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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Nikola announced Monday that executive chairman Trevor Milton, who is also the company's founder, is out as the electric and fuel cell truck startup reportedly faces federal inquiries into a short-seller's allegations of inaccurate or misleading statements.

Why it matters: It's the latest move in a head-spinning series of events for Nikola.

The big picture: Nikola's value soared after going public in June, and GM took an 11% stake earlier this month and agreed to build its planned Badger pickup and supply tech for that vehicle and other planned semi-trucks.

  • Just days later, Hindenburg Research, which is shorting Nikola, issued a scathing report calling it an "intricate fraud" based on "lies" by Milton. He has disputed the claims.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are both reportedly looking into the claims.

Details: Milton, in a statement, said "the focus should be on the company and its world-changing mission, not me."

  • Stephen Girsky, a former GM executive already on Nikola's board, is taking over as board chairman immediately.
  • Nikola's stock was down roughly 24% in pre-market trading.

Go deeper: GM's eyes are wide open on Nikola partnership

Go deeper

The workaday path to the electric vehicle era

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The electric vehicle revolution is underway, led by the un-sexiest of plug-in models: the commercial truck.

Why it matters: Growing demand for cleaner trucks means 2021 will be a pivotal year for electric vehicles — just not the kind you might have expected.

26 mins ago - Health

Transplants rebound from COVID lull

Expand chart
Data: United Network for Organ Sharing; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

More than 41,000 Americans underwent an organ transplant in 2021, a new record and a 6% increase from 2020, when the pandemic caused a slight slowdown of the life-saving procedures.

Why it matters: There are more transplant patients than ever, and they are particularly vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID because of their compromised immune systems — although vaccines provide important protection.

26 mins ago - World

Senators make bipartisan trip to Ukraine after divisive Russia vote

Ukrainian President Zelensky. Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of seven U.S. senators met Monday in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials as Ukraine and the West brace for the possibility of an imminent Russian invasion.

Why it matters: The delegation is seeking to project a united front with Ukraine, following a divisive Senate vote on Thursday in which Democrats blocked sanctions Zelensky's government was seeking against the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline.