Nikola’s Dismal Imitation of Tesla is Set to Fail

Nikola is opening Badger truck pre-orders before showing a demo product. Tesla unveiled a prototype of a competing product last year.
Nikola Badger
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but with Nikola's Badger, it reeks of desperation. | Image: TFLnow/YouTube
  • It costs up to $5,000 to reserve a Nikola Badger truck.
  • No Badger prototype exists yet.
  • Tesla has already unveiled a superior product–the Cybertruck.

Less than a month after getting listed in a reverse merger, Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ:NKLA) is opening pre-orders for its Badger pickup truck.

Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, but Nikola simply cannot pull it off like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

Everything about Nikola’s plans suggests minimal regard for would-be buyers.

Badger
Nikola is taking a significant risk by opening reservations without a demo product. | Source: Twitter

Attempts to copy Tesla are poorly thought out and will backfire. There’s no question that Nikola is setting itself up for disappointment. And there are at least three reasons why.

1. Nikola has revealed no prototype

Tesla is arguably the world’s best known electric carmaker. And unlike Nikola, Tesla showcases a prototype before it lets customers pre-order a new product.

So, what in the world is Nikola–a virtually unknown company–thinking by launching reservations on an expensive product before showing a demo? You need massive doses of faith and a fertile imagination to reserve a product based purely on a computer rendering.

Nikola is hoping to achieve a lot with Badger. Just take a look at what it said in an SEC document ahead of its public offering:

…the Badger is designed to target and exceed every electric or fossil fuel pickup in its class

Nikola will have no one but itself to blame if the reservation numbers turn out way below expectations.

It could give the excuse that the company is just six years old. But that’s not good enough. A comparable startup Rivian already has prototypes of its R1T truck.

Watch the video of the Rivian electric truck being tested in Arizona below:

2. No history of production

For a company that has built brand loyalty and trust over the years, it would be excusable to open reservations without a demo product.

But doing that with a company with zero experience is stretching it too far. Nikola was founded six years ago. So far, it has zero revenues and zero products on the market.

Will the public take such a big leap of faith in a company that no customer on earth has experienced?

Nikola
Having zero products in the market and zero revenues haven’t stopped Nikola from being valued billions of dollars in the stock market | Source: Twitter

For comparison, Tesla has a production history of over a decade. A few months ago, it produced its one-millionth car. Under Tesla’s production history, imperfect as it is, customers already know what to expect.

With Nikola, there is nothing to go by.

3. Tesla Cybertruck beats Nikola Badger on price

Nikola’s executive chairman Trevor Milton is making it abundantly clear that his new automobile is targeting Tesla’s Cybertruck.

Unfortunately, Nikola has shot itself in the foot concerning price.

The price of the Nikola Badger truck will range from $60,000 and $90,000. Tesla Cybertruck, on the other hand, will range between $40,000 and $70,000.

Tesla
The market has already judged that a Tesla Cybertruck will provide more value than Nikola’s Badger. | Source: Twitter

The Badger’s reservation price is also steep–up to a maximum of $5,000. Meanwhile, to reserve a Cybertruck, all you need is $100 (and it’s refundable, too).

In the case of the Badger, $250 of the reservation fee will be deducted if the pre-orderer attends a company event scheduled later this year.

Nikola
If you attend a Nikola event and don’t like the product, canceling your reservation will leave you $250 poorer. | Source: Twitter

Nikola is now trying to juice up reservation orders by offering $500-$10,000 discounts on the purchase price for those pre-ordering. That, however, won’t change the fact that the pre-orders will be underwhelming.

Disclaimer: This article represents the author’s opinion and should not be considered investment or trading advice from CCN.com. The author holds no investment position in the above-mentioned securities.

Sam Bourgi edited this article for CCN.com. If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us.

Mark Emem

Mark Emem

I cover business and the stock market for CCN. Currently based out of Nairobi, Kenya. Email | Twitter | Muck Rack

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