was listed in April. Nikola, known as the “truck world Tesla”, seems to have been poked up by the market bubble. GM said on Tuesday it would delay the acquisition of an 11% stake in Nikola, a U.S. electric truck maker, due to short selling reports and accusations of fraud and sexual assault on Founder Trevor Milton, foreign media reported. Nikola shares closed down 7.4 percent to $17.88, the lowest closing price since the company went public on June 4, while GM shares closed down 2.4 percent to $28.74. On September 8, GM said it would spend $2 billion to buy 11% of Nikola. It is understood that through the deal, GM will be able to supply Nikola with battery and fuel cell technology, and help design and manufacture badger pickups. < / P > < p > the deal was warmly welcomed by Wall Street, with Nikola’s shares closing up 40.79% at $50.05 on the day of the announcement. Trevor Milton, Nikola’s founder and executive chairman, called GM a “Paradise like partnership.”. Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive, described the deal as a “win-win.”. < / P > < p > just two days after the announcement, on September 10, Hindenburg research, a short seller, issued a rebuke report accusing Milton of making false statements about the company’s technology in order to attract investors and other car manufacturers. The report said Nikola was based on Milton’s “complex fraud” and questioned Milton’s past business, claiming that many of the companies it founded ended up in lawsuits or went bankrupt. Ten days later, on September 21, Milton abruptly resigned and agreed to give up about $166 million in shares and board seats. < / P > < p > it is reported that Milton’s sudden resignation and fraud charges triggered inquiries from the securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of justice, and led to a sharp drop in Nikola’s share price. The company’s share price has fallen more than 60% since the deal was announced, making the company less attractive to GM. < / P > < p > however, the blow continues. According to CNBC, two women have filed sexual assault charges against Milton with authorities in Utah, us. The accused are Milton’s cousin and office assistant. Although Milton, as a party, was over 15 years old in both cases, the two “victims” were only 15 and 17 years old respectively. < / P > < p > according to documents released by Nikola when announcing the partnership, either party can terminate the transaction if the transaction is not completed by December 3. < / P > < p > GM declined to disclose whether it was aware of any fraud or sexual assault charges against Milton. Mary Barra endorsed GM’s partnership with Nikola earlier last month, saying it had conducted “due diligence” before announcing the agreement. < / P > < p > it is understood that Nikola and GM were connected by Steve Girsky, the former vice chairman of GM, who was appointed as the new executive chairman after Milton resigned. Girsky is the managing partner of vectoiq, the special purpose acquisition company that led Nikola’s IPO. After the deal was completed, he joined Nikola’s board of directors. < / P > < p > so far, Girsky has not commented on this. Bosch, a partner of Nikola’s auto suppliers since 2017, also declined to comment on its due diligence procedures for Nikola. < / P > < p > according to Reuters, in a lawsuit against Tesla in 2018, Nikola accused Tesla of patent infringement, saying that the design of Tesla semi is similar to that of Nikola one, which is a zero emission hydrogen semi truck released by Nikola. In the charges, Nikola claimed that Trevor Milton designed the truck in his basement. < / P > < p > according to the source, Milton bought the original design of Nikola one from the designer of rimac automotive, a Croatian electric car brand. Milton met Adriano mudri, design director, during a visit to rimac’s Croatian headquarters in 2015, and spent thousands of dollars on virtual 3D models and computer drawings of truck designs. < / P > < p > it is understood that Tesla refuted last week that Nikola could not protect the truck design because it came from mudri, not Milton. A Nikola spokesman said in an email that Nikola one was designed and patented by the company. In the process of vehicle development, it is very common to buy design from a third party. Although there is a purchase behavior between Nikola and mudri, he is not a member of the design team, and his design is substantially different from Nikola’s final product. < / P > < p > in addition, the company’s autonomous driving technology has also been questioned. Short seller Hindenburg research pointed out in the report that Nikola towed the truck to the top of a remote area, and then photographed the truck rushing down the mountain as a test of autonomous driving technology. Nikola’s response to this is a sophistry. The company has never claimed that automatic driving means that the truck “drives” itself. These jaw dropping accusations have shaken Milton’s image. For years, he has been trying to imitate jobs and musk, trying to connect his image with the company, using his charisma to help the company finance and promote. < p > < p > < p > in an article in 2019, Forbes described Milton as a “garage Tinker for life,” describing his missionary journey from college to Brazil. He said it was this trip that brought environmental concerns to his attention. In 2010, he set up a company to design natural gas systems. This is a typical report about the image of the founder. By comparing Nikola with Tesla, Milton’s image is directly linked to musk. < / P > < p > the pattern of college dropouts landing in an extremely complex field and then subverting the whole industry overnight sounds familiar. Elizabeth Holmes, founder of theranos, a blood testing start-up, used the same approach to avoid scrutiny and help the company reach a $9 billion valuation before it was proven to be fraudulent. After the theranos scandal, the era of Founder worship seems to be coming to an end. Two years later, however, the collapse of Milton’s image suggests that such a model is not over. < / P > < p > when General Motors was ready to pay $2 billion for Nikola shares, the latter had little revenue and had never produced a truck. But the news of the acquisition still made Mikola’s market value temporarily surpass that of Ford.
it is true that there are factors contributing to the bubble of technology stocks, but it is Nikola’s business model that attracts investors and other carmakers. This model attracts celebrities, investors and giants in the automotive industry, but it also depends on significant technological advances and substantial cost reductions. < / P > < p > when Trevor Milton founded Nikola in 2015, only a few startups were looking for ways to accelerate the development of clean energy in the automotive industry. Milton saw the potential of hydrogen as a non fossil fuel for trucks, which led Nikola to initially plan to use batteries to power trucks. Because of its cost, hydrogen has not been used in automobile industry. < / P > < p > the company raised the question of whether it would be more economical if companies that make hydrogen powered vehicles also sell hydrogen electric fuel. Selling fuel can pay for the construction of a network of hydrogen stations, making hydrogen powered trucks more viable. < / P > < p > “the only way to reduce costs is to integrate it with trucks, and when you buy our trucks, we’ll provide you with hydrogen services and all the fuel you need for the entire life cycle,” Trevor Milton said in a July podcast. “And you only pay by mile.” < / P > < p > this approach faces technical and cost challenges, and Nikola deliberately downplayed these details in his speech in March, assuming that the company can buy electricity far below the current price and its hydrogen plant will operate at full capacity. “Savings are expected in 2025 and beyond due to anticipated technological advances,” it notes in a footnote to the presentation The business model that underpins Nikola is supported by the automotive industry. In addition to Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive officer, the endorsement was also made by auto industry celebrity Stephen Girsky, German auto parts manufacturer Robert Bosch GmbH and European Truck manufacturer Iveco. Of course, these companies did not take too much financial risk for Nikola. GM, for example, had planned to take a $2 billion stake in Nikola in exchange for providing it with batteries and fuel cell technology, a deal that did not include any cash. Another key element of Nikola’s promotion is its plan to reduce the cost of producing so-called green hydrogen, which relies on renewable energy to produce hydrogen fuel. Nikola said in this year’s investor briefing that it could produce green hydrogen at a price of $2.47 per kilogram; analysts said such a price would be difficult to achieve in the near future. JPMorgan analysts said in June that the cost of producing, storing and distributing green hydrogen is too high at present, adding that electricity accounts for 80% of the cost of hydrogen production. < / P > < p > Nikola assumes that the company can buy renewable energy at 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour. According to the U.S. energy information administration, industrial customers pay nearly 7 cents for grid power, while commercial customers pay nearly 11 cents for grid power. < / P > < p > hydrogen used in chemical production and many other industries is usually generated from coal or natural gas through a carbon emission process. On the other hand, green hydrogen produced by renewable energy can eliminate carbon emissions because the electrolysis process removes hydrogen atoms from water molecules. At present, green hydrogen only accounts for 1% of global hydrogen production. < / P > < p > however, in the past five years, the production costs of wind and solar have fallen by about 40%. According to IHS Markit, the lowest production cost for green hydrogen is about 4 euros per kilogram. IHS Markit expects the cost of green hydrogen to fall below EUR 2 by 2030 as more projects are deployed on a large scale in areas where renewable energy can be purchased cheaply. Bosch, the German industrial group, is still supplying parts for planned hydrogen trucks, Nikola finance executives said in an investor event recently that Bosch and CNH industrial, the European company planning to make Nikola tre, are still partners, while GM still plans to produce badger, according to Reuters Pick up trucks and provide technology for heavy trucks; fleet owners who have placed orders for half trucks have not opted out. < / P > < p > on Wednesday, the company said its production schedule and engineering plans were not affected by recent scandals and were still on track. This statement, to a certain extent, eliminates investors’ general concerns about its business and its deal with GM. On Thursday, Nikola’s share price soared 31% at one time, and rose 17.72% as of 7:59pm EST on October 1