On the heels of numerous fraud allegations and the departure of former CEO and alleged sexual predator Trevor Milton, it’s safe to say that the shine is off of Nikola’s apple. Now, one of Nikola Corp.’s early strategic partners, Robert Bosch GmbH, has cut its stake in the electric/hydrogen truck startup to just 4.9% (from over 6.4%) after a lockup that restricted stock sales by early investors expired earlier in the week.
News of Bosch’s divestment of Nikola shares comes after a number of other companies which had previously aligned themselves with Nikola have also publicly stepped back from the company — the most notable, of course, being General Motors, which had previously announced plans to manufacture the Nikola Badger pickup.
It’s hard to say what kind of long-term impact either GM or Bosch’s decisions to pull back from Nikola will impact the company as it goes forward, with executives on both sides seemingly down-playing the news. “Our initial investment was primarily meant to support the development of hydrogen technology,” Bosch company spokesperson Tim Wieland told Bloomberg. It’s definitely worth noting, as well, that the development partnership between Bosch and Nikola that was concluded in 2017 seems like it’s still in place.
It’s also worth noting that, in contrast to the non-functional hydrogen fuel cell “rollers” shown in the US, the Iveco-built fully electric Nikola Tre trucks being sold over in Europe definitely benefit from Bosch know-how, and they seem to be well on their way to production, with shipments of the battery electric Tre expected to commence in 2021, with the hydrogen fuel cell powered version expected to reach customers by 2023. The first pre-production Tre prototype was recently shown off to CNET back in November, which you can check out below.
You may already know how I feel about Trevor Milton and Nikola, but what do you guys think? Is this just another day of normal business in a post-COVID economy that may not want to replace its entire trucking fleet as early as expected, or have Bosch and GM realized that Nikola isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and they’re getting out while they still can? Scroll on down to the comments and tell us what you think.