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The founder of a new force may face 11 years in prison!

2024-06-17 Update From: AutoBeta NAV: AutoBeta > News >


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Trevor Milton, founder of the new US car-building force Nikola, could face up to 11 years in prison after he was charged with two counts of telecom fraud and one count of securities fraud in his sentence in October, according to foreign media reports. It is understood that prosecutors believe that Milton has been falsely promoting Nikola against retail investors since 2019 and asked a judge to impose a "heavy penalty" on it. A hearing on the case will be held on December 18.

In 2014, with the help of new energy vehicles, the 32-year-old Trevor Milton founded Nikola, known as Tesla of the car world, because Nikola and Tesla together are the name of American inventor Nikola Tesla Tesla. At that time, Tesla had become a world-renowned electric car manufacturer with Model S and Model X electric cars, and Trevor Milton named the company "Nikola", which seemed like a hot spot. The difference is that Nikola is a company that develops and produces hydrogen fuel cell trucks, pure electric trucks and hydrogen filling stations, and its product lines include heavy trucks, pick-up trucks and all-terrain off-road vehicles, which does not seem to have much to do with Tesla, but in fact Tesla released the electric truck Semi as early as 2017, only due to capital, production chain and other problems, and even Nikola took Tesla to court. It was believed that Tesla Semi infringed the patent, but the claim was finally rejected by the court.

In 2016, Nikola held a press conference to launch its first hydrogen truck product, Nikola One. Trevor Milton paints a hype about Nikola One's technology, saying the hydrogen truck takes just 15 minutes on a single charge, runs more than 1000 miles on a single charge, and has zero emissions and no pollution. In the same day's press release, Trevor Milton said that Nikola has been ahead of other automakers in technology for 10-15 years, and boasts that it has surpassed Daimler, Volvo and other mainstream truck companies within 1-2 years.

With Trevor Milton's comments, Nikola successfully attracted commercial vehicle company WABCO, hydrogen energy equipment manufacturer Nel, photovoltaic manufacturer Hanwha and so on. These global giants not only reached strategic cooperation with Nikola, jointly carried out technology research and development, but also participated in financing.

In November 2019, Tesla released his first electric pickup truck "Cybertruck". Following suit, Nikola launched its new electric pickup, Nikola Badge, in February 2020, which also has a performance to be reckoned with. According to Nikola, the Nikola Badge has 906hp, 980lb-ft torque and more than 8000 lbs of traction, the fuel-cell hybrid version has a range of 600mph, the electric version has a range of 300mph, and the 100-meter acceleration time is exactly the same as Tesla's Cybertruck. From the data of various indicators, Nikola Badge directly attacked Tesla Cyber.

On June 3, 2020, Nikola announced a merger with VectoIQ Acquisition Corp. Complete the merger to become the first stock of hydrogen energy heavy truck in the world. Three days after listing, Nikola's share price doubled, with a market capitalization of up to $34 billion, surpassing Ford, a century-old carmaker.

On September 8, 2020, General Motors announced that it had reached a strategic cooperation with Nikola to obtain $2 billion of newly issued common shares of Nikola with equivalent non-cash assets. GM will own 11% of Nikola and can nominate a board member. Affected by the news, GM shares rose 7.93% on the day. Nikola shares soared 40.79%.

Only the other day, Nikola was hit on the head by the short seller. On Sept. 9, short seller Hindenburg Research (Hindenburg Research) released a scathing report on Nikola and its founders. The report points out that Nikola never developed hydrogen fuel technology and cashed out by forging a large number of orders. Even more bizarre, the agency pointed out that the Nikola One displayed by Nikola was not a truck because the car itself did not have power. Hindenburg said that in the official promotional video, Nikola One appears to be able to drive because it is placed on a hillside and glides down by gravity. Nikola made the car model look like it was speeding by adjusting the shooting angle and editing acceleration during the video shooting. Eventually, Nikola pleaded guilty to the charges, and founder Trevor Milton resigned on September 20, 2020.

It's hard to understand that Trevor Milton blew the company's market capitalization to $34 billion based on car models and videos alone, and tricked giants such as Bosch and General Motors into the hole. In fact, it is not only how superb Trevor Milton's tricks are, but also the excessive touting of the new energy market. In addition to Tesla and Nikolai, many new energy start-ups, including Rivian and Lordstown, are sought after, but now many companies have only chicken feathers left. So far, Nikola shares are trading at just $0.718, with a total market capitalization of just $831 million.

In the first three quarters of 2023, Nikola posted revenue of $24.31 million, compared with $44.26 million a year earlier, and a net loss of $813 million, compared with $562 million a year earlier, according to the latest results. Of this total, third-quarter Nikola revenue was-$1.73 million, compared with $24.24 million in the same period last year, and a net loss of $426 million, compared with $236 million in the same period last year. Nikola's cash and equivalents increased to $362.8 million as of September 30, 2023, mainly through the sale of new shares, according to the results. In February 2023, Nikola said in a government document that the company could run out of money within the next 12 months and might need to "modify or terminate" its business.

In addition, Nikola executives leave frequently. On November 17th Nikola announced that its chief financial officer, Anastasia Pastrick (Anastasiya Pasterick), would resign to "look for other opportunities". Earlier, Michael Rochelle (Michael Lohscheller) would immediately resign as president and chief executive of the company, and Steve Girsky, chairman of the board, was appointed as the new chief executive.

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