We View Nikola’s Response As a Tacit Admission of Securities Fraud


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Last week, we issued a report that presented extensive evidence of a litany of material false statements made by Nikola’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Trevor Milton.

We included 53 questions at the end of our report that we believe shareholders deserve answers to. The company promised a full point-by-point rebuttal, but then only responded to 10 of our questions.

Of those 10 responses, the company debunked nothing. Instead it either confirmed or sidestepped virtually everything we wrote about, and in some cases raised new unanswered questions.

Nikola Failed to Address 43 of our 53 Questions. Of Those It Touched On, It Largely Confirmed Our Findings or Raised New Questions

Nikola Admitted That Its Deceptive “Nikola One in Motion” Video Was, In Fact, Video of The Semi-Truck Simply Rolling Down A Hill.

The Company Says It Never Claimed the Truck Was Powering Itself, Despite Deceptive Editing and Claims That it Had “1,000 HP” With “Sports Performance”

In our report, we explained how the company released a video called “Nikola One in Motion”, which made it seem that its Nikola One semi-truck was traveling under its own power at a high rate of speed. Angles in the video were edited to make it appear as though the semi was moving on a roadway that was flat, or even uphill.

In Monday’s response, the company acknowledged that its vehicle was not functioning under its own power, and instead, was apparently simply showcasing the power of gravity. It claimed that using the term “in motion” dispelled the deceptive nature of the video.

We disagree. Beyond common sense, the company referred to the Nikola One as “the 1,000 HP, zero-emission Nikola One semi-truck” in the description of its video. Obviously, the truck can’t have 1,000 horsepower or even 1 horsepower if it doesn’t power itself.

On January 25, 2018, Nikola posted the same video to its corporate Facebook page.

Underneath the video are a series of comments that were answered by Nikola’s verified corporate Facebook account.

In response to inquiries about the video, the company confirmed the Nikola One had “over 1,000 HP” and “over 2,000 ft. lbs. of torque” and can handle a “7% grade, no problem”. Readers would have likely interpreted this as an ability to climb up a 7% grade hill, not roll down a very steep hill.

The company also told one person: “…wait until you drive it. Feels like a luxury car with sports performance.”

Given the public statements Nikola was making at the time, we view the company’s new admission that the Nikola One was not powered on its own in the video as a tacit admission of securities fraud.

Nikola Claims the Nikola One Semi Was Not A “Pusher” Because It Was Designed To Move Under Its Own Power Train. It Then Admits the Truck Didn’t Ever Move Using Its Own Power Train.

Reminder: Nikola and Trevor Referred to The Nikola One As “Fully Functional”, “Fully Built”, “A Real Truck” And “Not A Pusher” At Least 6 Times Between October 2016 and December 2016

As we wrote, in December 2016, the company falsely claimed at Nikola World, on video, that the Nikola One “fully functions and works…this is a real truck—this is not a pusher.” It later admitted that it was NOT fully functional to Bloomberg.

Nikola’s response yesterday completely failed to address Trevor’s false statements claiming that the truck “fully functions and works”.

Instead, the heavily-lawyered language clumsily attempted to redefine the term “pusher”, suggesting that because Nikola hoped its non-functional vehicle would work someday, that it therefore wasn’t a pusher at the time.

We appreciate that Nikola’s new law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, tried to do their best with what they had to work with. However, Trevor later helpfully defined the term “pusher” on video while emphatically denying that the truck fit his own definition:

This isn’t just a pusher like a lot of vehicles that they unveil [that] are just vehicles that don’t actually function. This is a fully functioning vehicle which is really incredible.

With that definition in mind, we offer a reminder that Nikola and Trevor reassured investors that the Nikola One semi worked at least 6 times:

  • Nikola called the truck “functioning” and “fully built” on Twitter on October 16, 2016.
  • At the December 1, 2016 launch event, Trevor says: “This thing fully functions and works, which is really incredible.”
  • He also said “We will have a chain on the seats to prevent people from coming and just for the safety. I don’t want someone to end up doing something and driving this truck off the stage.”
  • Later at the same event, he insisted 3 times that the truck was real, stating “know it’s real”, “you’re going to see this is a real truck” and “this is not a pusher”.
  • Trevor again said, in a video dated December 2, 2016: “this isn’t just a pusher” and “this is a fully functioning vehicle”

Given Nikola’s admission that the truck seen in the video was not fully functioning, the above were all clearly statements that misled investors. In other words, these were outright lies.

Our Report: Former Employees Told Us No Further Work Continued On The Nikola One After 2016 Even Though The Company Was Still Publicly Claiming In 2018 That the Nikola One Would Soon be Ready

Referring to the “Nikola One in Motion” video, a company tweet in June 2018 stated that “pre-production units (would) hit fleets in 2019 for testing” which was false. Former employees told us that no further work continued on the Nikola One after the 2016 demonstration.

Note that a former employee indicated to us that work on the Nikola One was abandoned immediately after the initial reveal, in December 2016.

Yesterday, Nikola stated that “it ultimately decided not to invest additional resources into completing the process to make the Nikola One drive on its own propulsion”, seemingly validating our findings.

Nikola’s decision to ultimately halt investment is not the issue; the company’s failure to acknowledge that it had halted investment while telling investors work continued is the problem, and represents another clear case of making knowingly misleading statements.

Our Report: Nikola And Trevor Hyped A Letter of Intent to Acquire Battery Technology Company ZapGo. The Tech Turned Out To Be Vaporware. After Nikola Realized This, They Continued To Hype It Anyway

Nikola’s Response: It Wasn’t ZapGo We Were Hyping. The Game Changing Battery Tech is Part of a Secret R&D Agreement We Can’t Provide Any Details On. Also, We Are Using GM’s Battery Technology for Some Reason

In our report, we pointed out that Nikola had introduced the Nikola battery “prototype cell” and called it “game changing battery technology” in November 2019. Trevor Milton also hyped it as technology that would make “diesel trucks obsolete for good” on Twitter on November 18, 2019.

The company originally called it “game-changing” and “the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world.” In Nikola’s response from yesterday, however, the technology is now only described as “potential battery technology advancements”.

Our report noted that the letter of intent with ZapGo was signed within 2 days of a tweet teasing the press release on the battery technology. The press release then referenced the Letter of Intent, stating:

“Nikola entered into a letter of intent to acquire a world-class battery engineering team.”

ZapGo was later accused by Nikola of fraud, false representations, and failure to disclose that its President had been indicted for tax fraud.

Nikola’s own lawsuit indicated that it was made aware of these issues on December 5, 2019, and we noted that Trevor continued to hype the company’s battery technology into February 2020.

Nikola formally terminated the agreement on February 26, 2020 and appears not to have publicly discussed the situation since, until yesterday.

Now, Nikola has responded that Trevor’s statements regarding the company’s battery technology were related to “an ongoing confidential R&D partnership with a leading academic institution”.

It goes without saying that funding academic research is not the same thing as acquiring a team of engineers, as the original “game changing” announcement indicated.

The newly referenced academic partnership appears to have been first talked about in August 2020 in this YouTube video, where Milton says about Nikola’s battery technology: “It’s tied to a university that had developed the technology. And we essentially ended up licensing all of it and helping them fund it all the way through.”

We asked Nikola to provide dated agreements and documents that support that the supposed secret partnership had been ongoing prior to the company’s mid-November 2019 press release.

We asked:

“Which university were you working with on the battery technology, how much did you fund them with, and exactly what have you developed in conjunction with them thus far? Will you post the agreement for all to see?”

Instead we are met with more vague answers. The company’s response provided no details about the confidential R&D relationship that supposedly involves advanced battery technology, and no indication of when it began. 

Our Report: Trevor Claimed to Have Reduced the Cost of Hydrogen By 81% Relative To Peers And Was Producing 1,000 kg of Hydrogen Per Day At Nikola’s Headquarters

Nikola’s Response Confirmed That None of this Happened: “Nikola Continues to Believe that its Planned Hydrogen Station Network…Will Provide Key Competitive Advantages.”

At Nikola World in December 2019 Trevor claimed on video that Nikola was producing 1,000 kilograms of hydrogen a day on site at his Phoenix headquarters:

In America we’ve already got the largest hydrogen station in the western hemisphere at our headquarters. Can produce over 1,000 kilograms a day on site.”

Subsequent to Nikola World, Trevor reiterated in several public interviews that he achieved significant breakthroughs in hydrogen production.

In an August 2020 interview with Fox Business News, when asked about the company’s hydrogen, Trevor says:

“We saw an opportunity to bring the cost of hydrogen down going zero-emission and putting it on parity with diesel, and it’s the first time in history that’s been able to be done, so it went from about $16/kg and we are down now below $4/kg.

In another interview on July 17, 2020, on the TeslaCharts podcast, Trevor claimed Nikola has been able to “chop the cost of hydrogen from $16/kg down to – we’re down below $3/kg on our hydrogen now.”[1] [11:34].

Trevor’s claims followed a years-long pattern of hyping Nikola’s non-existent hydrogen network, including this comment from 2018 in response to the Facebook video of its “Nikola One In Motion”, publicly assuring readers that the company had 8 hydrogen stations “going up right now”:

As acknowledged by the company’s statement Monday, it has no hydrogen network, and simply hopes to have one in the future. This once again strikes us as a tacit admission of securities fraud.

Our Report: Trevor Milton Falsely Claimed In 2020 That Five Nikola Tre Trucks Were “Coming Off The Assembly Line Right Now”

Bloomberg Corroborates: The Assembly Line Isn’t Finished

Nikola’s Response Tacks A Year and A Half Onto Trevor’s Publicly Disclosed “Right Now” Achievement, Saying It Doesn’t Expect the Tre Until Q4 2021

Our research highlighted statements made by Trevor in July 2020 that 5 Nikola Tre trucks were coming off an assembly line in Germany. We showed in our report that none of the trucks had been completed and that the assembly line itself had not been completed.

Bloomberg has since confirmed our work, writing:

Those statements were a mischaracterization of Nikola and Iveco’s progress in Ulm, according to two people familiar with the matter. The assembly line is still under construction and not yet operational or building prototypes, the people said. There are prototypes being built by hand in a workshop, one of the people said.”

On Friday, in response to our report, Trevor tweeted pictures of unfinished Nikola Tre trucks in a work area that is clearly not an assembly line.

In its response on Monday morning, Nikola stated:

“five trucks are currently being built and commissioned in Ulm, Germany, and are pre-production builds”

This confirmed our original report, including comments quoted by a Bosch spokesman, indicating the trucks were still not completed and had not rolled off an assembly line in July. Nikola then stated that it expects the Tre to be “ready for production and available to customers by the fourth quarter of 2021.”

We view this, once again, as an admission that Trevor’s statement to investors in July was patently false. Not only were completed trucks not rolling off an assembly line, but an assembly line hadn’t even been constructed. The trucks remain uncompleted.

Our Report: Nikola’s Order Book Is Fluff, Including A ~$3.5 Billion Order From A Company With Only $1.3 Million In Cash

Nikola’s Response: We Have an Order From A Different Company, That We Hope To Begin Deliveries On In Three Years

In our report we pointed out that the company’s order book appeared to be filled with fluff, including non-committal orders and orders where potential customers like Anheuser Busch have multiple ‘outs’.

We showed that U.S. Xpress reportedly accounts for a third of its reservations, representing ~$3.5 billion in orders, yet U.S. Xpress had only $1.3 million in cash on hand last quarter.

Monday morning, the company failed to address the issue and simply reiterated that it had an order from another company, Republic Services, that it hopes to begin deliveries on three years from now.

We view this as an admission that the company’s order book was, in fact, filled with fluff.

Our Report: The Company’s Unveiling of Its NZT Off-Road Vehicle Deceptively Presented a Mock-Up As if It Was Market-Ready. Following the “Unveiling” the Project Was Then Outsourced for Redesign.

Nikola Responded By Re-Wording Our Statements Then Declaring The Reworded Statements to be False

In our report, we described the ‘unveiling’ of the company’s NZT off-road vehicle at Nikola World in 2019. At the event, Trevor described the product as a fait accompli of its design team, saying it “rivals some of the best automotive engineering in the world”.

We reported that the model was actually not completed, and that weeks later, Nikola scrapped the design and quietly outsourced the redesign to a company called Stellar Strategy.

In response, Nikola reworded our statements regarding the company’s NZT off-road vehicle in order to claim those pretend statements were false.

Nikola inaccurately stated that we claimed the NZT “program” was scrapped after the Nikola World 2019 event. In fact, we clearly stated that the program continued, but that the design was outsourced to a third party called Stellar Strategy LLC.

Nikola failed to refute our point that it presented (yet again) a non-functional “mock-up” of the NZT at Nikola World. We believe this represents a tacit admission that it’s NZT “reveal” was a farce.

The company also failed to mention Stellar Strategy in its rebuttal despite our specific question asking about the relationship, which we believe underscores its inability to design and innovate internally.

Our Report: Why Would Trevor Appoint His Brother As “Director of Hydrogen Production/Infrastructure” Given He Had No Apparent Experience in Hydrogen Technology?

Nikola’s Response: Travis Milton Ran A Construction Business

In our report, we noted that Trevor Milton appointed his younger brother Travis to a position that required scientific expertise. We asked:

“Why did you appoint your brother Travis as “Director of Hydrogen Production/Infrastructure”? What experience does he have in hydrogen research and production?”

We further asked:

“What would you say are Travis’ key contributions to Nikola’s alleged breakthrough advancements in hydrogen production?”

The company responded on Monday by claiming that Travis is qualified for this high-level scientific position because he previously worked in construction:

“Travis Milton previously owned and operated his own construction company preparing him for hydrogen station infrastructure and buildouts.”

When faced with the same question, in a since-deleted Instagram rant addressing the question (we have a copy), Trevor stated:

“Why do you give a shit? Go start your own company—hire your own employees!”

Our questions to the company concerned Travis’ contributions to Nikola’s claimed hydrogen breakthroughs, and his experience with the significant technical and scientific challenges of hydrogen production, storage and delivery.  Those questions remain completely unanswered.

Our Report: Trevor Claimed On Video That Nikola’s Inverters Were Developed In House And That OEMs Were Asking To Use Them. In The Same Video He Is Showcasing An Inverter Manufactured By Cascadia With Masking Tape Covering Its Label.

Nikola’s Response: Admits This is True, Then Deflects by Vaguely Stating That the Company Has Been “Working on Its Own Inverters For Quite Some Time”

In our report, we pointed out that Trevor, on video, claimed that Nikola made its own inverters in-house, along with all the e-axle design and other key components.

In the same video, Trevor shows off an inverter that we discovered is actually manufactured by Cascadia, with a piece of masking tape on the label that concealed who really made it.

The company once again admitted the claims in our report to be true, and walked back its claims that these inverters were Nikola’s proprietary intellectual property by vaguely stating that it is “working on” its own inverter:

“Nikola has been designing, engineering and working on its own inverters for quite some time.”

The company’s CEO, Mark Russell, further walked back the company’s claims to have vast proprietary technology when pressed by reporters from the Financial Times on Friday:

“Asked about Mr. Milton’s claim to have all the ‘core’ technology for its vehicles, Mr. Russell described the company as an ‘integrator’, stitching together the many elements of its vehicles from a complex supply chain.

Russell’s admission clearly corroborates our own findings, and directly contradicts Trevor’s repeated claims of Nikola having vast proprietary intellectual property.

The company’s response on Monday morning declared that “at no time did Nikola state that the inverter on the prototype truck shown in the video was the Company’s.”  But of course it ignores the fact that there is video proof, narrated by Milton himself:

“We do all the e-axle design in house. All the gears, the gear reductions. The thermal the cooling. Even the controls that go with it. And, also, the inverters as well. All inverters on the Nikola truck are probably some of the most advanced software systems that I know of anywhere in the automotive world. Why do I know that? It’s because other OEMs are asking us to use it.”

Why would OEMs be asking to use an inverter that hadn’t even been developed? Furthermore, Trevor actually points to the supposed “in-house” inverter in question in the video:

Pictured: Trevor Milton’s finger, while he narrates a “Behind the Scenes” video, pointing at a Cascadia Inverter with masking tape over its label, about 15 minutes before proclaiming Nikola makes all its own inverters.

Once again, the company admitted our findings were correct.

Now, rather than defending its previous false claims to have developed revolutionary proprietary technology for use in its vehicles and prototypes, Nikola now vaguely claims to be working on it.

Our Report Presented Evidence That Trevor Misled Potential Investors in a Predecessor Entity by Inflating a $16 Million Deal with Trucking Company Swift Into a $300 Million Deal.

Nikola Claims the Deal Could Have Been $250 Million With Options.

Swift Didn’t Exercise Those Options And, Instead, Sued dHybrid Over Misrepresentations With its Original $16 Million Deal.

In our report, we pointed out one of Trevor Milton’s early business ventures, called dHybrid, closed on a $16 million contract with Swift Transportation before being sued by Swift over allegations of providing it with trucks that didn’t work and of misappropriating capital for personal use.

Nikola writes off this portion of our report by inexplicably claiming that the agreement “has no connection with or association to Nikola.” This ignores the fact that Trevor Milton was dHybrid’s founder, as well as Nikola’s founder, former CEO, major shareholder and current Executive Chairman.

Nikola also points out that that Swift Transportation had options to make future purchases from dHybrid for $250 million.

We showed a slide from an investor presentation claiming the contract to be $300 million, a clear inflation, by the company’s own standard:

In reality, nowhere near $250 million changed hands, however. Swift sued dHybrid after an investment of about $2 million, alleging that the dHybrid trucks didn’t work and that officers of dHybrid misappropriated capital for personal use.

Nikola Failed to Address 43 of Our 53 Questions

Their Silence on These Questions Speak Volumes

At the bottom of our original report, we offered Nikola 53 questions it could answer to clear the air for investors, the market and its stakeholders alike. Instead of answering them, Nikola only touched on 10 of them.

Despite claiming to have found “dozens” of inaccuracies with our report, Nikola’s response essentially validated all of the issues we raised. Below are the questions Nikola did not even attempt to address:

1. Before suddenly pivoting to fuel cells, you claimed that your Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) technology was “10-15 years ahead of any other OEM in fuel efficiencies, MPG, and emissions”. Why did you suddenly abandon this supposedly revolutionary technology rather than sell it for billions of dollars?

Nikola’s response: NONE

2. You claimed that Nikola’s headquarters has 3.5 MW of solar panels on the roof, yet later media reports and pictures of the roof show they don’t exist. Where did they go?

Nikola’s response: NONE

3. You claimed Nikola owned its own natural gas wells, then re-affirmed that you “still have them” when later asked what happened to them. Can you provide any documentation proving Nikola owns/owned natural gas wells?

Nikola’s response: NONE

4. In 2018 you were sued by your former CFO. What were the allegations in the complaint, which is now sealed?

Nikola’s response: NONE

5. What OEMs have asked to use “your” inverters in their products, as Trevor claimed on video?

Nikola’s response: NONE

6. You appointed your brother Travis as “Director of Hydrogen Production/Infrastructure”.        What experience does he have in hydrogen research and production?”

Nikola’s response: NONE

7. What would you say are Travis’ key contributions to Nikola’s alleged breakthrough advancements in hydrogen production?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. After the Bloomberg piece, you claimed on Twitter that there was a table with truck gears and components sitting in front of the audience for all to see. The event was extensively documented—can you present evidence that such a table existed in plain view for the entire audience?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Do you think a table with gears sitting somewhere would in any way invalidate your claims at the time that the truck “fully functions” when it was later shown that it didn’t?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. After lambasting Bloomberg’s reporter publicly, calling him a “deceiver” and saying he should be fired, you then promised the full audio of the interview with Bloomberg would be released. Why haven’t you released it yet?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Do you think it’s wise to threaten to sue journalists for getting a story totally correct?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. In August 2016, you claimed “Nikola has engineered the holy grail of the trucking industry”, pivoting to hydrogen from natural gas. Now that you have acknowledged the Nikola One wasn’t fully “engineered” at the time of the statement or the December show, do you wish to retract this press release in full?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Did the Nikola One truck have hydrogen turbines or Brayton CNG turbines at the time of the demonstration in December? Was the fueling system hydrogen or CNG?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Why did you say just two weeks before Nikola’s sudden “pivot” to hydrogen that “CNG is the way to go” on Twitter if you were imminently planning to announce a switch?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Did you have an artist come in and stencil “H2” and “Zero Emission Hydrogen Electric” on the side of the Nikola One despite the truck having natural gas components installed?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Do you still consider the Nikola One to have been “fully functioning” despite needing to snake an electricity cord up through the stage in order to power the otherwise completely non-working vehicle?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Which Nikola employees knew about the “plan” for the Nikola One in Motion video and which ones participated in creating it? Did those include Kevin Lynk, your Chief Engineer?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. At the time, did you think pre-production units of the Nikola One would just magically produce themselves?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. According to you, Nikola designs most things in-house. Did you outsource the redesign of the NZT to Stellar Strategy?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. In October 2019, you teased a major battery breakthrough 2 days before signing a letter of intent with ZapGo. You then announced that you had revolutionized the battery industry, before realizing that it was vaporware and ultimately suing the company. Why didn’t you correct the press release or update your investors on the status of the deal, which had fallen apart?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. In December 2019, Jason Roycht, your VP of Technology Development, realized that ZapGo’s President had been indicted for fraud. He raised alarms about the company’s relationship with Porsche, which he determined was overstated. Why did you hype the battery tech in February on Twitter despite already knowing of all these issues?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. You formally terminated the agreement for the apparent “game changing battery technology” from ZapGo on February 26th, 2020. It is now 6+ months later. Have you ever publicly acknowledged that this major deal fell apart?

Nikola’s response: NONE (until yesterday, apparently.)

  1. In August 2020 when specifically questioned about the deal by a Tesla fan, why didn’t you take the opportunity to let people know that it had fallen through?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. You claimed in an interview to have succeeded at cutting the cost of hydrogen by ~81% from peers, stating “we’re down below $3/kg on our hydrogen now”. How much hydrogen has Nikola produced at this price, if any?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. At Nikola World 2019 you claimed on video to be producing 1,000 kg of hydrogen per day at your headquarters. When pressed by a reporter, you later admitted that you produce no hydrogen. Did you lie about producing hydrogen on camera to the entire audience at Nikola World?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Why did you post a video saying the Nikola Two had gone from 0-60mph in under 5 seconds when anyone with a stopwatch can see that it took at least 10 seconds?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Following the 0-60 video you promised to post a professional version of the video, saying it was just being edited. But you never did. Why? Does the Nikola Two have as much power as you’ve claimed it has?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. In the TeslaCharts podcast at the 40:20 minute mark you said regarding hydrogen stations: “we’re gobbling up the best locations right now“. Yet your latest quarterly report showed no real estate assets aside from your current headquarters. Where exactly are these locations that you have been “gobbling up”? How many have you purchased already?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. What is the hold up with your Coolidge facility construction? Have plans been submitted yet and permits been received? Why is there virtually no sign of progress?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Why do you spend so much time on social media fighting your “haters” and threatening former employees with litigation over NDA enforcement? Don’t you have a factory to build and products to produce?

Nikola’s response: NONE

31. Did you have your service personnel traverse the country to conceal potentially fatal defects with dHybrid’s product to close the deal with Worthington, as alleged by one of your former employees on recorded audio?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. What was the rationale for Worthington’s later impairment of dHybrid and the write-off of $1.5 million in warranty expenses?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. In May 2015, you represented in a legally binding contract with EVdrive to have “new and valuable proprietary turbine technology”. Months later, emails showed you were in discussions with Brayton to purchase their turbines. Did you have any “new and valuable turbine technology” at the time you represented having it?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. If so, what was it, and why did you then need to buy turbine technology from Brayton?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. When you sold your St. George Security & Alarms company in an $300,000 deal, your business partner, who said he had a 50/50 deal with you, only received ~$100,000, according to him. Did you get more than him despite having a 50/50 arrangement?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. The buyer of the alarm business said you misled him and that customer contracts and other deals fell through post-sale. What happened?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. How much did you make when you sold the alarm business a second time? How much of those proceeds did your apparent “50/50” business partner receive?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. You claimed that uPillar.com had 80 million monthly active users and that you had beat Amazon to the shopping cart, despite launching in 2009. A former employee called the 80 million number “absurd”, and media articles at the time describe the page views far lower. What evidence can you show that you had that number of page views?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Do you realize the internet shopping cart was invented 15 years earlier, in 1994?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Swift filed a lawsuit against your company dHybrid in mid-2012, alleging, among other things, that you had used its investment for personal use. Can you produce bank records showing how you used dHybrid funds? Did you divert funds to uPillar.com?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. Did you claim to sPower that you had finished the dHybrid system and then misrepresent its results to them, as alleged in their lawsuit?

Nikola’s response: NONE

  1. When you launched dHybrid Systems in 2012, why did you claim in marketing materials to have started the business in 2011?

Nikola’s response: NONE

43. Have you ever deceived anyone?

Nikola’s response: NONE

Conclusion: Nikola’s Response Had Holes Big Enough to Roll a Truck Through. We Remain Short Shares of Nikola Corp

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181 thoughts on “We View Nikola’s Response As a Tacit Admission of Securities Fraud

    1. I don’t know about Musk being a “fraud”. Tesla has real products, revenues, production facilities, etc.

      Also, even Musk himself said TSLA stock is too high (something along those lines).

      1. Anybody that can land a used booster rocket on a small rolling ship in the middle of the ocean is certainly not a fraud lol. I can’t believe NKLA hasn’t collapsed. The key issue in this report that stands out is how desperate Big Auto like GM is to hook on a star like TSLA who is eclipsing their market caps

    2. Lol both are frauds. Hmm I have not stake in Tesla but Elon Musk a fraud SEC doesn’t think so. here is the time line of Tesla from drawing board to car production – https://www.thestreet.com/technology/history-of-tesla-15088992 Trevor Milton a fraud I don’t think so this is a damn good article that really make Hindenburg Research look like the short sellers they are. I hope the lose there ass on shorting NKLA shares. https://www.reddit.com/r/NikolaCorporation/comments/gs2uz5/top_10_nikola_naysayers_baseless_arguments_try/

    3. Yeah. I was thinking the same thing when I saw Elon’s Falcon Heavy booster rockets (he is the chief engineer at SpaceX) landing on the pad at Kennedy Space Center in 2018. I think that every time the booster rockets land on a barge in the middle of the ocean. I think that every time I drive my Tesla to the store. I was thinking that when I watched the crew Dragon bring Bob and Doug to the ISS, and then bring them home safely. I think that every time my car gets an update to the latest and greatest features while it is sitting in my driveway. I think that every time I look at my Tesla phone app to see where my husband is with my car. I think that when I no longer have to go to the gas station but can pop into a Supercharger for 20 minutes and get 175 miles of range. I think that when I watch Sandy Monroe talk about the amazing engineering and improvements on my Tesla. I think that as I read about the battery installation in Australia saving hundreds of millions of dollars. I think that all the time…..What a fraud.

  1. You should’ve added a question about Jonathan Howard Robb. What did he threaten to reveal about Trevor which led to his death mere weeks later?

    1. I can’t say I know, but from the digging I’ve been doing it definitely sounds like a woman. Some sex scandal, probably cheated on his wife or something. Probably materially irrelevant to his continued business, just devastating personally
      Again, I don’t know, I’m just usually pretty good at sniffing out bull****

      1. @D.C. + @A Vieira – Please stop pushing conspiracy theories, and concentrate on real arguments presented in this forum instead. Robb was a mentally disturbed young man who resorted to extortion, was reported to Feds by Milton, and later committed suicide. Neither police, nor Robb’s family, raised any questions regarding possible foul play. Milton’s 2013 tweets related to Las Vegas sex escapades, which probably served as the base for extortion, only prove that he is an immoral, narcissistic sleazebag. The rest is not up to us to speculate.

      2. If it is true then the odd stuff is that he blames others, shows no remorse, may have made strange sexual suggestions to someone who was a candidate invitee to his birthday party with Epstein implications. ‘Solving The Money Problem’ then linked the scandal to a clip of Trevor Milton describing the level of loyalty that he would want. Check the YouTube site to draw your own conclusions.

  2. This is an incredible expose and will be studied in future securities law courses as red flags to follow. This is investigative journalism at its finest. Kudos on amazing due diligence to bring down a multi billion dollar house of cards.

  3. Lots of questions here. Many are good. Some are, well, more rhetorical in nature. I would like to see this list of 43 reduced to the 10x most important and damning ones.

    IMO, “Why do you spend so much time on social media fighting your “haters” and threatening former employees with litigation over NDA enforcement? Don’t you have a factory to build and products to produce?” is not a real question. If I had nothing to hide, I would ignore this question. Questions should be content based and specific.

    “At the time, did you think pre-production units of the Nikola One would just magically produce themselves?” That’s literally not even a question. It’s rhetorical. Don’t ask rhetorical questions.

    “Do you think it’s wise to threaten to sue journalists for getting a story totally correct?” Also not a real question.

    Again, boil this down to a top 10. Great work though. I hope investors understand what is happening here and get out fast.

  4. Beautiful… I believe you have enough info for part 2.

    You should go into the new Nikola factory “Groundbreaking debacle”. Where they had a huge media event and said they were breaking ground “today”. When the City of Coolidge, AZ didn’t even approve thier permits yet. In fact they haven’t even applied for permits yet. When called out on the lack of progress by several independendent journalists, they sent one or 2 dozers out to push dirt around for 2 weeks. To give the illusion of progress.

    1. What about the jet-ski video. It is sure made to look as if they have a jet-ski, they trailer it to the water, put a women with life-jacket on it like she is getting ready to ride. The later they show it lighting up and peacefully sitting near their campsite. How did it get to the campsite? In the campsite section of the video, it looks like an electric cord in the sand to power the lights. Bottom line, is this another pusher, hill roller, that they what ‘paddled’ to the camp? Certainly the impression is a teaser of a running jet-ski.

  5. This Hindenburg “report” is a complete farce. Hindenburg is continuing to push the narrative that the truck was rolled down a hill in promotional video, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that newer versions of the truck have been seen on camera driving under their own power.

    Their argument is completely irrelevant and based on a distortion of reality. Their argument’s fundamental premise is that Nikola has lied in the past, therefore the present isn’t real. However, that isn’t the case. The trucks do power themselves and they are powered. Why is that not presented in Hindenburg’s report? Omission of facts is a distortion of truth Hindenburg.

    Because Hindenburg refuses to be honest about these simple facts, I find it very difficult to believe the remaining portions of their argument. It’s a shame what short sellers are trying to do to a company that is only trying to advance technology and improve our world. Hindenburg should be ashamed of their actions. In the end, Nikola will remain.

    1. @Austin Lange – are you kidding me??? Yesterday was the past – does that mean if Trevor Milton lied yesterday you give him a free pass? That fact is the “Present” isn’t real if it is all built on lies! And how do YOU know that the trucks are powered? Have you been to their headquarters in Arizona or to Olm, Germany to view the trucks under power? I doubt it. Trevor put out a fake video about their truck “in motion” and ADMITTED that it was not powered. Trevor even sent a picture of partially built trucks in Olm – NOT fully built trucks under “power”.

      Your response to Hindenburg is short-sighted at best and utterly moronic at worse.

    2. Okay Austiin, perhaps you can explain the 3.5megawatts of solar panels? The ‘green’ hydrogen they say they have been producing for sometime. The battery tech they own that is 2x as good as Teslas and is going to disrupt diesel trucks and the battery industry? And on and on and on. Really, show me one press video, interview, youtube, twitter with Trevor that doesn’t contain lies.

      That is a big problem when you are promoting a company that is raising money, going IPO (well reverse merger). Battery tech alone would be worth billions, after all Trevor said Nikola is NOT a Truck company they are an Energy Company that happens to make trucks.

  6. Excellent reporting on NKLA and I thank you for shedding light on this company and their gross misrepresentations. If I can help in any way please let me know.

  7. As in Jim Chanos’ July interview with the London Financial Times ‘ We are in the golden age of fraud’ see https://www.ft.com/content/ccb46309-bba4-4fb7-b3fa-ecb17ea0e9cf). Chanos maintains his short position on Tesla.
    Hindenburg should be congratulated in exposing another corporate ‘con job’ hiding in plain sight.
    Whether the SEC will do anything about Nikola remains to be seen as Harry Markopolos had to wait 8 years before Bernie Madoff was finally exposed – despite years of warnings from Harry to the SEC (starting in 2000 until Madoff was finally arrested in 2008), when, as Warren Buffet noted about the effects of the 2008 credit crunch, ‘Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked’.
    Meantime, please keep up the great work Hindenburg!

  8. i broke this open by asking NKLA on IG and Trev on Twitter if they had permits both in advance of groundbreaking ceremony and on same day and they avoided that question but did state construction was begining that day 07/23.

      1. I know Trevor. If he says he has 400 employees don’t believe it. In his mind there is a very gray region between truth and lie. There are very good reasons he’s being investigated.

        He can continue to blame others for exposing his lies but it doesn’t change his unscrupulous past. He’s the one that put his employees in a precarious position. The truth hurts.

  9. Did you forward this article to GM?
    I am curious if you have asked GM, if during their due diligence, they came across the multitude of fraudulent statements as you have. How could they have missed such easily obtainable information, and in light of this information, do they plan on continuing a business relationship with such a fraudster. I know it must be pretty embarrassing for such a Company as GM to admit they were duped.

    Thanks for such great research
    Tim

  10. Trevor is nothing but a great salesman, with the gift of gab!! This guy is obviously a pathological liar, who has lied so much he actually believes his own bullshit!! I’ve seen most of his interviews on CNBC and he’s very convincing which is scary. I think he wants to believe everything he says, but he has a false reality with the truth.

  11. Did Nikola have permits to roll a prototype vehicle down a public road? Did they violate any traffic laws in doing so, or endanger the film crew and ‘driver’ violating OSHA rules.

  12. In 2014 Walmart debuts futuristic semi. Collaboration with Peterbilt. Elizabeth Freitham was the Senior Director of supply chain sustainability for Walmart. Heavily involved in alternative fuels and trucking. In 2016 she was one of fleet owner magazines outstanding women in trucking.

    Today Ms Freitham is the head of business development for Nikola Motor.

    The Nikola semi bears an uncanny resemblance to the Walmart Prototype.

    Coincidence I’m sure.

  13. Any institutional investor who invested in NKLA should be sued by their clients.

    Even a mediocre amount of due diligence would show that Nikola is smoke and mirrors; no products, no IP, no experienced staff, No customers, no deliveries, etc.

    The Director of hydrogen infrastructure development for Nikola is Trevor’s brother…who has experience as a residential contractor.

    Any fund who invested other people’s money in NKLA, a company whose hydrogen director has that background, should have their pants sued off by their clients.

  14. Your analysis and follow ups have been breathtaking … Makes me wish someday I would get Chance to work with you guys!!

    Keep up the good work

  15. ZapGo in the UK has a 20,000 sq ft office with ‘no people’ in it near Harwell (actually there are at least two people in the office).

    At Christmas drinks the wall displays showed industrial power tools but no vehicles. Their carbon nanotube super caps are not suitable for long range trucks. Vaguely possible that they might be useful for shortrange city robotaxis needing very fast charge times.

    Your ZapGo may be some remote office.

    Rutherford Appleton Laboratory,
    Genesis Building, Library Avenue
    Harwell
    Oxford OX11 0SG
    UK

    Tel: +44 1235 431 160

    Email: info@zapgo.com

  16. Im short with you. Loads of great companies that contribute to scientific breakthroughs. This isn’t one of them. This is clearly a con. Sad that a lot of people are pumping Trevor into the wealth stratosphere. I don’t think he would do the same for them.

  17. I could understand that an average Joe from the street wouldn’t have a clue about the nonsense the guy has been spreading for years. If not your report,I’m sure 2021 would have seen Nikola Space Shuttle, Teleportation device, and Light beam technology based submarines being announced. However, it’s not the average Joe that is going to be a bagholder: it’s the CNH and Bosch that have enough engineers to fill up 20 Nikola trucks ( if they would only exist) who could have told that the whole thing is a joke.

  18. All that you have said is true about what Nikola is true. What was said by Nikola should have been a game changer in the truck manufacturing and the trucking industry. I have invested over $2500.00 in the stock based on what Nikola has presented to be true about the truck. If this is true, then we need to do a class action lawsuit to recover the money we invested

    1. Ouch. Hopefully you can somehow get your money back, Andrew. I was interested in investing as well, given the promise in energy content per mass of hydrogen.

  19. NICOLA – IT IS REAL BIG BULLSHIT!!!
    Justice Department Probes Electric-Truck Startup Nikola Over Claims It Misled Investors U.S. attorney’s office in New York joins SEC regulators in examining allegations related to company’s public statements:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-probes-electric-truck-startup-nikola-over-claims-it-misled-investors-11600199462
    US justice department inquires into Nikola fraud claims:
    https://www.ft.com/content/a45a6638-167b-4e27-a9fd-576e7229f959

    MORE INFO ABOUT CONTRACT WITH GM:
    GM has no reason to back out of its one-sided deal with Nikola
    https://arstechnica.com/cars/2020/09/why-gm-is-sticking-with-nikola-despite-fraud-allegations/

  20. Wow what a shame and i thought that was a nice concept of future semi truck it’s a shame in the video that there pulling a trailer of a well-known trucking company US XPRESS if i was the owner CEO I’ll be embarrassed knowing that NIKOLA was a fraud.
    WHAT A SHAME TREVOR MILTON 😕 😕😕

  21. Thank you for your outstanding report however as a shareholder who has lost money, I am very concerned that you sold your shorted shares on the day the stock rose after the GM announcement in which many investors purchased the shares you sold at high prices just so you could release your report which appears was written and ready to be released at a perfect time so you could make lots of money. What you have done to the shareholders that purchased shared last Thursday is somewhat a con job (hindenburg). Your company has also taken advantage of unprofessional investors even if what you did is legal. I believe SEC should ban you and other professional short sellers from profiting from these circumstances involving investors that are the ones losing their money. Not all investors are rich.

    1. If Nikola is for real, you could have held on to your shares as it someday will go higher than what you purchased at. If Nikola is a fraud, you could have lost it all when the stock crash to zero irrespective of Hindenburg’s involvement. You sold in the middle, which means you believe it is a fraud, so you made money by not holding until the stock hits zero. What does the timing of Hindenbergy’s release have to do with any of this? If you were only holding to eek out a bit of gains from the GM announcement and then sell for a profit then you were speculating, not investing. Speculators have no moral high ground to point the finger at a short seller. Whether you are rich or not is irrelevant.

  22. Consider this:

    June 03, 2020:
    – Nikola and VectoIQ Acquisition Corp. Announce Closing of Business Combination
    – The combined company’s shares to continue to be listed on Nasdaq under new ticker symbol “NKLA”
    – Nikola raises more than $700 million
    – Nikola adds Stephen Girsky, current CEO of VectoIQ and former Vice Chairman of General Motors Corporation, to its Board of Directors

    ~September 10, 2020
    – Under the deal, Nikola will pay GM up to $700 million to cover the cost of building manufacturing capacity for Nikola’s Badger truck.

    Is this all a GM’s operation to defraud investors to get some cash and maybe build manufacturing facilities for free?

  23. Why? Because you lost some money? Isn’t that what the market is all about? Two words. Due diligence. You bought stock in a fraud that had been underway for years.

    1. lol the ones losing money are the short sellers. Feel the squeeze going on the stock is not falling like short seller s had hoped and funny thing is while you fools drive it down I buy more shares and then lock them up so you cannot borrow them to short with. So I keep adding and betting Hindenburg research will lose their ass in their shorting of NKLA. https://www.reddit.com/r/NikolaCorporation/comments/gs2uz5/top_10_nikola_naysayers_baseless_arguments_try/

  24. Thank you for pushing on this. I have been skeptical to Nikola for over a year now, and I think “big buzwords” have inflated the market capitalization of the company. This is a potential disaster in the making if statements cannot be verified – a problem you now have shed some light on. Hopefully the truth will be revealed.

  25. THIS. IS. AMAZING. well done, sir.

    Based on what the SEC said in the Theranos case, NKLA is toast:
    “Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today, not just what they hope it might do someday.”

  26. After Nikola admitted That Its Deceptive “Nikola One in Motion” Video was,, Video of The Semi-Truck Simply Rolling Down A Hill we have all the evidence that the whole show is a scam.
    It’s not Hydrogen but Gravity powered.
    Keep up the great work.

    Short via Puts.

  27. Anybody that can land a used booster rocket on a small rolling ship in the middle of the ocean is certainly not a fraud lol. I can’t believe NKLA hasn’t collapsed. The key issue in this report that stands out is how desperate Big Auto like GM is to hook on a star like TSLA who is eclipsing their market caps

  28. I know Trevor personally and I worked with him as an engineer. I have a lot of stories I could tell to illustrate his true nature. I knew he would be investigated eventually. None of this surprises me at all. Feel free to contact me if you want details.

  29. Well done! Not only tacit admission but in my view, Milton’s statements if accurately represented, and I have no reason to believe they are not, is *confirmation* of securities fraud. Layers of deception, videos crafted carefully to mislead, mealy mouthed responses scream CON in progress. They certainly had your confidence didn’t they Kate? The stock market isn’t for amateurs madame. Hindenburg did a fair amount of due diligence before acting and had every right to sell into a rally – they deserve every penny they took in. If Nicola does everything Trevor claims and the stock price goes to the moon they’re on the hook to buy those shares back no matter how high it goes, so it serves them well to become informed – you should fell lucky they’re telling you anything! -especially before it goes to zero and you lose your entire investment. After all the BS emanating from Milton it would be hazardous to your financial well being to imagine he can pull it all together and make it happen. Nothing wrong here that a lengthy jail term wouldn’t fix..

  30. If I were given a 500 million contract to engineer missiles, I wouldn’t demand all of the engineering data to the Saturn 5 like musk did after setting up the company and discovering that none of his “employees “ could engineer missiles.
    Same with his electric car operation that he had nothing to do with but now owns.
    By the way, how many meetings have you had with musk?

  31. I guess it sucks to be called out on numerous lies. Perhaps you should have actually worked with some real engineers before you started out on your fraud.

  32. I am guessing that the Chief Engineer might come under tremendous pressure to assist the prosecution. A little chat with the Authorities to point out that the Nuremburg defence never excuses you if you help another person do bad things.

    Of course there could be an innocent explanation and then you would not be too embarrassed to talk about what was done.

    If Hindenburg’s allegations are true then there is potential for enormous real-world harm to people who may have been unwise to invest.

  33. So Hindenbrug Research along with Citron put 2 hit job articles (actually fabricated stories made up of lies) out but prior to doing so there is a huge amount of short shares purchased. Yea nothing like a short selling road map to show the real intention of 2 so called research firms aka shorting firms looking to manipulate a stock for their person $$ gain.

    https://fintel.io/ss/us/nkla this link gives everyone an idea of what the short sellers where up to prior to the 2 press releases. Numbers don’t lie. Prior to the release of the first article from 9/8 to 9/10 article release date over 62 Million short shares were purchased. Then prior to 9/15 second article release on 9/11 (Fri) and 9/14 & 9/15 over 65 Million short shares were purchased. so Hindenburg Research made a killing on the first press release because the stock

    Market Date Short Volume Total Volume Short Volume Ratio
    2020-09-17 4,940,532 24,412,811 20.24
    2020-09-16 8,706,316 46,761,600 18.62
    2020-09-15 10,599,423 52,984,900 20.00
    2020-09-14 33,892,553 112,232,500 30.20
    2020-09-11 32,437,617 99,981,400 32.44
    2020-09-10 17,618,490 66,305,900 26.57
    2020-09-09 14,165,754 51,515,100 27.50
    2020-09-08 30,210,239 134,889,600 22.40
    2020-09-04 1,479,123 8,560,900 17.28
    2020-09-03 2,039,785 10,455,257 19.51

    and look at the volume prior to the days leading up to both articles being release compare that to the volume over time from August 18th to Sept 17th. Notice that up until 2 days before the first article release the volume of trading was at the most 13+ million shares. Then take a look at Sept 8th through 16th having higher than normal volumes. You want to still claim there was no intentional manipulataion of NKLA stock taking place. Again Numbers do not lie. Here is a link to the Jun 22nd to Sep 17th data.

    You look at that data and tell me you don’t see a pattern from Sept 8th to Sept 14th you cannot see a huge spike in the volume compared to June, July and August trading. The volume goes way out of proportion on the 2 days leading up to the first fake article released and again 2 days before the Hindenburg Research response to Nikola’s (NKLA) response. Yea no manipulation to short a stock for monetary gain not taking place here LOL. This is a damn road map showing that Hindenburg Research and short sellers knew what was about to be released so they started borrowing shares to short the hell out of them 2 days prior to the start of the NKLA stock manipulation articles and that is exactly what took place. Funny thing is the 9/11 and 9/14 purchase in anticipation of the 9/15 article causing even more stock decline back fired the stock never dropped on 9/15 or there after so shorts sellers were left losing money on over 65 Million shares they shorted on 9/11 & 9/14. Got to love the fact that NKLA investors caught on the Hindenburg Research attempt to manipulate the stock and did not buy Hindenburg Research second article. Oh and it also brought out the Ambulance chasing Law firms that want to represent share holders who lost over $100,000 or $200,000 in value of their NKLA stock and that would mean they won’t represent the little guy.. they will represent mainly the Short Sellers who lost their ass on the second article attempt to manipulate this stock. As for me I bought my shares at $12.03 and I have not lost money I am still green and plan to hold all my shares and add more while this fiasco of a failed Stock manipulation goes on.

    https://ih.advfn.com/stock-market/NASDAQ/nikola-NKLA/historical/more-historical-data

  34. The problem with most of you believing this crap, is that “Hindenburg Research” has a large short position in Nikola, that’s why they are trying so hard to get their hands on this company, lol.
    Why else would you do this, time to wake up folks.

  35. @Poncho Villa – you are a complete JACKASS! You’re worried about the lives of 400 employees at a “fake” company versus the millions of people who invest their money for retirement purposes???

    Also, if you’re name is referring to the Mexican Revolutionary General – it’s spelled Pancho Villa you illiterate moron.

  36. @Paul – “Why else would do this?” How about the truth Paul??? Hindenburg never said that they weren’t profiting from the article. They are SHORT SELLERS who do research on disreputable companies and profit from the work that they do to uncover dirt. If them making a profit from uncovering dishonest companies is the price to pay for the truth, then great!

    Most people understand this concept, but obviously not you.

    1. @ekranoplan – You mean the lawsuit resulting from Musk’s tweet by which he intended to squeeze short-sellers vs. Milton’s fake & outsourced products, stock pumping, and securities fraud? I am no fan of Musk or short sellers (sorry, Nathan!), yet there is a mountain of difference between lawsuits which inadvertently follow development of new technologies and those which target calculated deception. Now that DOJ got on board atop SEC, it is time to prep your popcorn.

  37. My life is too short to waste much time on those Elon lists – a quick scan does not show anything special or new. I have been following Andrej Karpathy and his fellow travellers closely and I admire the technical details very much. Most of the engineers that I know hear the same story about the distribution of possible outcomes but . The juvenile 420 comment was not an attempt to pump the stock and that seemed pretty obvious at the time.

    Similarly when he tweets ‘Aliens built the pyramids obv’.

    To avoid these types of controversy he would need a large PR team. I don’t want him to do that.

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