Electric vehicle company Nikola admits demo truck was just rolling downhill

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/15/electric-vehicle-company-nikol.html


Wait…an electric vehicle company as a direct competitor to Tesla named…Nikola? And it’s not just a parody company? I am sure I’m very late to this irony, this demo having come out in 2016 , but it’s the first I’m hearing of it, and that would be legitimately funny Yes-Men style parody of the Tesla truck hype.


The tell all book about the fall of Nikola is going to be great.

I can’t wait to hear stories from all the ex-Cummins engineers that were lured away from Columbus, Indiana for fancy west coast jobs only to find that the whole thing was a sham. How can one book contain so many non-ironic mutton chop sideburns and handlebar mustaches? We will find out.


It’s a shame that corporate fraud isn’t viewed as cumulative theft.
For example - if you swindle $2B worth of stock, then the punishment is the same as robbing 2000 banks.




Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.


They’re as original in their choice of company name as they are in their means of trying to dupe investors.


There’s no reason it shouldn’t be, except that robbing banks is a blue collar crime and white collar criminals write the laws.


Making an electric truck is 1950 technology.
The problem are the batteries. But fitting a container with 250 marine lead-acid batteries and a trolleybus engine in a diesel truck isn’t rocket science.


The thing is, it’s not hard to make a functional electric vehicle. At all. So the fact that, even at an early stage, they had a truck body that didn’t work is… troubling.


It would be interesting to know if the lead-up to that photoshoot was pure cynicism, misplaced optimism, or profound incompetence; but that is the aspect that puzzles me about this as well.

If you want to build electric vehicles in quantity and cost effectively, then you have a hard problem. If you want to push the envelope on range, then you have a hard problem. A handbuilt once-off, though, unless you add harsh constraints around use of 3rd party parts or the like, is hardly a toy project; but is manageable enough to fall within the range of even reasonably hardcore hobbyists.

I, apparently naively, would have assumed that “have a kit-conversion or better grade prototype that had to be manually constructed by a team of engineers and mechanics and is mostly 3rd party parts; but is of course fully functional” would be the bare minimum for anyone proposing to be a serious EV manufacturer; with the actually-hard problems that kill most of the contenders being cost, range, or ironing out mass production.


Funny, it’s not like electric vehicles are new. EVs dominated car and truck sales circa 1900. Cities were filled with electric taxis. Industrial EVs have been built ever since. You want a tractor unit that will haul cargo a long way? Add more batteries.


I feel like the SEC may be interested in this. Their IPO was in June; if they hadn’t come clean about it at that point then you’d think it would be fraud.

still too far from the cliff edge

…helps if you haffer a boring hat to wear :slight_smile:

“fake it til you make it.” is just another way of saying “lie about it untill enough people believe and support you so you can attempt to make it true.”


Another variation: “Give us the money first and we will build you whatever you want.”

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Und wer hat’s erfunden???

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Is that from when they constructed some of the dams near Bormio?

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Yes, that was the “Filovia dello Stelvio” that was dismatled in 1962 unfortunately.

Because was the Milan Electricity Company that needed trucks on a steep mountain, so they had electricity at low price, and because the road was steep so older trucks were difficult to drive uphill was decided to make these electric trucks.