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Nikola stock plunges 26% after fraud claims complicate hydrogen plans

Enlarge / A Nel/Nikola refueling pump is shown in a 2019 publicity photo. (credit: Nikola Motor Company)

Shares of hydrogen truck startup Nikola plunged 26 percent on Wednesday after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company was struggling to find partners to build a planned network of hydrogen fueling stations. Nikola’s stock closed at $21.15 on Wednesday, a decline of 57 percent from the $50 peak reached on September 8, the day Nikola announced that GM would design and manufacture its Badger pickup truck.

Shortly after the GM deal was announced, the short-selling firm Hindenburg Research revealed that Nikola founder Trevor Milton wasn’t telling the truth at a 2016 event when he claimed that the Nikola One truck on the stage “fully functions.” Nikola now concedes that the truck never worked and that a promotional video of the truck was made by rolling it down a hill.

Nikola argued that this was old news because Nikola is no longer marketing the Nikola One and has a working prototype of the Nikola Two. But the revelations threw the company into chaos and forced Milton to resign on Sunday.

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