putting the shell of the truck together, as well as photo of a cable “snaked up from under the stage through the floor of the cab to power the cabin screens” to make it appear as a functional truck.
Hinderburg also claims the truck was still not functional when Nikola released a video two years later showing the truck “in motion”. Instead, the company allegedly towed the truck to the top of a hill and let it roll down, giving the appearance of it moving under its own power.
Behold, the Nikola One in motion. Pre-production units to hit fleets in 2019 for testing. The Nikola Hydrogen Electric trucks will take on any semi-truck and outperform them in every category; weight, acceleration, stopping, safety and features – all with 500-1,000 mile range! pic.twitter.com/K53FdYaZ34
— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) January 25, 2018
There are also multiple claims in the report that Nikola’s “breakthrough” technology on electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cell technology never actually existed. This claim is supported by the recent deal with General Motors, who will supply the electric batteries for the Badger pickup truck as well the hydrogen fuel cell technology for its Semi trucks.
In response to the report, Milton quickly took to social media calling it a “hit-job”, and promised to release a detailed report by the end of the day countering each claim made by Hindenburg.
Cowards run, leaders stay and fight for integrity. Hindenburg is only making people love us more for trying to destroy us. It will take the rest of the day to address the one sided false claims, but I will put out a detail report to address it. In the meantime, troll on
— Trevor Milton (@nikolatrevor) September 10, 2020
You can read the full report here. It is extensive, but is worth the read if you have the time. The amount of evidence is substantial, and it will be interesting to see if Milton will be able to refute all the claims.
Nikola shares (NKLA) fell more than 11% after the release of the report.