Nikola Corp. unwrapped the Badger electric pickup on Feb. 10, a vehicle that will be manufactured in partnership with an auto maker that has not yet been announced.
Nikola, a Tesla competitor that is building fuel cell-powered semitrucks, has set an ambitious target to develop electric vehicle battery technology with an estimated range of 600 miles. The truck will make its first public appearance at Nikola World, located at the company's Arizona headquarters, in the fall and will be available as a fuel cell-electric or battery-electric vehicle.
Production will begin in 2021. While the company has not disclosed where it will be manufactured or the production volume expected, it said the trucks should be on the road by the end of that year.
The location of 700 hydrogen stations in North America to refuel the truck are being finalized and will be disclosed this quarter, Nikola said in a statement.
The Phoenix-based startup said the truck also can drive 300 miles in battery-electric mode for those who do not have access to hydrogen. Nikola also said the truck's horsepower rating, continuous towing rating and range are designed to "outperform all electric pickup trucks on the market."
The truck is aimed at the building and trade industries and "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," according to Nikola.
"Nikola has billions worth of technology in our semitruck program, so why not build it into a pickup truck?" Nikola CEO Trevor Milton said in a statement. "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."
The Badger also is getting some minor-league celebrity attention, as Heavy D—a reality-TV star from the truck-enthusiast show "Diesel Brothers"—has partnered with the company to design, build and test the truck from concept through production. Heavy D, also known as Dave Sparks, is an entrepreneur and custom-vehicle builder out of Salt Lake City.
Limited reservations for the truck will be available this year. No other details were provided on reservations or the automaker manufacturing partnership.
Many have been skeptical of Nikola while it says it could rival Tesla on many fronts.
In an interview with Automotive News in December, Milton said he welcomes the skepticism, "Because every time I prove them wrong, it drives them absolutely insane. And they have to go back and admit that they were wrong."
The Badger debuts as the pipeline of electric trucks is growing. Tesla is readying the Cybertruck and GM plans to resurrect the Hummer name as a GMC electric supertruck with 1,000 hp. Startup Rivian, which has attracted investment from Amazon and Ford, also is developing an electric vehicle.