A prototype of Nikola Corp.'s planned Badger electric pickup was made partly of components from a Ford F-150 Raptor, the jury in the criminal trial of Nikola founder Trevor Milton was told.
Engineers working on the heavily hyped Badger in 2020 merged parts from a gasoline-powered Raptor with a "chopped up" electric Nikola powersports vehicle, also in early development, former Nikola employee Brendan Babiarz said last week in federal court in New York.
Babiarz, who led design and created renderings for the Badger, said it was done to meet a deadline Milton had imposed for unveiling the pickup.
"It took me a little by surprise," Bloomberg quoted Babiarz as saying in his testimony, referring to a tweet by Milton indicating that the company was going to start taking orders. "We were still developing, obviously, the trucks, and the timing was not adding up, so we did not have a definitive date."
Milton, who faces securities and wire fraud charges, is accused of hoodwinking investors by portraying inoperable products as fully functional and lying about the company's technology and partnerships. He faces a maximum prison term of 25 years if convicted of the most serious charge. The defense has called the case "a prosecution by distortion," arguing Milton was just following the company's marketing plan and never said anything he didn't believe to be true.