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Nikola receives $2M government grant weeks after founder criminally charged

It was the very best of occasions, it was the worst of occasions for zero-emission truck maker Nikola.

The company on Thursday mentioned it has been awarded a $2 million grant by the Department of Energy — simply weeks after Nikola founder Trevor Milton was criminally charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for mendacity to buyers about “nearly all aspects of the business.”

Milton stepped again from the company in September after a damning report from short-selling activist agency Hindenburg Research accusing Milton of deceiving buyers with a video that made it appear to be considered one of Nikola’s vehicles was driving when in actual fact the car was merely rolling down a hill.

Nikola says Milton, who was criminally charged by Manhattan federal prosecutors on July 29. is not concerned with the company. He nonetheless holds roughly 16 p.c of the shares excellent, nonetheless.

Nikola’s founder Trevor Milton is dealing with a number of legal expenses of fraud.

Nikola has not been charged, however has been subpoenaed by the SEC and the Department of Justice. It can also be coping with a number of shareholder lawsuits.

The grant comes because the Biden Administration appears to ramp up funding in clear power. And Nikola — whereas it has but to really create any vehicles since its founding in 2014 — has mentioned it goals to fabricate as much as 50 electrical vehicles by the tip of the year.

Initially the company predicted it will create as much as 100 vehicles, however back-pedaled earlier this month, saying it doesn’t have the required elements to create that many vehicles.

The company has beforehand obtained a $1.7 million grant from the Energy Department. The most up-to-date funding will likely be used for “research into autonomous refueling technologies for future hydrogen fueling station,” the company mentioned.

“This funding is essential to advance key hydrogen fueling technologies that can improve the overall efficiency of fuel-cell commercial vehicles, while maintaining the safety and reliability standards required,” Nikola President Pablo Koziner mentioned in a statement.

Nikola was awarded the grant on July seventh however waited to announce the information till Friday.