Rio Tinto to acquire Rincon Mining lithium project for $825M
Advent Technologies, BASF sign MoU to increase manufacturing scale of advanced fuel cell membranes

Electric truck maker Nikola settles with SEC; $125M in civil penalty over two years

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Nikola Corporation, a developer of battery-electric and fuel-cell-electric heavy-duty trucks, has agreed to pay $125 million to settle charges that it defrauded investors by misleading them about its products, technical advancements, and commercial prospects.

The settlement follows the SEC’s litigated action filed earlier this year against Trevor Milton, the company’s founder and former CEO and Executive Chairman.

Nikola will pay the $125 million to the SEC in five installments over two years. The first installment will be paid by the end of 2021, and the remaining installments will be paid semiannually through 2023.

The SEC said that Nikola also agreed to continue cooperating with the Commission’s ongoing litigation and investigation. The order also establishes a Fair Fund to return the penalty proceeds to victim investors.

According to the SEC, before Nikola had produced a single commercial product, Milton embarked on a public relations campaign aimed at inflating and maintaining Nikola’s stock price. Milton’s statements in tweets and media appearances falsely gave investors the impression that Nikola had reached certain product and technological milestones.

The SEC order finds that Milton misled investors about Nikola’s technological advancements, in-house production capabilities, hydrogen production, truck reservations and orders, and financial outlook. The order also finds that Nikola further misled investors by misrepresenting or omitting material facts about the refueling time of its prototype vehicles, the status of its headquarters’ hydrogen station, the anticipated cost and sources of electricity for its planned hydrogen production, and the economic risks and benefits associated with its contemplated partnership with a leading auto manufacturer (GM).

Under the terms of the resolution, Nikola neither admits nor denies the SEC’s findings in this matter.

The company said it has taken action to seek reimbursement from its founder, Trevor Milton, for costs and damages in connection with the government and regulatory investigations.



I am glad to see that they are paying the find but I think that they also should admit wrong doing. I am also glad that they have taken action to seek reimbursement from its founder, Trevor Milton, for costs and damages. I hope that they manage to claw back any and all of his ill gotten gains and I also hope that he get to spend some time in the slam for fraud.

About 3 years ago, my company was moving into a larger part of the same building that Nikola was moving out when they go the sweetheart deal with Arizona. I was allowed to give myself a self-guided tour or their prototype but, of course, there was no proprietary information to steal. All I could see were the outsides of the empty gear cases, etc. which did not have gears or motors or anyway to drive the motors if they were there. I kept wondering why they were worth so much more than our company when all they had was a prototype and we were shipping at least one machine a week worth about $250K. I was one of 4 engineers that had started a high-tech ag company to build machines that are basically are part tractor and part robot. I am mostly retired now as I am in my late 70s. In just over 10 years we grew from 4 engineers and 2 part time people to over 225 employees. We were given an award for being the fast growing company in Utah 2 year in a row while involved in heavy manufacturing. But at the same time, Nikola was worth $billions. I was not that surprised to learn that it was mostly a scam. They have finally delivered a battery electric truck that is basically an IVECO truck with Nikola badges. Maybe, they will build vehicles in Arizona someday and maybe they will even deliver fuel cell powered trucks but I would not hold my breath waiting.

Tesla (or Elon Musk) has repeatedly over-promised and under delivered but at least you can go buy Tesla cars that are reasonable vehicles and Space-X makes rockets that work. Still there is no way that Tesla as a company is worth more than GM or Ford. Also, where is their over-hyped Semi or pickup.

The comments to this entry are closed.