Toronto, Ontario — In this weekly Tuesday Ticker, an electric EV startup founder reveals more fraudulent details in court, while General Motors invests in a Quebec-based battery initiative.
Breaking down the Badger
Remember Nikola, the company that rolled its semi-hauler prototype down a hill as it portrayed the model as fully functional? CEO Trevor Milton is making headlines again as more details arise from his criminal fraud trial.
Milton is being charged with securities and wire fraud for allegedly defrauding Nikola investors, driven by false claims about the company’s business.
The CEO once claimed that Nikola’s Badger model, an electric pickup, was “probably 70 percent Nikola [parts], 30 percent GM.” At that time, the startup had a partnership with GM that would see the latter build Nikola’s pickup in exchange for an 11 percent stake in the company.
Bloomberg says that Scott Damman, senior manager for GM, who was sent to work with Nikola, told the jury: “there were no components coming from Nikola.”
“They owned the creative design, what the vehicle looked like and felt like, but all of the parts were to come from General Motors,”
Nikola took orders with $5,000 down payments for Badger reservations back in June 2020—before it had a prototype or OEM to back its plans. Milton once claimed the company had “billions and billions and billions and billions” of dollars in committed truck orders.
If convicted on security charges, Milton faces up to 25 years in prison.
Synchronizing a circular economy
A strategic investment from General Motors to Quebec-based Lithion Recycling will see the two companies partner to build a circular supply chain for key battery materials.
The partnership will reportedly seek to validate Lithion’s recovered battery materials for use in the production of new batteries in addition to the development of a recycling process for EV batteries.
“We see the opportunity to recover and reuse raw material in our Ultium battery packs [using Lithion’s technology], making the EVs we produce even more sustainable and helping drive down costs,” said Jeff Morrison, GM vice president of global purchasing and supply chain.
Lithion says its technology allows up to 95 percent of battery components to be recovered, treated and reused again by OEMs. The process has the potential to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 75 percent and water usage by over 90 percent compared to mining battery materials,” said the company, citing third-party lifecycle analyses.