A Nikola Pickup Without Any Nikola Parts: GM Engineer Confirms

(Bloomberg) — The founder of Nikola Corp. Trevor Milton was right when he claimed that his company was responsible for most of the components in the pickup truck that General Motors Co. planned. was to be built for the electric vehicle maker, a GM engineer confirmed.

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“There were no components coming from Nikola,” Scott Damman, a senior manager at GM who works on software, told the jury in Milton’s criminal fraud trial Thursday. “The creative design, look and feel of the vehicle is theirs, but all the parts came from General Motors.”

Milton is accused of misleading investors by exaggerating the company’s progress toward introducing vehicles for sale and lying about Nikola’s technology and partnerships. The defense insists he was just following the corporate marketing plan and didn’t say anything he didn’t believe to be true.

The testimony came from Damman, who was sent by GM to work with Nikola at the time, in response to questioning about a video interview given by Milton in 2020.

‘Probably 70% Nikola’

“It’s probably 70% Nikola, 30% GM, for the parts that are really important to us,” Milton said in the interview in September, the same month the Detroit automaker announced it would build and provide technology for Nikola Badger. pick up in exchange for payments and an 11% equity stake.

Read more: Founder Nikola Milton Went Rogue on Social Media, Jury Is Told

The relationship between Nikola and GM was brief. A short-seller report followed just days after the partnership was announced that month, accusing Milton and Nikola of deception. By November, GM had scaled back its commitment and lowered its plans for the bet. The Badger was destroyed.

Nikola took down $5,000 in payments for Badger bookings in June 2020, when she had no prototype or plan to make the collection. Public discussion of the truck boosted Nikola’s stock price with promises of a prototype unveiling at an event later that year. That disclosure was also cancelled.

Investors Take a Stand

After Damman left the witness stand, Joseph Ryan, an individual investor, told jurors that he lost about $160,000 on Nikola stock. Ryan said he bought shares based on public statements from Milton that the company had successfully reduced the cost of hydrogen fuel from $16 a kilogram to less than $4. He told the panel that it would have mattered to him if he had known that Nikola was buying hydrogen at $14 a kilogram rather than producing it.

Ryan said he also invested based on Milton’s claims that Nikola was moving toward commercial production of the Badger, and that he was misled by a video that showed a prototype Nikola truck traveling under its own power as it rolled down a hill. thanks for that. gravity.

Read More: Nikola CEO Says He Learned Trucks Had No Power After Hiring

On cross-examination, Ryan agreed that Securities and Exchange Commission filings are a more reliable source of company information than press interviews, as Milton’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, suggested that day trading is risky.

The case is USA v. Milton, 21-cr-478, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Read more

  • Nikola saw Badger’s ‘Huge’ Losses but supported Milton anyway

  • Nikola Cannibalized Ford for Electric Pickup, Jury Said

  • Founder Nikola Milton Faces a Jury in His Toughest Sales Job

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