Electric big-rig startup Nikola first unveiled its prototype hydrogen fuel cell semi concept back in 2016 with a promise to develop a national hydrogen distribution network to keep these trucks fueled. The company has allegedly already booked several billion dollars worth of truck sales in pre-orders, including up to 800 units for Anheuser Busch, but we have not yet heard tell of any finished units delivered.
On Monday the semi-truck company announced a plan to introduce a new hydrogen fuel cell/battery electric vehicle hybrid pickup truck for consumers. “Nikola has billions worth of technology in our semitruck program, so why not build it into a pickup truck?” Nikola CEO Trevor Milton said. Excellent point.
The truck is nothing more than a rendering right now, but the company promises a range of 600 miles from a full charge of the batteries and a full tank of hydrogen, the ability to tow over 8000 pounds (up at 30 percent grade), and a zero to sixty time around 2.9 seconds. How does 906 horsepower and 980 ft. lbs. of torque sound? Good? Additionally, it promises 300 miles of battery-only range, and over 700 hydrogen fueling stations slated to open across North America.
Nikola says the Badger will outperform every electric pickup on the market. Which is convenient, because there are no electric pickups on the market.
With stiff competition allegedly on the way from GMC’s Hummer, Tesla’s Cybertruck, and Ford/Amazon-backed Rivian, Nikola needs to get this project off the ground and spinning wheels in the dirt sooner rather than later. First to market is definitely a bonus in this wild west of EV world we’re living in.
“The Nikola Badger is a game changer. The program will help drive down the cost of the fuel-cell components on our semi-truck while accelerating the hydrogen station rollout. Giving customers the option to order a fuel-cell or battery electric version will ensure we drive the cost down for everyone across our lineup,” said Mark Russell, president of Nikola Corporation.
The company is headquartered in Phoenix, where the new truck will be shown off in September as a running pre-production model. Production is said to begin in 2021, but there is no word yet on where the new truck will be built.
What are the chances this actually gets built in 2021? I don’t know, but it sure looks neat.