The truck's future is looking grimmer than ever.
What should have been the beginning of a whole new era for Nikola has turned into an embarrassment. In September, the electric truck start-up announced a $2 billion agreement with General Motors that included the homologation, engineering, and production of the Nikola Badger.
And then came the real bombshell.
A short-seller report was released days later accusing Nikola of deception, fraud, and misleading investors. Literally, overnight, Nikola's share value dropped by 50 percent and its founder and CEO Trevor Milton resigned. Industry analysts encouraged GM to drop out of the agreement but the automaker preferred to renegotiate the terms. The deadline to do is this Thursday, December 3 and it appears a new agreement has now been reached.
Nikola has just announced a new non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GM for a global supply agreement regarding the use of the Hydrotec fuel-cell system for Nikola's Class 7 and Class 8 commercial semi-trucks. This agreement replaces the old one entirely, meaning GM won't build the Badger pickup truck and will solely act as a supplier of parts.
Hidden deeper in the press release was one very brief but ultra-important sentence: "Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger." This suggests Badger is dead in the water. However, the new agreement is still "subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation acceptable to both parties." The GMC Hummer EV will have one less competitor to worry about now.
Nikola began accepting $5,000 pre-orders for the Badger in late June even before the official reveal event which, ironically enough, would have been this coming weekend. Nikola did not say how many pre-orders it has on file.
"We are excited to take this important step with GM, which provides an opportunity to leverage the resources, strengths and talent of both companies," said Mark Russell, Chief Executive Officer of Nikola. "Heavy trucks remain our core business and we are 100% focused on hitting our development milestones to bring clean hydrogen and battery-electric commercial trucks to market."