Nikola CEO Mark Russell abandoned the company’s Badger pickup truck as comments to the Financial Times on Thursday.
“Badger is an interesting and exciting project for some shareholders, but our institutional shareholders are more focused on the business plan,” Russell said. “Our main business plan since before we were listed publicly has always been focused on heavy trucks and hydrogen infrastructure.”;
Russell’s comments were published after markets closed on Thursday. Nikola’s stock price plunged Friday morning and is currently down nearly 14 percent for the day.
Negotiations with General Motors to design and build the truck have dragged on for weeks longer than expected. Nikola and GM announced a broad partnership on September 8. It thought GM was not only developing Badger but also providing batteries and fuel cells that boost trucks. Under the agreement, GM will also provide hydrogen fuel-cell technology for Nikola’s semi trucks outside the European market.
Nikola must provide GM with $ 2 billion worth of stock to license GM technology, pay the GM to build a Badger factory, and then pay the GM a basic additional cost to assemble the Badger.
Nikola’s stock price rose immediately after the announcement on September 8, but then tanked after a short-selling company revealed that Nikola CEO Trevor Milton lied when he said Nikola’s first truck, the Nikola One, is fully functional. Nikola admitted that a promotional video showed the truck rolling on a hill, not traveling under its own force. The price decline has led to GM expecting a $ 2 billion stake in Nikola worth less.