There’s never any shortage of drama with Tesla.
If it’s not concerns over the production levels of its Model 3 sedan, it’s controversy over the possible role of Tesla technology in a fatal car crash. If it’s not one of Tesla’s top executives leaving for another Silicon Valley titan, it’s Wall Street wondering if (or maybe, when) the company might run out of cash.
And never mind the recent GoFundMe campaign to buy Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk a new couch. CEOs have to have a place to sleep, you know?
Now, there’s a $2 billion lawsuit to add to the mix.
On Tuesday, hydrogen electric-truck company Nikola Motor filed a suit seeking $2 billion in damages from Tesla on the grounds that the electric carmaker stole Nikola’s patented technology to help it develop its own electric semi truck.
(And yes, you read that right: Nikola is suing Tesla. Nikola Tesla himself must be rolling over in his grave at that one.)
Salt Lake City-based Nikola filed the suit in Arizona federal court, saying it received six design patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office between February and April 2018 for things such as the truck’s wraparound windshield, mid-entry door, fuselage, fender, side cladding and the overall design of the truck, which Nikola calls the Nikola One.
A Tesla spokesperson dismissed Nikola Motor’s allegations: “It’s patently obvious there is no merit to this lawsuit.”
Tesla unveiled the Tesla Semi last fall, and in March, the company ran the truck on its first commercial cargo trip between the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada and the company’s manufacturing plant in Fremont.
The lawsuit comes as Tesla is set to report its first-quarter results after the close of trading Wednesday. Analysts estimate Tesla will report a of loss of $3.37 a share on $3.27 billion in revenue, compared to a loss of $1.33 on sales of $2.7 billion in the year-ago period.
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