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Owner Of Electric Truck Startup Tries To Fake Its Demo, Gets Charged For Fraud

The automobile industry is shifting fast towards electric vehicles. This is because there has been an increasing level of focus on sustainability and clean commutes recently. More and more companies are working on this technology and coming up with electric vehicles in the market. Let it be Tesla, Volkswagen, Toyota, or other companies, every automaker is jumping on the bandwagon and introducing what is in demand these days. One such company is Nikola. However, it got caught using a dishonest way of disclosing its technology of electric vehicles.

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference, in New York, Thursday, July 29, 2021. She announced that Trevor Milton, founder and one-time executive chair of Nikola Corp., surrendered Thursday in New York to face charges alleging he lied about the electric and hydrogen-powered truck startup, duping some financially struggling novice investors looking for income during the pandemic. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Recently, the Nikola motor company revealed that it is working on electric trucks. The founder, Trevor Milton, lured the crowd and investors into thinking that the company is closer to building a fully functional product than it actually was. When this was disclosed that he was lying and only did so to get more investments, he was charged with securities fraud. He had raised more than 500 million dollars.

The truck was showed as autonomously driven while, it was just moving downhill. Also, the company claimed it was making hydrogen fuel that was proven to be a false claim as well, done just to get billions of investments.

Aiming to give tough competition to Tesla in the market, it started to get a foothold in the industry during 2020. With the developments the company announced, General Motors bought an equity stake in the company for 2 billion dollars. This was also done to support the Badger truck launch.

However, the hype only lasted for a week. A firm named Hindenburg Research has alleged that it was all a fraud and a hoax to gather investments from companies. The evidence shown of the truck’s performance was all edited. It was made to move faster by speeding the video up and made to move down from a hill to show automated movement.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has presently declined to comment on whether it is investigating the matter. However, there are claims that an investigation is ongoing by the organization. General Motors has terminated the equity stake deal, and the founder, Milton, had to resign from his leadership position. The company is downgrading ever since. Their 14 million dollar project of electric ATV and boat was also shut down.

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