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[Op-ed] Nikola, At Odds With 20 Century Genius' Philosophy..?

by Vincent Y July 04, 2020

[Op-ed] Nikola, At Odds With 20 Century Genius' Philosophy..?

The following article is contributed by our guest writer @Totalyscrewedup, you can follow him on Twitter.

Currently, the global economy is so dynamic and everchanging, staying informed in a sea of misinformation isn't just difficult because you have to be quick, or daunting because you have to question your source but can be darn near impossible to find the correct information. A quick essay is a norm but which one to pick? Welcome to the world of clickbait journalism, where buzzwords (Nikola Tesla! See, you bit on it already) are a must. One of the buzzwords, currently stinging the world, is technology disruption.
Seemingly, Tesla has finally been accepted not as only a carmaker but as one company that fits the disruptor moniker. While traditional analysts still struggle to find a measuring stick by which to judge a company so dynamic by nature, with vertical integration at its core, and not, as others perceive it, just a construct that needs polishing before being added as yet, just another department, TSLA valuation has tripled in last 7 months.
While on cutting edge of technology innovation and implementation, Tesla has to overcome people's aversion to change. The fossil fuel industry is still pumping, not only gas, but fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD for short) into people's perception of the emerging technology. This is easily proven by a quick Twitter search for #TSLA or the anti-tesla #tslaq, and you'll find yourself in knee-deep in 280 character debates filled with misinformation and purposely outdated information.
One would think that company that has taken Tesla's first name would complement the one taking the last name.
But, almost as a tag team, a perfect sidekick to the FUD, in the arena has entered Nikola (NKLA) with its announcement of the new disruptor technology which promises to fix all 'shortcomings' of the Tesla's battery technology: The Hydrogen Fuel Cell.
While some shortcomings out there do have some merit, Nikola has picked up on the ones highlighted through FUD and it's using them as the pedestal from which to glare down at Tesla.
However, science, specifically physics and chemistry, side with Tesla, and Nikola has failed to acknowledge it. It's being waved away as part of the mystery tech, yet to be unveiled at the upcoming event. I'm not an expert in them either, so please refer to those that are. Tesla, for being 10 years on the road, billions of miles traveled, a million vehicles on the road, myriad of awards achieved gives people plenty to look at, while Nikola has yet to provide a working product. I'm not yet dismissing Nikola as vaporware but it's hard to give credence to rendering and arguably a 'pusher' (a prototype that has to be pushed/pulled on the stage) when compared to what Tesla has already materialized.
Should Nikola have such technology, it still has to overcome the lack of infrastructure to support it in the USA, which is a major issue to overcome, as Cathie Wood with ARK Invest has already pointed out, there are still other obstacles to overcome, like safety concerns to energy storage, such as hydrogen, which is 10x as flammable than gasoline and 20x more explosive.
With such numbers, pictures of the Hindenburg catastrophe come to mind. Of course, there have been plenty of articles showing tests which depict its burn rate being high, assuring quicker burn but without seeing a car accident on the road instead of a lab test, it'll be hard to change public's perception that Nikola trucks are just ticking time bombs, just waiting on a potential would-be terrorist to easily obtain and misuse. Couple such images with common leaks and invisible flames, and you have yourself a recipe for a real-life action movie that starts with lots of civilian casualties. Without a protagonist, for balance, Trevor Milton would be declared the villain, the hydrogen technology radioactive, the energy storage industry would possibly come into question and with it, Tesla.




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