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Nikola shows its truck going uphill, for a change
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Nikola shows its truck going uphill, for a change

Simply five days after Nikola founder Trevor Milton was indicted, partially, for allegedly deceptive buyers with footage of a transferring truck that was secretly rolling downhill, the hydrogen-trucking startup launched footage of a newer prototype driving uphill.

The startup confirmed the video throughout a presentation of its second quarter financial results on Tuesday. (It additionally revealed the footage on YouTube.) Whereas it might be a ethical victory for the corporate to point out its truck climbing a 12 % grade hill in gentle of the extra notorious clip Milton as soon as orchestrated, the discharge of the footage nonetheless got here alongside some unhealthy information: Nikola now expects to ship half the variety of vehicles this yr than it had initially estimated. Worse, the corporate mentioned world elements shortages may make it powerful to even hit the brand new, decrease goal.

Nikola was the primary high-profile transportation startup to merge with a special purpose acquisition company firstly of the SPAC boom final yr. Many others have adopted, together with a half-dozen EV startups that additionally haven’t made or bought any manufacturing automobiles. Nikola can be not alone in drawing regulatory scrutiny, or the eye of prosecutors. The Division of Justice is investigating Lordstown Motors, and the Securities and Trade Fee is poking round a few different would-be EV producers.

However Milton’s belligerence, in addition to his alleged subterfuge, made Nikola a tantalizing goal for nearer examination — together with from the short-seller analysis agency Hindenburg Analysis that kicked off Milton’s downfall. That the corporate remains to be round to point out that it has a truck that may go up a hill is a small miracle in its personal proper.

As the general public highlight shifts to different startups’ issues, Nikola now has a likelihood to be among the many first of its friends to emerge from this era of intense SPAC merger scrutiny. It has a main popularity overhaul to execute, a elements scarcity to navigate, and it’s nonetheless shedding greater than $100 million per quarter. Oh, and it’s additionally nonetheless making an attempt to show out the essential premise that hydrogen gas is a sensible answer for long-haul trucking.

In different phrases: an uphill climb, although one which appears steeper than 12 %.

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