Nikola: Businessman Trevor Milton, founder of the Nikola automaker, was officially accused this Thursday (29) of fraud in a district court in New York. The allegations date back to 2020, when information surfaced that publicity material for the Nikola One truck, which would run on hydrogen fuel cells, was actually put together to make it look like the vehicle was indeed ready.
According to The Verge, since 2016, he has raised more than US$ 500 million in investments after deceiving investors, since the product in question, in fact, was still far from being ready.
“Milton sold a version of Nikola not as it was — a company early in life with a unique idea to market but still needing to prove the products and technology — but as a pioneering company that had already achieved many revolutionary goals.” , says the prosecution.
In fact, Nikola still hadn’t finished testing and didn’t even have the technology ready to run the truck. Even so, the company omitted this detail and published a video showing the vehicle on a slope, without the need for an engine to run, and with footage from different angles of the same path, giving the sensation of movement in more than one location.
The indictment also says that all of the car’s electrical components at the time, in addition to the hydrogen compartment, were not yet ready or installed. Even the interface that appears in the video, with Milton in charge of the ignition, was an improvised integrated tablet to simulate a control panel.
rise and fall
Nikola has appeared in the specialized news for a few years as a bold company and a direct rival to Tesla — so much so that the automaker adopted the name of inventor Nikola Tesla, directly linking both brands. The less famous brand even sued the competitor for accusations that were not pursued.
In 2020, however, accusations of fraud began and led to Trevor’s departure from the company, as well as the end of a billion-dollar contract with General Motors. At the time, it was even said that fraud was a threat to the future of hydrogen trucks.