Nikola Badger electric pickup promises 600 mile range and 906hp

  • Another new electric pickup promised from the USA
  • This one has a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery pack
  • Enormous performance claims, unusual name

We’re not totally sure that this isn’t a joke. But there’s now another electric pickup on the horizon. Thing is, it’s called the Nikola Badger, and you can (apparently) spec it up to include hydrogen fuel cell.

Put the fuel cell together with the batteries, and total range is a claimed 600 miles between refuelling. Which will be very impressive, if Nikola can pull it off.

Here’s what we know so far.

Nikola is the manufacturer of the Badger?

Yes. That’s Nikola as in Nikola Tesla – famous electricity pioneer, also namesake of the Tesla electric vehicle company – and it is a real business. The firm, based in Phoenix Arizona, is already quite a long way down the road towards developing electric and hydrogen fuel cell powered lorries, a project that has received investment from Iveco, among others.

Nikola Badger electric pickup with hydrogen power - front view, render, 2020

The Badger is set to take this FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) technology and repurpose it for use in a pickup truck. Nikola claims that the production version of this will also be built in cooperation with another ‘OEM’ – meaning, we think, an established pickup truck maker.

Who that will be isn’t confirmed at this stage, but with Ford backing rival electric pickup start-up Rivian, perhaps it will be another one of the large US car brands.

So what are the specs?

Brace yourself. In addition to the sensational 600-mile driving range claim – half of which comes from the batteries, so you’ll still be able to travel 300 miles if you can’t find a hydrogen filling station (…which of course you probably can’t) – Nikola is making some pretty crazy performance claims.

The Badger uses four electric motors (one for each wheel), giving it a projected maximum power output of ‘over 906hp’, together with 1,328Nm of torque. Which is a lot.

Nikola Badger electric pickup with hydrogen power - side view, render, 2020

As a result it’s predicted to sprint from 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds, drive up a 40% slope and can offer a gross train weight of over 8,100kg (that’s the combined weight of vehicle and trailer).

The battery pack is 160kWh in size, the hydrogen fuel cell 120kW, and it has an ‘Advanced Supercapacitor Launch Assist’ to help with repeated standing starts. This is cutting edge stuff, no doubt.

Any other clever tricks?

Carrying around a great big slab of electricity in a working vehicle offers lots of potential for powering tools – so to make the most of this, the Badger will be fitted with a ‘15kW power export outlet’.

This will allow the Badger to function as a generator for ‘approximately 12 hours’. Handy.

Nikola Badger electric pickup with hydrogen power - cab interior straight on view, render, 2020

The rather conceptual images of the interior feature a vast infotainment system – a must if you’re planning to compete with Tesla’s Cybertruck, we guess – digital dials and fair number of practical touches for storage and so forth.

There’s seating space inside for five.

How big is the Nikola Badger?

This is a large pickup truck, designed to compete with the Ford F-150 Raptor and other high-performance trucks in the US market.

At 5,900mm long and 2,160mm wide, it’s certainly bigger than anything currently officially on sale in the UK – though 1,850mm height is comparatively modest.

Nikola Badger electric pickup with hydrogen power - rear view, render, 2020

There are no details on the size of the load area or the projected payload (it will tow over 3.6 tonnes), but you can see from the pictures that this has a substantial double cab passenger area, so the load space won’t be outstandingly massive.

When does the Nikola Badger go on sale and what will it cost?

It’s expected to debut at the Nikola World showcase that’s set to take place in Phoenix before the end of 2020, although the first customer vehicles are more likely to appear in 2021.

We’ve asked whether right-hand drive production is planned but given its size and a kerbweight that’s likely to be more than 3.5 tonnes, it may not be very suitable for our roads anyway.

As for the price, Nikola’s founder and CEO Trevor Milton has taken to Twitter (of course) to suggest the Badger will be priced between $60,000 and $90,000. That’s currently £46,000-70,000, but interested would-be UK buyers should probably brace themselves to pay more.

We’ll report more as soon as the info is available.

Also read:

>> Rivian R1T electric pickup details

>> Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup details

>> Bolinger B2 electric pickup details

>> The Parkers guide to electric vans