Enlarge /. The front half of the Nikola Badger.
Nikola CEO Mark Russell downplayed the company's badger pickup in comments to the Financial Times on Thursday.
"The Badger has been an interesting and exciting project for some shareholders, but our institutional shareholders are mostly focused on the business plan," said Russell. "Our core business plan since we were listed has always focused on heavy trucks and hydrogen infrastructure."
Russell's comments were made public after markets closed on Thursday. Nikola share price fell Friday morning and is currently down around 14 percent.
Negotiations with General Motors over the planning and construction of the truck took weeks longer than expected. Nikola and GM announced a far-reaching partnership on September 8th. It stipulated that GM not only built the badger, but also supplied the batteries and fuel cells that power the trucks. Under the agreement, GM would also supply hydrogen fuel cell technology for Nikolas tractor units outside of the European market.
Nikola was to provide GM with $ 2 billion worth of shares to license GM technology, reimburse GM to build a roof factory, and then pay GM on a cost basis to assemble the roof.
The value of Nikolas shares rose immediately after the Sept. 8 announcement, but rose again after a short-selling firm revealed Nikola CEO Trevor Milton lied when he said Nikolas first truck, the Nikola One, was fully functional. Nikola admitted that a promotional video showed the truck rolling down a hill and not driving on its own. The drop in prices has meant GM's expected $ 2 billion stake in Nikola is worth much less.