Multiple battery electric Nikola Tre Class 8 semi trucks caught on fire late last week at the company's headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, according to a tweet posted on the startup's official Twitter account.
The cause of the fires is still unknown, but Nikola said that it suspects foul play as a vehicle was seen in the area of the affected trucks before the incident. With this being said, it's still too early to know what happened, and the investigation is still ongoing.
This is just the latest piece in a series of troubling news regarding the Phoenix-based truck firm. Last week, Nikola announced that it will be laying off 270 employees at its sites in Europe and North America in a bid to streamline its operations and increase its focus on the American market – plans to sell the joint venture on the Old Continent to Iveco were announced prior.
As it stands, the semi truck startup currently has roughly 900 workers who manufacture and sell two versions of the Iveco-based Tre model: battery electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell electric (FCEV). At least in theory, that is, because the production of the Tre BEV was put on pause early last month because the inventory had swollen considerably – however, just 63 units have been built so far this year and the production strategy has shifted to a “build-to-order” approach.
At the same time, deliveries of the fuel cell electric truck are scheduled to start in the third quarter with 178 orders from 14 end customers.
Gallery: Nikola Tre BEV
Furthermore, Nikola's founder and former CEO Trevor Milton is known for lying about the company's progress early on, and last year he was found guilty of securities fraud and wire fraud related to his work at the startup. He was replaced by Michael Lohscheller as chief executive officer in January.
Ironically, Milton, who owns roughly 9 percent of the firm's shares, took to social media recently to criticize the truck maker and suggest it needs new leadership.
Nikola was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2014 and presented several concept vehicles between 2016 and 2020, the first of which was a natural gas-fueled turbine-electric semi truck.
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