In 2020, the auto industry was treated to a scandalous firestorm thanks to Nikola Motors. Shortly after going public and inking a massive deal with General Motors, the EV manufacturer was accused of fraudulent practices by Hindenburg Research. Which inevitably led to the death of the upcoming new truck. Now, a testimony from a GM executive has revealed that the Nikola Badger hydrogen fuel-cell pickup would have almost entirely been engineered by General Motors.
Nikola Badger Truck Scam: Details
According to the Green Car Reports, Scott Damman, a senior manager in GM’s software division, was sent to work with Nikola after the two companies drafted an agreement to collaborate on the Badger. He then testified against Nikola founder Trevor Milton, who is currently on trial for securities fraud, contradicting statements made by Milton in 2020 about Nikola’s contribution to the project. Damman reportedly stated that Nikola wouldn’t provide any components for the truck. They owned what the truck would look and feel like, but General Motors was to supply all the parts.
That contradicts Milton’s statement in a September 2020 interview that the Badger was “probably 70% Nikola, 30% GM.” That same month, GM announced that it would build the Nikola Badger in exchange for payments and an 11% stake in the company. A reveal event for the Badger was set for October 2020 but was canceled as GM looked to extricate itself from the partnership. Ironically, the Nikola Badger prototype truck that the company paraded around used a lot of parts from the second-generation Ford F-150 Raptor.
The original truck was first teased in November 2019. It featured social-media jabs at the Tesla Cybertruck and Elon Musk, which gave the vehicle far more attention than it otherwise would because of Milton. By the time the company began taking $5,000 pre-orders. The tall talk had started with Milton calling Nikola a BEV and fuel-cell leader despite not having yet delivered any vehicles. After the scandal with Milton broke, the Badger was dropped, and the company returned to its original focus on commercial fuel-cell trucks. Though its hydrogen refueling network is nowhere near what Milton had been promising.