Nikola Motors, the Phoenix-based startup that plans to build a mix of zero-emission trucks, has begun taking advance reservations for the Badger pickup.
A flood of new battery-based trucks are expected to be coming to market over the next couple years, from the gas-electric 2021 Ford F-150 to the all-electric Tesla Cybertruck. The Nikola Badger will fall into the zero-emissions category but it will be offered in two different configurations, either with a pure electric drivetrain or as a hydrogen/battery hybrid.
Those interested in buying one of the two models will be able to plunk down a $250 deposit which not only will put them in the queue once production begins, but also will get them a ticket to the three-day Nikola World event starting on Dec. 3 with a special party limited to reservation holders. There are $1,000 and $5,000 deposits as well offering additional enticements. The next two days will feature a live concert and the chance to go along for rides in the various products Nikola plans to produce.
When the company first lifted the veil back in December 2016 it was focused specifically on heavy duty semis relying on hydrogen fuel-cells, starting with the massive Nikola One. As it has moved forward – and, barely a month ago, gone public with a stock market listing, it has expanded the line, pushing into a variety of new segments, including a jet ski dubbed the Nikola Wave.
From a volume standpoint, the big move could be the decision to come in with a full-size pickup. While it has released relatively few details about the Badger, it has indicated the truck will measure about 232 inches in length, 72.2 inches in height and 85 inches in width.
Both on-road and off-road versions will be offered, the latter with massive 35-inch tires.
The drivetrain’s electric motors will produce a peak of “over” 906 horsepower and a continuous 455 hp. Torque will come in at 980 pound-feet. The company claims the pickup will be able to launch
from 0 to 60 in just 2.9 seconds – about the same target for the most high-performance versions of the Tesla Cybertruck and GMC Hummer.
The all-electric model is expected to have a range of around 300 miles per charge. The hybrid, which pairs batteries with a hydrogen fuel-cell stack, promises to yield as much as 600 miles by combining its multiple hydrogen tanks with the power in a fully charged battery pack.
“Nikola has billions worth of technology in our semi-truck program, so why not build it into a pickup truck?” Trevor Milton, Nikola’s CEO, said after the Badger was first announced last February.
Other features will include a 15 kilowatt power “exporter” that will allows users to draw down power in either 110 or 220-volt current, lots of tie-downs for cargo, and a hidden refrigerator.
Pricing will start at $60,000 for the battery-electric version of the Badger, $80,000 for the hydrogen/electric hybrid.
The decision to knock out a pickup while also developing heavy-duty trucks has raised questions among some observers. However, Nikola President Mark Russell said it makes sense because it will allow the start-up to build economies of scale that will “drive the cost down for everyone across our line-up.”
By the time the Nikola Badger reaches market in 2022 there are expected to be a number of long-range all-electric vehicles, including an assortment of pickups, on the U.S. market. Fuel-cell vehicles, or FCVs, are expected to take off at a much slower pace, in large part reflecting the bigger challenge of setting up a hydrogen distribution infrastructure. Nikola has indicated plans to establish its own network of hydrogen and battery charging stations to help support the launch of both the Badger and its heavy-duty truck lines.