Nikola’s 600-mile hydrogen-powered pickup got canned in the company’s latest deal with General Motors.
For a hot minute this year, when it seemed like hydrogen and EV startup Nikola had what it took to become the next Tesla, the tip of its spear was the Nikola Badger—a fantastic, futuristic electric pickup truck with supercar-crushing acceleration and 600 miles of range. But amid Nikola’s continuing problems, allegations of fraud and now a drastically reduced deal with General Motors, it seems the Badger truck is off the table completely.
Among today’s bad news for Nikola was the fact that Nikola will not be making the Badger pickup at all, apparently lacking the ability to do so without support from GM. It was previously clear that no Nikola Badger actually existed, but apparently, no Nikola Badger will ever exist, with the company saying that “The MOU does not include the previously contemplated GM equity stake in Nikola or development of the Nikola Badger. As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership. Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger.”
Previously, Nikola claimed the Badger would use both a hydrogen fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery and could run with power on either, put out more than 900 horsepower, accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, tow over 8,000 pounds and power construction equipment. Like most EV concepts, it all seemed a bit too fantastical.
This is bad news for Nikola, who has spent a significant amount of time hyping up the truck and could use some good PR lately. In the last several months the company has been accused of fraud, has been put under investigation by the Justice Department, and its founder, Trevor Milton, resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct. The company’s flagship vehicle getting canned on top of all this doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture.
Additionally, the electric truck game is shaping up to be the next big thing in the coming EV wars. Until its financial issues arose this summer, Nikola seemed poised to do battle in that arena, competing against the electric Ford F-150, Tesla’s Cybertruck, the Rivian R1T, the GMC Hummer EV, and any number of hybrid truck options due out in 2021.
The Drive contacted Nikola for further information concerning the cancellation of the Badger, however, a representative told us that all we needed to know was contained in the press release. It’s not clear when the deposits will be refunded, only that they will eventually happen.
With the cancellation of the Badger, it’s expected that the company will focus on creating at least some of the other vehicles it says it plans to, primarily it’s class 7/8 trucks. The fate of other, smaller vehicles like the company’s Reckless and WAV are still unknown, but Nikola’s plan for producing those vehicles is likely as good as yours or mine.
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