Tesla rival Nikola Croation designer scandal - Another scandal in Tesla's rival Nikola: his electric truck was not created by its founder "from scratch in his basement" but by a Croatian designer
The original design of Nikola's flagship truck was bought by the founder, Trevor Milton, from a designer from Croatia, as 2 people with knowledge of the matter have explained to the British newspaper Financial Times.
However, in a 2018 lawsuit the company had claimed that the vehicle was initially designed by Trevor Milton, founder of Nikola Corporation, "in his basement."
The Nikola One truck is the center of a $ 2 billion dispute with Tesla. On several occasions Nikola has claimed that his rival has infringed his patents and has claimed that Milton began designing the model in 2013 together with other employees of the company.
But in a response to the lawsuit filed last week, Tesla has alleged that Nikola could not protect the designs because they did not come from the company itself but from Adriano Mudri, a Croatian designer.
Also, 2 people with knowledge of the transaction have revealed to the Financial Times that Milton bought the designs in 2015 after meeting Mudri while visiting Rimac in Croatia, a Croatian company producing high-end vehicles and electric propulsion systems.
However, Tesla has not compiled details about the transaction.
Recently, a report by the consultancy Hindenburg Research, has turned upside down a project that they directly call "intricate fraud" that had exaggerated their technology and falsified the launch of their products, according to Forococheselectricos.
Tesla rival Nikola Croation designer scandal
The document, published on September 10 and titled Nikola: how to turn an ocean of lies into a partnership with America's largest automaker —in reference to its alliance with General Motors— has dealt a serious blow to Nikola Motors ' credibility. And it is that, according to those responsible for the report, they have extensive evidence that Nikola's patented technology has actually been acquired from another company and not developed by Nikola.
These included electric inverters, purchased from a supplier, which had indicated that they were of their own design and which, during the presentation, had covered the true manufacturer's mark with adhesive tape.
Another proof that critics have presented was the video released in 2018 where they showed one of the alleged prototypes rolling down a road.
The video, according to sources in the Financial Times, has been shot on a downhill road, where a sample model without propulsion system has been released and, in the editing of the video, was modified to give the impression of being a flat stretch.
Regarding the names of the suppliers covered with stickers when making the promotional videos, Nikola has stressed that he never claimed to manufacture the electric inverters.
Nearly a week ago, Trevor Milton resigned as CEO of the company following allegations of fraud that have been poured directly into his person as a result of the deal with General Motors.
"Nikola is in my veins and always will be, and the focus should be on the company and its mission to change the world, not on me," Milton said.
Also, the founder —39 years old— has repeatedly insisted that he has not lied or deceived anyone about the trucks.
For its part, the lawsuit with Tesla, filed during Milton's tenure, focuses on the origins of the designs of the Nikola One truck.
In this regard, Nikola has stated that Milton worked for 2 years on the truck before, dissatisfied with his designs, hired designer Steve Jenes in 2015.
But in its response to the lawsuit, Tesla has revealed that the model's designs are Mudri's.
Also, according to several people with knowledge of the deal, Milton tried, without success, to collaborate with Rimac on a series of projects in 2015. On a trip to Rimac's headquarters on the outskirts of Zagreb, he met Mudri, the designer of the company, who had designed a futuristic truck.
Milton bought the computer drawings and the virtual 3D model of the vehicle for several thousand dollars, according to 2 people.
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