Back in September, the auto industry was treated to a bit of a scandalous firestorm thanks to the folks at 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. This resulted in an SEC investigation, Chairman Trevor Milton departing from the company, as well as a trip back to the negotiation table with GM. Now that an updated memorandum of understanding between the two companies has been published, it’s clear that things are different. Most notably, the upcoming Nikola Badger is now officially dead.
As soon as Nikola was forced back into talks with GM, it became clear that the pickup truck might not survive. That is of course because Nikola Motors had no intentions of manufacturing the truck themselves. Instead, General Motors was responsible for engineering, validating and manufacturing the Badger as part of the $2 billion deal signed on September 8th. The truck was even slated to be powered by the Ultium battery system that can be found in the GMC Hummer EV.
Of course things have changed a bit since we learned more about the business practices of Nikola Motors. With some help from the new MOU, the previous deal has been entirely thrown out. GM will no longer be taking on any equity in the EV start-up, though Nikola will still be able to use the Hydrotec fuel-cell technology. Furthermore, Nikola Motors is now negotiating to utilize the Ultium battery system for their class 7 and 8 semi trucks only. If that doesn’t spell the end of the Nikola Badger, perhaps the full refund of deposits will.
This new MOU is a non-binding agreement, which of course means that more negotiations are on the way. We can expect more terms and conditions from GM, who ended up looking like they didn’t do their homework before negative revelations on Nikola were publicized, and the once-promising Nikola Badger is nothing but a past dream.