The start-up wants to revolutionize road transport. But, according to one investor, the company is on the wind.
Nikola’s action has been a roller coaster for the past week. After an agreement with the manufacturer General Motors, the title had jumped 41% on the New York Stock Exchange last Tuesday. But it then plunged 36% in three days, following a report by investment firm Hindenburg Research accusing the start-up of being a “complex fraud” based on multiple lies from its founder. It would have even “misled its partners by falsely claiming to have important technologies”, according to Hindenburg, who bet on the fall of the title on the stock market.
Nikola issued a denial on Monday and spoke with the SEC, the US market policeman, about the report he said was intended to manipulate the market. But the group did not deny one of the report’s most spectacular attacks: the staging of a video in 2017 showing one of its prototypes in action. According to Hindenburg, the truck was “towed to the top of a hill on a lonely road and just filmed going down the slope.” Nikola retorts that he “never said that the truck was running on its own propulsion system in the video”, but simply indicated that the vehicle was “in motion”.
Can the group however become the Tesla of the green truck? Probably not, according to an expert. “But there will be several winners in electric vehicles.” As long as the promises are fulfilled.