Manufacturer Nikola has admitted a promotional video on YouTube exhibits its hydrogen-powered lorry rolling downhill quite than shifting beneath its personal energy.
The video, posted by founder Trevor Milton in January 2018 and considered greater than 260,000 occasions, seems to point out the lorry driving alongside a desert freeway.
Nikola denied deceptive traders and false promoting, including a working lorry had been filmed in 2019.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating.
Nikola mentioned it had “contacted and briefed” the SEC and supposed to totally co-operate with its inquiry.
The 2018 video was accompanied by the textual content: “Behold the 1,000 HP zero-emission Nikola One semi-truck in motion.”
But the corporate has now admitted though the lorry’s gearbox, batteries and different elements have been purposeful, it didn’t have a working hydrogen gas cell.
“As Nikola pivoted to the next generation of trucks, it ultimately decided not to invest additional resources into completing the process to make the Nikola One drive on its own propulsion,” it mentioned in a 2,700-word response to a report from Hindenburg Research it mentioned was “false and defamatory” and designed to profit so-called brief sellers – traders who guess a inventory will drop in value – together with Hindenburg itself.
Nikola additionally admitted it had used a third-party inverter, a key electrical part, and hid it with a sticker in a video.
But it mentioned this was “common practice” amongst automobile producers, including it was designing, engineering and dealing by itself inverters.
The firm is constructing a manufacturing unit in Arizona and plans to start out manufacturing of a battery-operated electrical lorry by the top of 2021.
And in 2022, it can start manufacturing of its Badger pickup van, which can use hydrogen gas cells equipped by General Motors, as will its deliberate articulated lorries.
Shares in Nikola and GM have dropped in value for the reason that Hindenburg report’s publication.
And Nikola is now threatening authorized motion in opposition to the analysis firm.