Don Hardge, the DC Inventor, Could Be in Hot Water After a Government Contract Was Cancelled
Science has taught us one important lesson: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That’s exactly what Washington, DC police are learning after an self-described inventor made a pitch to their Department of Public Works that his technology “picks up where Thomas Edison left off.” WUSA9 asked Hardge for proof and received this image showing a box with electrical wires about as large as someone’s fist containing power lines from Hardge’s technology.
He indicated that his device would extend the range of the city’s Chevy Bolt electric vehicles by nearly doubling it; these cars have an estimated 238 mile range currently.
The city’s parking enforcement squad was meant to test Hardge’s prototypes, but that never happened. Instead, when we began asking questions about him and discovered his 2001 conviction for illegally selling stocks – claimed as having been expunged at the time he obtained his DC government contract – we obtained a judge’s order revoking that expungement. Furthermore, we now know he lied in order to secure it initially.
Mullen Automotive likely knew of Hardge’s conviction when signing their partnership deal in April. Their press release touted Hardge’s innovative battery technology as capable of being applied to golf carts, drones, wheelchairs and electric bikes – potentially making a billion-dollar game changer if it truly exists.
Now the company is facing a crisis, with investors demanding answers about what went wrong and whether or not they have been taken for a ride.
A lawsuit filed in Tennessee by Hardge’s former partner alleges that Hardge misled investors about the technology’s viability and worth, using some of its own funds to pay himself directly.
The lawsuit is part of a wider scandal engulfing Mullen Automotive, an early California EV car maker that split into two companies last year to focus on developing its own vehicles. After it announced a partnership agreement with Hardge in April, investors flocked to Mullen in hopes that they had found another Tesla-esque game changer.
Now, some investors are questioning if the technology actually exists and whether investing millions was worth the risk. They’re also worried that the company did not conduct enough due diligence on its new partner.