Electric vehicle manufacturer Nikola Motors found itself in the middle of a massive fraud scandal earlier this month, following a bombshell report from Hindenburg Research. The company was accused of misleading investors regarding both future viability and the existence of proprietary technology. With an SEC investigation underway and founder Trevor Milton now out of the company, things are looking kind of bleak. The Phoenix-based company have just announced that they will be cancelling the launch event of the Nikola Badger pickup, but it’s not for the reasons you think.
According to the company press release, the decision to cancel the December launch event for the Badger pickup has nothing to do with these recent revelations. Instead, Nikola Motors is stating that the current coronavirus-related restrictions in the state of Arizona are to blame for the event’s postponement. This is not unlike what GM did with the official Hummer EV reveal that was supposed to happen in May 2020. Its new (now virtual) reveal date is October 20.
“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 their statement. Current ticket holders will have the option to trade their ticket in for a replacement when the event is rescheduled, or they can request a full-refund.
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly changed the way that vehicle reveals have taken place in 2020, and hearing that yet another event has been cancelled as a result is no surprise. However, it is a little bit convenient that this decision comes as the company is in the middle of a major crisis of their own. It is also important to note that General Motors still has to decide whether or not they will be committing to the deal that the automakers signed earlier this month.The Detroit automaker has signed on to provide the fuel cell and battery architecture to underpin the Nikola Badger pickup, though talks remain ongoing following the accusations.
As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation continues, the extent of the deception taking place at Nikola Motors should start to come to light. Depending on just how serious things are, the Nikola Badger might not make its debut regardless of a global pandemic.