The Nikola Badger is a hydrogen/battery hybrid monster truck
Nikola are yet another one of those electric automotive upstarts who have come onto the scene in the last few years. Promising to develop highly advanced heavy duty hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and a hydrogen infrastructure to back it up, the company has already recieved several thousand pre-orders for its hydrogen powered big rig (none of which have been delivered yet, however). Now the cheekily-named (Nikola stems from the first name of Mr. Tesla himself) company have decided to branch out into the ever-popular market of full-sized pickup trucks.
Their first offering to the pickup world is the Badger. It's promised to be a fuel cell/battery hybrid monster of a truck that'll make full use of the technology they're already developing for their big rigs. It's no more than a rendering as of right now, but even in that form it looks ready to roll on our streets and through the kind of rough terrain a full sized pickup is expected to traverse. In some ways, it's a tad reminiscent of the bulkier versions of already existing full-sized pickups like the Ram 1500 or the Ford F-150.
The really awesome part with the Badger gets with the claimed figures. Nikola promises a range of up to 600 miles on a full battery charge and a full tank of hydrogen (this includes 300 miles of battery-only range), with said powertrain pushing out an estimated 906 hp and 980 lb-ft of torque. It'll also reportedly do the 0-60 sprint in around 2.9 seconds and be able to tow up to 8,000 lbs. With figures like this, it could be one of the highest performing electric pickup trucks to be coming out within the next few years, with perhaps only the tri-motor version of the infamous Tesla Cybertruck being able to better those claimed performance numbers.
That competition is a real moot point right now for Nikola. The aforementioned Tesla Cybertruck is expected to be coming soon, as is the Rivian R1-T and the much-anticipated Hummer truck. If Nikola is going to be properly competitive, it needs need to try to bring the Badger to market as soon as they possibly can, without making any obvious compromises on quality.
Another big problem for the Badger is the hydrogen infrastructure, or rather the lack of it. Whilst hydrogen refuelling stations are becoming more commonplace, unless you live in California or somewhere within easy distance of London you're not going to have a good time trying to get your fancy new hydrogen truck filled up. Hopefully Nikola's large investment in a hydrogen infrastructure (Nikola claims that 700 new hydrogen filling stations will open in North America alone thanks to its investment) will be a big help in solving that problem.
The pre-production Badger is expected to be shown to the public for the first time in September 2020 at the company's headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, with the first trucks being delivered to customers in 2021. Whilst we'll still have to wait and see about whether the hype and the claimed figures will be completely worth it, I'm definitely a big fan of the Badger's rugged looks, big performance figures and potentially futureproof drivetrain.