If the Nikola name sounds familiar, it's because the Phoenix-based startup previously designed three groundbreaking electric semi trucks, including the 2,000-horsepower Nikola One. The Badger, however, is aimed squarely at outperforming "all electric pickup trucks on the market" with 600 miles of range. That's 100 more miles than you'll get out of the top-end Cybertruck and 200 more miles than the the the R1T promises, as Robb Report notes.
Even though manufacturing and production capabilities across the auto industry have been thwarted due to the coronavirus crisis for much of 2020, company founder Trevor Milton revealed that customers will be able to reserve the Badger beginning June 29. The date will coincide with the unveiling of a functioning prototype at the company's Nikola World event.
Milton's made the announcement in a tweet that also took shots at the Cybertruck's reveal, which featured an unfinished version of Tesla's sci-fi-inspired electric pickup.
"You'll get to see a real operating truck, not a fake show truck," Milton wrote. "Expect stamped metal panels, functioning interior w/ hvac, 4x4, etc."
As Popular Mechanics notes, the Badger's ambitious timeline has created some skepticism. Nikola recently acquired a NASDAQ listing on June 3, which lead to Nikola's share price doubling in value. Some to believe that reservation and reveal announcement was a stunt designed to drive up stock prices.
More than 900 peak horsepower and 980 ft-lbs of torque put the Badger's zero-to-60 mph time at just 2.9 seconds, equal to the Cybertruck's sprint time and .1 seconds faster than the R1T's. The Bagdger's 8.000-plus-pound towing capacity, however, falls significantly short of the Cybertruck's 14,000-pound and R1T's 11,000-pound abilities.
Unlike those competitors, which rely solely on battery packs for electricity, the Badger is propelled by a hybrid drivetrain that gets electricity from a refillable 120 kW hydrogen fuel cell and a 160 kWh lithium-ion battery. When operating with the battery only, range is decreased to 300 miles, but Nikola plans to build 700 hydrogen stations across North American to increase hydrogen coverage.
The Badger will be outfitted with a 15-kilowatt power outlet for tools, lights and compressors, which is enough power to assist a construction site for approximately 12 hours without a generator.
“Nikola has billions worth of technology in our semi-truck program, so why not build it into a pickup truck?” Nikola CEO Trevor Milton said in a press release. “I have been working on this pickup program for years and believe the market is now ready for something that can handle a full day’s worth of work without running out of energy.
"This electric truck can be used for work, weekend getaways, towing, off-roading or to hit the ski slopes without performance loss. No other electric pickup can operate in these temperatures and conditions.”