It seems like pretty soon we are going to have a nice selection of electric pickup trucks on the market. Tesla Cybertruck gained huge attention last years, Rivian soon is going to start manufacturing its R1T, Ford is creating an electric F-Series contender and Hummer is waking up to introduce an electric pickup truck as well. And now we have a new concept – take a look at this Nikola Badger.
Nikola, of course, is not a new name on the market. Nikola was founded back in 2014 and since then gained quite a bit of momentum. This company is focusing mostly on hydrogen fuel cell semi-trucks and has hundreds of orders on those. And since it invested millions and millions of dollars into this technology, why wouldn’t it create something a bit smaller for a regular guy? That’s what the Badger is aiming to be.
Ok, you’re going to say it anyway – Nikola Badger looks a bit like the new Toyota Tacoma. But it is definitely not a copy and some people prefer pickups of this kind of traditional design. It is very practical – you can approach its load bed from all three sides (which isn’t the case with the Cybertruck).
Nikola Badger is 5,89 meters long and 2,18 meters wide. Just like its main competition, it has a crew cab – four doors and at least five seats. Badger’s grille, which is mostly a blocked-off decoration, has a mean LED bar, while side skirts and wheel arches look protected by some rugged-looking plastic bits.
On the inside the business is as usual. There is one main infotainment screen in central console, while the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel is replaced by another screen. Nikola Badger doesn’t have conventional side mirrors – those have been replaced by cameras, feeding into two little screens mounted on both a-pillars. However, despite all those screens, sketches of the Badger’s interior design do not look too futuristic. You have to keep in mind that pickup truck drivers are a bit on a conservative side and they like familiar things.
The power of hydrogen
Nikola Badger is going to come in two variants. The first one is going to be battery electric vehicle (BEV), storing its energy in a 160 kWh unit somewhere under the floor of the car. Badger BEV will be able to do 482 km (300 miles) on a single charge.
The second version is going to keep that 160 kWh battery, but it is also going to have a 120 kW hydrogen fuel cell. Although prices have not been announced yet, this FCEV+BEV version is definitely going to be more expensive, but also more versatile. You will be able to fill up hydrogen (the tank holds 8 kg) and use it to charge the battery and power the vehicle. Or you can just charge your Badger in a conventional charging station. This version of Nikola Badger will do 965,6 km (600 miles) on a full tank and a full battery.
It is also important to note that Badger is made for work. It has a compressor, which can power some tools, and a 15 kW outlet. Nikola stated that Badger can power a nice workstation for up to 12 hours all by itself without other generators.
But will it be quick?
You bet. Obviously, it is going to be a heavy beast, but with 906 HP peak and 455 HP continuous power it can achieve some pretty delicious acceleration, aided by Advanced Supercapacitor Launch Assist that blends with lithium ion and fuel-cell. Nikola Badger will accelerate from 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) in just 2.9 seconds.
But it is a pickup truck, not a sports car. Badger will tow more than 3629 kg (which is significantly less than 6350 kg promised by Tesla). It has 4×4 Independent Wheel Drive and is pretty tall to do some serious off-roading. Of course, all of this is just manufacturer’s claims – no one has seen the Badger in real life, because it is still just a concept.
When will we see it on the road?
Nikola is going to officially launch the Badger in September 2020. That is when we are going to know more details, such as price, and orders will be accepted around that time.
To reduce the concerns about hydrogen infrastructure, Nikola is going to create a network of 700 hydrogen stations across the United States. But we suspect that many people will go for a cheaper version without the fuel cell.