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Nikola Corporation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nikola Corporation
Nikola Motor Company (2014–2020) (now name of a subsidiary of Nikola Corporation)
IndustryZero emissions vehicle design
Founded2014; 6 years ago (2014)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
FounderTrevor Milton
Key people
Trevor Milton (founder, Executive Chairman)
Mark Russell (President, CEO)
ProductsNikola One, Nikola Two, Nikola Tre, Nikola Badger
SubsidiariesNikola Motor Company
Nikola Powersports
Nikola Energy Company

Nikola Corporation is an American company that has announced a number of concept zero-emissions vehicles since 2016 and has indicated plans to produce some of them in the future. The company is based in Phoenix, Arizona, where its research and development facility is located.[1] The company is named after inventor Nikola Tesla.[2]

The company is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice over securities fraud allegations.[3][4][5]


Nikola was founded by Trevor Milton[6] in 2014[7] in Salt Lake City, Utah.[8][9] In late November 2018, it announced plans for a Nikola World event for April 16–17, 2019, in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona. The two-day midweek event was to have included a Public Demo Day to show off the Nikola Two truck and the Nikola NZT UTV.[10][11][needs update] The event took place in April 2019.[12]

In March 2019, Nikola acquired a 389-acre parcel in Coolidge, Arizona, for US$23 million, with future state and local tax breaks. Nikola said in 2019 that they expected the truck factory to start construction in 2020, start building trucks in 2021, and be able to build 35–50,000 trucks per year by 2023.[13]

In March 2020, Nikola announced its plans to merge with VectoIQ[14] Acquisition Corporation[15] (ticker VTIQ), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company run by former General Motors Co. executive Steve Girsky. This resulted in the combined company being listed on the NASDAQ exchange with the NKLA ticker symbol.[16] Nikola's stock began trading on June 4, 2020, a day after the merger was completed. By June 9, the shares had more than doubled since they began trading, as investors continued to bet on the growth potential of electric transportation. Nikola executive chairman Trevor Milton tweeted in early June that the company would begin taking reservations for the pickup truck, the Badger, on June 29.[17][needs update]

The company was valued at around $13 billion in early August 2020, compared to its revenue in the first six months of 2020 of $80,000 ($36,000 of which was attributed to installation of solar facilities for CEO Milton).[18]

On September 8, 2020 Nikola and General Motors announced a partnership, by which GM would acquire an 11% stake in Nikola (valued at approximately $2 billion at the time of the announcement). GM would also earn the right to nominate one member to Nikola's board. In return, GM has agreed to use its manufacturing facilities to begin production of the Badger, as well as supply fuel cells and batteries to Nikola globally.[19] Nikola stock jumped by 50% after the announcement.[20]

Concepts and early-designs

Nikola has publicly announced a number of zero-emissions vehicle design concepts since 2014 and unveiled a few concept vehicles that the company aims to develop for public sale.[when?] None of the vehicles appear to be in production, or near production, as of mid-2020[citation needed].

Nikola NZT

In 2016, a prototype concept, the Nikola NZT, formerly[when?] referred to as the Nikola Zero,[21] was unveiled as a utility task vehicle (UTV) with 72 or 107 kWh battery.[22][23][24] The concept was stated to have 555 hp (414 kW) total, provided by a motor at each wheel, weigh 3,500 lb (1,600 kg), and use the same 14.5 in (370 mm) clearance suspension as the Ford Raptor.[25] Sometime before the end of 2016,[when?] it was spun-off into a powersports product, in the Nikola Powersports division.[26][needs update]

Nikola had at least one drivable prototype of the NZT in 2017 when it took a journalist for a ride-along in a Utah desert to demonstrate the vehicle's capabilities.[25] That was an open-cabin version, lacking doors or a windshield. Nikola currently advertises a similar vehicle as the "Nikola Reckless".[12] During Nikola World in April 2019, Nikola presented an NZT that was outwardly similar to the original one, except it had doors (but still lacked a roof and a windshield). Nikola says it offered rides in this vehicle to the attendees during the event, and published a video claiming to show it.[27].

There was also a different, closed-cabin variant, with a windshield and windows, a prototype or a mock-up of which was shown (not driven) during the event; according to a former employee, that design was deemed non-manufacturable, and needed a "massive redesign" which was outsourced to Stellar Strategy LLC, a company staffed with former executives of Polaris.[28]

Nikola One

In 2016, the company unveiled a high-level design of a hydrogen-fueled electric Class 8 truck called the Nikola One, aimed then to be in production in 2020. The Nikola One design includes a 320 kWh EV battery supplying 6 traction electric motors—one for each wheel—with a combined software-limited 1,000 hp (750 kW) and 2,000 lb⋅ft (2,700 N⋅m) of torque[29] – nearly 86,000 lb⋅ft (117,000 N⋅m) after gear reduction – inspired by electric locomotives.[30] This is sufficient for keeping a speed of 65 mph (105 km/h) with a full load of 80,000 pounds (36 tonnes) on a 6% grade.[24] The energy source is 300 kW[23] hydrogen fuel cells[31][32][33] consuming 4.6 kg (10 lb) H2 per 100 km (62 mi) from tanks with 100 kg (220 lb) of hydrogen, giving a range of 1,200 mi (1,900 km). Consumption is equivalent to 15.4 mpg of diesel.[24] The truck has regenerative brakes to supplement the traditional disc brakes, decreasing stopping distance and fuel usage.[30] The hydrogen version was unveiled in December 2016 and was expected to be available by 2019.[23][29][34] The company said[when?] that in some markets, compressed natural gas may be used to power an on-board gas turbine generator rather than hydrogen fuel cells.[31]

As of 2016, the first 5,000 trucks were slated to be built by Fitzgerald in Byrdstown, Tennessee.[needs update] Fitzgerald is known for production of "glider trucks", which are built without engines.[23]

In May 2018, Nikola Motor Company filed a lawsuit against Tesla, Inc. seeking US$2 billion in damages alleging that the Tesla Semi infringes on several patents Nikola has been granted on the design of the Nikola One. Tesla responded that the lawsuit is without merit.[35][needs update]

In May 2018, Anheuser-Busch placed a putative order for up to 800 of the conceptual hydrogen-powered truck versions and Nikola claimed then that the trucks would start being delivered in 2020.[36][needs update]

Nikola Two

Nikola Two is a semi-tractor truck visually similar to the Nikola One. Unlike the Nikola One, a prototype driving under its own power was demonstrated.[12][37]

Nikola Tre

In November 2019, the company unveiled the Nikola Tre electric truck concept, a rebadged version of the Iveco S-Way[38] that would be aimed at the European market. The Tre will also be targeted for the Australian and Asian markets.[39] Nikola says the Tre will have 500 to 1,000 horsepower and a range of 500 to 1,200 kilometers (310 to 745 miles).[40] CEO Trevor Milton stated that production is set to begin at the same time as the US truck versions, which is 2022–2023.[41]

Despite Trevor Milton's claims in July 2020 that there were 5 trucks "coming off the assembly line right now" in Germany, the assembly line itself was not finished as of September 2020. There were prototypes of the Nikola Tre being built in Germany by hand, in a workshop, not on an assembly line.[28]

Nikola Reckless

The Nikola Reckless is a concept vehicle projected to be a military grade fully-electric tactical off-highway vehicle.[42][non-primary source needed]

Fraud allegation

Trevor Milton has alleged that those who are short selling Nikola stocks are Tesla fans, who are alleged not to be Nikola shareholders but "anti-Nikola or paid attack accounts".[43]

On September 10, 2020, two days after Nikola established ties with General Motors, short seller Hindenburg Research released a report[44] claiming Nikola of being "an intricate fraud built on dozens of lies over the course of its Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton's career." The report also claimed that a video posted by Nikola in 2018 of a Nikola One truck appearing to run under its own power was staged, with the truck actually rolling down a long and gradual slope capable of accelerating vehicles to highway speeds, and that Nikola continued to promote their claims about their battery technology despite failing to acquire the company that had said technology. Nikola repeatedly described the truck as being "in motion", being vague whether the truck was moving under its own power. Further verification by Financial Times confirmed the claim regarding the truck rolling down a slope. Nikola stock fell by 10% that day, while General Motors stock fell by 4%. By September 12, Nikola stock had fallen by 36%.[45][46][47][48][49]

Nikola later responded to these claims calling the allegations made by Hindenburg “false and misleading”, stating the rolling vehicle was filmed by a third party for a commercial and that investors were not being deceived because it was just a stage demonstration.[50] Nikola however confirmed that the vehicle was not driven by its own powertrain but contained only ″functional parts″ such as a gearbox, batteries, inverters and power steering, but not a fuel cell nor functional motors.[51] The company "decided not to invest additional resources into completing the process to make the Nikola One drive on its own propulsion″.[52] Nikola also stated that a working truck by the company (the Nikola Two) was filmed in 2019, and that it was developing its own inverters while admitting that it merely used a third-party inverter given earlier claims by the company that it was its own in-house-developed inverter. Nikola has threatened legal action against Hindenburg.[53] The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has shown interest in the report.[54]

In response to the Hindenburg report, Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, said her company conducted appropriate diligence before its deal with Nikola.[55] Reports on September 14 stated that the Securities and Exchange Commission has started a probe into the fraud allegations.[3][4] By September 15, the Department of Justice had also began an investigation into Nikola.[5]


See also


  1. ^ Ringle, Hayley (October 19, 2018). "Behind the deal: How Nikola Motor steered its trucking technology to Arizona". Phoenix Business Journal. Archived from the original on August 19, 2020. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  2. ^ Cao, Sissi (November 23, 2019). "Elon Musk Isn't the Only Electric Futurist Who Wants to Rectify Nikola Tesla's Legacy". Observer. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Baccardax, Martin. "Nikola Shares Slump Amid SEC Probe Into Short Seller Hindenburg Fraud Claims". TheStreet. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Robinson, Matt (September 14, 2020). "SEC Examining Nikola Over Short Seller's Fraud Allegations".
  5. ^ a b Bushey, Claire (September 15, 2020). "US justice department inquires into Nikola fraud claims". The Financial Times. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  6. ^ "Forbes profile: Trevor Milton". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  7. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (December 1, 2016). "Nikola One Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Semi-Truck Debuts". Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  8. ^ Hall-Geisler, Kristen. "Nikola Motor Company unveils its electric (mostly) truck". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on June 23, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Company Overview of Nikola Motor Company". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "Nikola Corp | Rsvps | Nikola World Public". Nikola Motor Company. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  11. ^ "Nikola World Registration Opens at 9 a.m. on Dec. 3". November 30, 2018. Archived from the original on January 8, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^ O'Dell, John (March 25, 2019). "Nikola Closes Land Deal for Arizona Truck Plant". Archived from the original on July 11, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  14. ^ Corporation, Nikola. "Nikola and VectoIQ Acquisition Corp. Announce Closing of Business Combination". Archived from the original on June 22, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  15. ^ "VectoIQ | Home | Experts for the Future of Mobility | New York". vectoiq. Archived from the original on June 22, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  16. ^ "Done Deal: VectoIQ's Merger With Nikola Motor Has Closed". The Motley Fool. June 3, 2020. Archived from the original on June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  17. ^ Foldy, Ben (June 9, 2020). "Electric-Truck Startup Nikola Bolts Past Ford in Market Value". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Stevens, Pippa (August 5, 2020). "Nikola's entire quarterly revenue of $36,000 was from solar installation for the executive chairman". CNBC. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  19. ^ "Nikola shares pop as much as 53% after General Motors takes 11% stake in electric truck maker". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Nikola founder Trevor Milton insists vehicle start-up is roadworthy". Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 5, 2020. Retrieved February 4, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Nikola Zero UTV Driving Footage And Launch Videos". Archived from the original on November 7, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  23. ^ a b c d "Nikola One Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Semi-Truck Debuts". December 1, 2016. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  24. ^ a b c "Dette er bilen som skal ta tungtransporten vekk fra diesel". Teknisk Ukeblad (in Norwegian). December 2, 2016. Archived from the original on December 5, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  25. ^ a b Lambert, Fred (November 21, 2017). "We tested an insane electric UTV with more energy capacity than even the most powerful Tesla". Electrek. Archived from the original on March 27, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  26. ^ "Nikola Powersports". 2016. Archived from the original on October 10, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^ a b "Nikola One, America's first hydrogen-powered semi, is straight outta the future". Roadshow. CBS Interactive. December 2, 2016. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  30. ^ a b Inside the Nikola One hydrogen-electric semi-truck, at 4 min on YouTube.
  31. ^ a b Lambert, Fred. "Nikola Motor claims it received over 7,000 pre-orders worth over $2.3 billion for its electric truck". Electrek. Archived from the original on June 15, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  32. ^ Lambert, Fred. "Nikola Motor does a 180°, scraps plans for battery-powered truck, turns to hydrogen". Electrek. Archived from the original on August 31, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  33. ^ "Nikola CEO Milton Explains Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Strategy". December 2, 2016. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  34. ^ Nikola Unveils the Nikola One and announces the Nikola Two - 42 min video on YouTube.
  35. ^ O'Kane, Sean (May 1, 2018). "Tesla sued for $2 billion by hydrogen truck startup over alleged patent infringement". The Verge. Archived from the original on May 2, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  36. ^ "Anheuser-Busch orders hundreds of hydrogen trucks from zero-emission startup Nikola". The Verge. May 3, 2018. Archived from the original on May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Nikola & Iveco Partner To Bring The Battery Electric Nikola TRE To The EU". CleanTechnica. December 3, 2019. Archived from the original on December 3, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  39. ^ Browne, Ryan (November 6, 2018). "Tesla rival Nikola Motor unveils hydrogen-powered truck for Europe". CNBC. Archived from the original on December 24, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  40. ^ Ballaban, Michael (November 5, 2018). "The Nikola Tre Is the Not-Tesla Hydrogen Semi that Wants to Take On Europe". Jalopnik. Archived from the original on December 24, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  41. ^ Stumpf, Rob (November 6, 2018). "Nikola Tre Is a Stylish, Hydrogen-Powered Semi Truck Destined for Europe". The Drive. Archived from the original on November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  42. ^ "Nikola Corp | Reckless". Nikola Motor Company. Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  43. ^ Kotoky, Anurag (July 3, 2020). "Nikola Founder Channels Elon Musk in Lashing Out at Naysayer Tweets". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  44. ^ "Nikola: How to Parlay An Ocean of Lies Into a Partnership With the Largest Auto OEM in America". Hindenburg Research. September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  45. ^ Ludlow, Edward (September 12, 2020). "Nikola's History of Discrepancies Has Been in Plain Sight".
  46. ^ "Nikola shares fall after short seller claims business is an 'intricate fraud'".
  47. ^ Linnane, Ciara. "UPDATE: Short seller Hindenburg alleges that electric truck maker Nikola is an 'intricate fraud' in new report". MarketWatch.
  48. ^ "Short-seller accuses GM-backed Nikola Motors of being 'intricate fraud' | Fox Business".
  49. ^ "New report claims widespread fraud by Nikola Motor". Fortune. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  50. ^ "Nikola Officially Responds To Fraud Allegations". Carbuzzz. September 14, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  51. ^
  52. ^ Nikola disputes fraud claims in carefully worded rebuttal. Techcrunch, Sept 14 2020
  53. ^ "Nikola electric lorry just rolling downhill in promo video". September 15, 2020. Retrieved September 16, 2020 – via
  54. ^ "US justice department inquires into Nikola fraud claims". Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  55. ^ "GM conducted 'appropriate diligence' on $2 billion Nikola deal, CEO Mary Barra says". CNBC. September 14, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2020.

External links

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