Nikola Reveals Electric Pickup Plans
Several companies are readying electric pickup trucks. Somebody has to be first to market, and startup Nikola says it may be the one.
The Phoenix-based company has finalized the design of the Badger EV, a four-door pickup it claims will able to zip from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and travel 300 miles on battery power. The truck can cover twice that distance if its onboard fuel cell system is used to extend the range.
First Things First
Nikola Badger electric pickup (Image: Nikola)
It’s going to be a very busy year for the Arizona-based company. Nikola won’t actually show a production version of the Badger publicly until it stages an event in Phoenix in September. That’s also about when it will start taking limited pre-orders for the truck.
Nikola says it has secured a production partner to help it build the Badger and will reveal who it is later this year.
Meanwhile, the company has hired Dave Sparks, better known as Heavy D, on the TV reality show “Diesel Brothers” to help turn the Badger design into a production-ready truck. The effort from concept through production will be chronicled by the show.
Separately, Nikola aims to begin installing 700 hydrogen refueling stations across North America to support Badger owners who want to utilize their truck’s fuel cell range extender.
The Badger‘s powertrain is expected to crank out 450 hp—but with peaks of 906 hp—and 980 lb-ft of torque, according to Nikola.
The Nikola One highway truck
Most of the propulsion system will consist of downsized variants of components developed to power a pair of Class 8 highway trucks Nikola unveiled early last year. Those heavy-duty trucks are expected to go into production in late 2021.
The Nikola One is a fuel cell-powered highway tractor. Nikola Two, like the Badger, will combine a battery system with a fuel cell range extender. Last September commercial vehicle maker CNH Industrial invested $250 million in Nikola to help launch a European-style cab-over battery/fuel cell truck called the Nikola TRE.
Electrifying Competition Ahead
When the Badger is ready to go, Nikola will be wading into a field of equally optimistic competitors that at this point appear further head in terms of product development.
Rivian expects to begin selling its R1T electric pickup late this year with an estimated base price of $100,000. That model is to be followed in 2021 by the R1S SUV, which will share the same platform.
Bollinger Motors says it too will start producing its electric B1 SUV and B2 pickup vehicles (each base-priced at $125,000) at the end of this year. Designed for off-road use only, the boxy trucks promise 15 inches of ground clearance and 10 inches of vertical wheel travel.
Tesla says it has received more than 200,000 deposits from would-be buyers of the distinctively weird Cybertruck it unveiled in late November. The angular pickup, supposedly debuting with a retail price just under $40,000, is scheduled to begin production at the end of next year.
Finally, General Motors is teeing up Hummer as an all-electric brand, starting with a pickup truck due at the end of 2021. The company says an SUV variant is to follow about two years later.
If Honda is anything, it is an engine company.
Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled an updated version of its Project Portal fuel cell-powered heavy-duty truck with reduced weight and increased driving range.
In some regards, it is just a car. Of course, it is a car with some of the most advanced technology available in the industry today. But it isn’t some sort of science project, but a real production reality.