One of their biggest claims was the 2018 footage of the Nikola One Semi driving along a remote road was staged, and was simply footage of the truck rolling down a big hill in neutral.
In their response, Nikola Motors didn’t deny it, instead saying they never explicitly said the truck was being driven under its own propulsion system, but that it was “in motion”.
The popular @NikolaInsider twitter account put out a #NikolaChallenge, even before the company confirmed the video was staged. The challenge involved heading out to the Mormon Trail to see how fast their cars can go down the same hill.
Official #NikolaChallenge rules:
Start at the cattle guard (coordinates: 40.519, -112.501) and roll down the hill. Record your speed at the N. Willow cross road (40.548, -112.493). Post your video with the #NikolaChallenge hashtag.
— Nikola Insider (@InsiderNikola) September 10, 2020
Unsurprisingly, the challenge was quickly accepted by @Nick_P3D, who took his Toyota Tacoma to the coordinates just outside Grantsville, Utah. After getting to the cattle guard and putting his truck in neutral, he was able to achieve a top speed of 48mph in his first attempt.
A second attempt (which was not filmed due to his battery dying) with a slightly different starting point yielded an even higher 54mph top speed, just 2mph off the top speed Hindenburg Research said they achieved in their testing.
Nick promised to return to attempt the challenge again in his Performance Tesla Model 3, and this time with a fully charged battery.
Below is an edited video of his first attempt. The full video can be seen here.
Started just after the cattle guard. Speed at N. Willow cross road was 42mph. Top speed 48mph.
Will return w/ Model 3 soon. Went off-roading afterward this round.
Who’s next? @WholeMarsBlog? 🙂
— Nick (@Nick_P3D) September 13, 2020