Other than trucks designed “personally” in his “cellar” by Nikola’s founder and CEO, Trevor Milton. The design of the Nikola One, the hydrogen-powered electric super truck, was purchased by Milton from a designer in Croatia. And that’s a bad tile in Nikola’s $ 2 billion lawsuit against Tesla, claiming that Elon Musk’s company infringed on his patents. At the center of the dispute is the Nikola One, a beast with a futuristic design designed to plow the US prairies and which is the first Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck, with a range that varies between 1,300 and 2,000 kilometers . In the lawsuit, the company claims that Milton began designing the model in 2013, with other collaborators, precisely in his cellar, collaborators whom he then kept working with him. But to the sound of stamped cards, Tesla has already replied by claiming that Nikola cannot protect anything, because the design is not original, but purchased by Adriano Mudri, a Croatian designer, author of a project he had christened Road Runner. Now the Financial Times revealed other details of the legal battle.
Citing his sources, the leading financial newspaper reported that Milton bought the models in 2015, meeting Mudri at Rimac Automobili, a Croatian carmaker that develops and produces high-performance electric cars. They met at the plant on the outskirts of Zagreb and in exchange for an unspecified fee he took home the computer drawings and the virtual 3D model of the innovative vehicle. For Milton still a good deal of bad publicity considering that just a few weeks ago he had to defend himself against accusations of selling as his own purchased technology (he covers with stickers the names of suppliers on key truck components when he shows them in promotional videos) and that a recent Hindenburg Research report accuses him of telling “an ocean of lies”.
Inside Nikola, Ft reveals again, the name of Road Runner remained for months attached to the e-truck project: “It was the internal name of Nikola’s project for all the time we worked on it,” he said. a source. The screenshot of a Nikola document shows 13 people invited to collaborate on the “Nikola Roadrunner Prototype Project”. In his subpoena of Tesla, Nikola makes no mention of Mudri, nor of Rimac, nor does he admit that the drawings were purchased. Milton’s lawyers declined to comment on the Ft revelations, and Rimac was careful too.