Sep 16, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Electric vehicle startup Nikola reportedly facing 2 federal inquiries

A phone displaying the Nikola logo
Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The electric and fuel cell truck startup Nikola is increasingly under the microscope following a short-seller's allegations that it made false statements about its tech and planned products.

Driving the news: The Financial Times reported Tuesday that the Justice Department is "making inquiries" following last week's claims by Hindenburg Research.

  • The Wall Street Journal confirmed the report about inquiries from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
  • The news follows revelations of a SEC inquiry into the Hindenburg report that called Nikola an "intricate fraud." Nikola disputes the findings.

Catch up quick: The turmoil comes on the heels of the Sept. 8 announcement that GM is taking an 11% stake in Nikola, will engineer and manufacture its Badger pickup, and supply tech for that product and its planned semitrucks.

Why it matters: The controversy comes at a time of growing investor interest in EV startups and corporate partnerships with legacy automakers.

Go deeper: Hear what Nikola's troubles mean for GM on the latest "Axios Re:Cap" podcast.

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