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Nikola shares fall 14 percent after the CEO dropped plans for Badger trucks

A large pickup gradually disappears.
Enlarge / The front half of Nikola Badger.

Nikola CEO Mark Russell downplayed the company’s Badger pickup in comments to the Financial Times on Thursday.

“Badger was an interesting and exciting project for some shareholders, but our institutional shareholders are mostly focused on the business plan,”

; Russell said. “Our core business plan since before we were listed always focused on heavy trucks and hydrogen infrastructure.”

Russell’s comments were released after markets closed Thursday. Nikola’s stock price fell Friday morning and is currently down about 14 percent for the day.

Negotiations with General Motors to design and build the truck have taken weeks longer than expected. Nikola and GM announced a broad partnership on September 8th. It was imagined that GM would not only build the Badger, but also supply batteries and fuel cells that power trucks. Under the agreement, GM would also supply hydrogen fuel cell technology to Nikola’s semi-trucks outside the European market.

Nikola was supposed to license GM $ 2 billion worth of GM technology, repay GM to build a Badger plant, and then pay GM on a plus-plus basis to assemble Badger.

The value of Nikola’s share rose sharply after the announcement on September 8, but it then refueled after a card sales company revealed that Nikola CEO Trevor Milton had lied when he said Nikola’s first truck, the Nikola One, was fully operational. Nikola has admitted that a promotional video showed the truck rolling down a hill and not traveling on its own. The price drop has made GM’s expected $ 2 billion stake in Nikola much less worthwhile.

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