How Nikola’s incoming CEO wants to crack the truck market

How Nikola’s incoming CEO wants to crack the truck market

How Nikola’s incoming CEO wants to crack the truck market


HANOVER, Germany — As incoming Nikola Corp. CEO Michael Lohscheller took the podium at the IAA Transportation 2022 conference pitching his company’s zero-emission trucks, Nikola founder Trevor Milton was 4,000 miles away in a New York courthouse facing charges he duped company investors.

Each had plenty to prove.

Milton once plied a vision of carbon-free hydrogen fuel cell trucking, creating a company with a stock market value of more than $20 billion at one point. But he now stands accused of misleading investors with exaggerated technology claims, including creating a video of a dummy hydrogen truck rolling down a slight incline to make it appear operational. The trial in U.S. District Court is expected to wrap up in early October.

As Milton’s legal team works to convince a federal jury of his innocence, Lohscheller works to convince potential investors, customers and the trucking industry that his company is built on solid technology that makes economic sense to purchase.

“It’s obviously a tough challenge, but at least he knows the situation and hopefully all the traps have been sprung,” said Mike Ramsey, advanced mobility analyst at Gartner Inc.

Nikola needs to staunch its losses as it begins to sell trucks and collect revenue. It lost $173 million on sales of $18.1 million in the second quarter. But Lohscheller also has to create a turnaround in the perception of the company.

“The answer is very straightforward. Let the product speak the real language,” Lohscheller told Automotive News. “Do we have a product which is real, which drives, which is doing the job? And the answer is yes.”

—Jerry Hirsch


Tesla hosts AI Day on Friday, when it is expected to provide updates on artificial intelligence efforts such as its humanoid project.

GM’s EV commitment still has its skeptics, who cite its history of flip-flopping on tougher fuel economy rules.

Audi, Mercedes and Nissan are looking to gain from the growing market for second-life EV batteries.

A coalition of 92 major cities and transit agencies urged NHTSA to deny requests by Ford and GM to deploy a limited number of self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads.

Jaguar Land Rover will retrain 29,000 employees and staff at retailers globally over the next three years to design, build and service EVs.

On the move

Self-driving tech company Waymo has named Elisa de Martel its new CFO. Previously, she was CFO for 3D-printing startup Carbon and worked in financial roles at Apple. She joins the company as it plans commercial deployments beyond its current operations in the Phoenix area.

Car-sharing pioneer Zipcar appointed Angelo Adams its new CEO on Tuesday. Before Zipcar, he spent 12 years at Otis Elevator, most recently as senior director of service operations.

Work Truck Solutions tapped Aaron Johnson as its new CEO on Thursday to help navigate product shortages and a transition to electric-vehicle platforms. He previously worked as the commercial-vehicle software provider’s senior vice president of data and operations. Johnson replaces Kathryn Schifferle, who switches to a new role as the Chico, Calif.-based company’s chief vision officer.

Brain food

Starting next year, consumers buying used EVs from car dealers could save up to $4,000 under a new U.S. law. But it could take between three and five years before the credit is used regularly by consumers.

Last mile

German air taxi developer Lilium Air Mobility plans to set up industrial capacity to make some 400 of its electrically powered Lilium Jet flying shuttles a year.


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