Future ute? Wild 675kW hydrogen-electric pick-up revealed
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
It's officially raining next-gen, alternative fuels utes.
First came the Rivian R1-T, a quad-motor 14,000Nm pick-up (there's an SUV sibling, too) feature a fully electric powertrain. The Tesla Cybertruck followed last November, with over 200,000 pre-ordered in the time since. Now say g'day to the potential third contestant in an American three-way future-ute showdown; the Nikola Badger.
Sporting rugged, chunky styling and gratuitous all-terrain rubber, the Badger has two main distinctions over the Cybertruck and R1-T.
Firstly, it's merely a render at this stage. A proper launch with a proper touchable lickable vehicle is scheduled for September this year. The other point of difference is that the Badger's powertrain incorporates hydrogen.
The pairing of hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion battery pack mean an enormous range. According to the start-up firm, the Badger can travel 965km to a charge — 165km more than the top-spec tri-motor Tesla Cybertruck. Even individually, the ambitious ute's battery and fuel cell claim a healthy 483km of range each.
Like the Rivian, the Nikola also places a motor in each corner for what it calls "independent wheel drive". Peak power is a claimed 675kW, with peak torque 1330Nm. Towing capacity is a dizzying 3629kg, and it'll be able to sprint to 100km/h in roughly three seconds.
“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,” said Nikola CEO Trevor Milton.
“[The Badger] can be used for work, weekend getaways, towing, off-roading or to hit the ski slopes without performance loss. No other electric pickup can operate in these temperatures and conditions.”
Since the popularity explosion of Tesla, many aspiring start-up manufacturers around the world have tried their best to insert themselves into the EV discussion. Some, like Rivian, strike deals with big mainstream marques and gain commercial traction, while others disappear off the face of the earth never to be seen again.
It's not yet known which category Nikola will fall into. Like Tesla, it's also dabbled in the field of semi trucks — to the point that its filed a lawsuit against Tesla for US$2billion in breach of patent damages in 2018, when Tesla launched its own semi truck concept. Neither firm is yet to bring either semi truck to the market.
Nevertheless, the hydrogen-electric Nikola Badger is a handsome, curious addition to a segment that will no doubt grow further by the end of the year. We follow its development with interest.