Nikola Motor Company shares fell today following claims that company founder, Trevor Milton, overstated the start-up’s tech capabilities.
Per a recent post from Forbes, Nikola Motor Company was lambasted in a lengthy report from Hindenburg Research and CFA Nate Anderson. The report, titled “Nikola: How to Parlay An Ocean of Lies Into a Partnership With the Largest Auto OEM in America,” claims that the company’s new battery system technology doesn’t actually exist, and that some vehicle components Nikola claims as its own were in fact purchased from other companies.
“We have never seen this level of deception at a public company, especially of this size,” Anderson said.
Nikola shares fell Thursday morning, currently trading at $37.57 as of this writing.
In response, Nikola company founder Trevor Milton called the report “lies,” tweeting, “Tens of millions of shares shorted the last day or two to slam our stock and hit job by hindenburg.”
It makes sense. Tens of millions of shares shorted the last day or two to slam our stock and hit job by hindenburg. I guess everything is fair game in war, even a hit job. I know who funded it now. Give me a few hours to put together responses to their lies. This is all you got?
— Trevor Milton (@nikolatrevor) September 10, 2020
The Hindenburg report arrives just days after it was announced that Nikola Motor Company was engaged in a new strategic partnership with General Motors, with GM engineering, validating, homologating, and building the new Nikola badger electric pickup truck, as well as supplying the start-up with its Hydrotec fuel cells and Utilium batteries. In exchange, Nikola has provided General Motors with a $2 billion equity stake.
The partnership announcement sent Nikola shares soaring 41 percent for the day.
The partnership will help Nikola to gets its semi trucks on the road more quickly, rivaling competing products from Tesla in the race to commercialize electric vehicle trucking. Nikola has previously stated that it is developing its own “breakthrough” battery chemistry, and the new partnership with General Motors is framed as a near-term solution to get its vehicles on the road more quickly.
As stated in the recent Forbes piece, Nikola currently has 14,000 orders for its emissions-free semi trucks, primarily from the Anheuser-Busch brewing company.