Nathan Anderson. Photo: Philip Montgomery This article was featured in One Great Story , New York 's reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly. One day, a man with dreams of riches placed a truck on top of a hill. The vehicle was a big white tractor-trailer, a prototype built by an automotive start-up called Nikola . The company's boastful founder, Trevor Milton , claimed it was the "holy grail" of the commercial-trucking industry, a semi that ran on hydrogen and was both green and powerful, capable of doing thousand-mile hauls with zero carbon emissions. In reality, the truck had no engine. It was towed up a straight two-lane road. Its driver released the brakes, and it rolled down the hill under the force of gravity, like a child's wagon. The road had a 3 percent grade, gentle enough that with some creative camerawork, the prototype would appear to be barreling across a flat desert landscape. On January 25, 2018, Nikola's official Twitter account posted a swooshing 39-second video of the demonstration. "Behold," it declared, "the Nikola One in motion." Four years and one federal criminal indictment later, the story of the engineless truck can be seen… Read full this story
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