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Nikola’s Slow-Motion Collapse Continues Apace

Illustration for article titled Nikola's Slow-Motion Collapse Continues Apace

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Nikola, the electric truck startup that was once valued at $26 billion despite having no revenue, has had as weird a time during the pandemic as anyone. Nikola was accused of being an “intricate fraud,” and then its founder left. It has since tried to soldier on in diminished form but each new update is bleaker than the last.

On Wednesday, Nikola said it had another update. The update wasn’t good, per Reuters:

Nikola said on Wednesday its fuel-cell development head, Jesse Schneider, has left the company to pursue opportunities in the hydrogen industry, sending shares of the electric-truck maker down 5%.

The departure comes just over a month after Nikola disclosed details on its hydrogen fuel-cell-powered product lineup that will include vehicles with a driving range of up to 900 miles.

Schneider, who spent three years at the startup as an executive vice-president, oversaw the development of its fuel cell and hydrogen team, Nikola said in a statement.

Nikola’s stock is down to just over $12 a share as of this writing, giving it a valuation of a little under $5 billion, which isn’t $26 billion but still feels like a lot for a startup with a past like Nikola’s and a future that isn’t looking much brighter. Because, when longtime employees like Schneider see the new, allegedly more sensible plan for the company’s future and decide to bolt anyway, that’s how you know the problems at Nikola might not have left with its founder.

I do wonder how this will play out, in that we’ve seen startups completely fizzle out in a flash, and we’ve seen startups just kind of hang on, and hang on, and hang on. We’ve also seen a startup succeed.

Anyway, I was thinking about Elio Motors randomly earlier. You remember them. Elio’s website is still up, if you’re wondering. You can still reserve yourself an Elio today.


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