The Badger Is Dead As Nikola Walks Back Its Partnership With GM

Illustration for article titled The Badger Is Dead As Nikola Walks Back Its Partnership With GM
Photo: Nikola

It was in February when Nikola announced its alternative-fuel Badger truck, before Nikola was called an “intricate fraud,” before Nikola’s CEO Trevor Milton stepped aside, before Nikola announced a partnership that included a GM stake in Nikola, a proposal that GM later waffled on.

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Today, it was announced that GM wouldn’t be taking a stake at all, and by the way, the Badger is dead.

Nikola announced a new memorandum of understanding with GM, one that was non-binding and one that would replace the previously announced partnership agreement. It is ... a big walk back from that previous one, which had GM taking an 11 percent stake in Nikola. That stake at the time was worth some $2 billion, and the announcement sent Nikola stock soaring.

Today’s announcement, predictably, sent Nikola stock plummeting.

The relevant grafs from Nikola’s press release:

Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA) today announced the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with General Motors for a global supply agreement related to the integration of GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell system into Nikola’s commercial semi-trucks. This supersedes and replaces the transaction announced on September 8, 2020.

Under the terms of the MOU, Nikola and GM will work together to integrate GM’s Hydrotec fuel-cell technology into Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 zero-emission semi-trucks for the medium- and long-haul trucking sectors.

[...]

The agreement between Nikola and GM is subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation acceptable to both parties. The MOU does not include the previously contemplated GM equity stake in Nikola or development of the Nikola Badger. As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership. Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger.

This news should be a warning shot to all the electric startups that — propelled by the success of Tesla — have kept making the bubble bigger. But it should be a bigger note of caution for the people who invest in these companies: Making cars is hard, and anyone who tells you different is lying.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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I’m still holding out for my Elio.