Nikola has decided to postpone the glitzy debut event it had planned for its Badger pickup truck amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the company and founder Trevor Milton.
The automaker had previously scheduled the debut event, which it had affectionately dubbed ‘Nikola World’, for early December. The three-day event was set to feature a glitzy kick-off party and live music before the company presented the Nikola Badger pickup truck, along with a number of other unspecified electric recreational vehicles and a “few other surprises.”
Nikola blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for the event’s postponement, however, it seems likely the recent controversies surrounding the company also had an impact on the decision.
“Due to COVID-19 audience size restrictions at Arizona’s major venues, we have made the decision to reschedule an in-person Nikola World until we can bring the Nikola community together safely,” the company said in a statement released to The Detroit News. “We will continue to provide progress updates across our entire product portfolio.”
General Motors announced a new partnership with Nikola in September. Under the agreement, GM would give Nikola access to its electric and hydrogen vehicle tech and build and engineer the Badger in exchange for an 11% stake in the company. Shortly after, a noted short-seller published a report accusing Nikola of being an intricate fraud and misleading and lying to investors. Company founder Trevor Milton then stepped down from the company and has since had two formal sexual assault complaints filed against him.
The previous deadline for closing the deal was September 30th, however GM has now said that its discussions with Nikola remain ongoing. It’s not clear if GM will go forth with the deal under the same terms or new terms, or if it will back out of the deal. The agreement included a line that indicated either company could back out if it was not closed by December 3rd.
For now, Nikola is charging ahead with its more immediate plans and hopes to have the first prototype examples of its Nikola Tre European semi-truck rolling off a production line in Germany before the end of the month.