The Ford F-150 Raptor Was Used In The Construction Of The Nikola Badger Prototype
Nikola, an electric vehicle (EV) company, introduced the Badger concept of an EV pickup truck in February 2020, promising a
Nikola, an electric vehicle (EV) company, introduced the Badger concept of an EV pickup truck in February 2020, promising a choice between a battery-electric or a hydrogen fuel-cell engine.
Badger pre orders began in June of 2020, but the project was scrapped in November of that year when GM pulled out of an agreement to manufacture the vehicle for Nikola.
New information on the Nikola Badger was revealed during the criminal fraud trial of Nikola creator Trevor Milton. According to the evidence, Nikola did not have a prototype and manufacturing plan for the truck when it began accepting $5,000 reservations from customers.
The jury was informed that the Ford F-150 Raptor and a “chopped up” electric Nikola power sports car were used in the construction of the prototype displayed to the public in February 2020.
As reported by Bloomberg, former Nikola manager Brendan Babiarz allegedly made the disclosure last week in a Manhattan federal court. Babiarz, who headed up the Badger design team and made the truck’s drawings, said they had to wing it to make Milton’s deadline for revealing the pickup.
It caught me off guard a bit. We did not set a firm date since we were still working on the vehicles at the time, and the timing just wasn’t right.
Prosecutors questioned Babiarz about his conversations with other Nikola workers in which he voiced alarm about Milton’s tweets and public remarks from 2020.
Babiarz shared Milton’s June 7, 2020 tweet that Nikola will begin accepting Badger reservations later that month to Badger project head engineer Michael Erickson with the remark, “Oh no.”
On Thursday, Babiarz informed Erickson, “I told Trevor we are at least 6-8 weeks from any tooling commencing,” according to transcripts submitted before the jury. But, as one of his fans put it, “Trevor doesn’t allow facts or specifics to stand in the way of a compelling narrative.”
Trevor Milton has been charged with securities & wire fraud for allegedly misleading investors by falsely claiming that the company’s goods were fully functioning and exaggerating the company’s technology and related capabilities. If he’s found guilty of the most severe accusation, he faces a potential jail sentence of 25 years.
According to the defense team, Milton was only executing the company’s marketing strategy and never made any statements he didn’t believe to be accurate.
Babiarz also said that Milton’s tweet signaling Nikola would begin accepting orders again for Badger caught him off guard.
The Badger was a non-functional prototype, much as the false semi-truck pushed downhill to prove that it works. This came to light during last week’s trial of Trevor Milton. According to Ford Authority, which quoted Bloomberg, Nikola utilized Ford F-150 Raptor components to construct the Badger prototype. Since Milton’s goal was to beat Ford, and General Motors was meant to build the vehicle using its own proprietary EV technology, Ultium, this is humorous for several reasons.
Former Nikola member Brendan Babiarz, who oversaw the design and provided conceptual artwork for the vehicle, testified at trial that the company had employed Raptor components in the prototype’s early stages of development. Babiarz provided the jury with text messages between himself and Milton to support his assertions. In addition, according to reports, Babiarz allegedly sought to discourage Milton from making June 2020 bookings for the Badger.
If found guilty, the maximum sentence for Milton’s securities and wire fraud offenses is 25 years in jail. After resolving fraud charges with the SEC a year ago for $125 million, Nikola is doing much better now. It remains to be seen whether the firm can overcome these obstacles and become the game-changing electric vehicle manufacturer it aspires to be.