Nikola unveils electric Badger pickup: Huge range and built for construction work

The latest electrified pickup to join the fray is from Nikola Motor Company, the builder of a hydrogen-electric Class 8 tractor. The company recently announced the 906-hp Badger pickup which features an estimated range of up to 600 miles and a hydrogen-electric powertrain.

The company says the pickup delivers 980 ft.-lbs. of torque, 906 peak horsepower and 455 continuous horsepower with a towing capacity of more than 8,000 pounds. The truck will be built in conjunction with an unnamed OEM using their certified parts and manufacturing facilities.

The truck will be available with a fuel-cell electric (FCEV)/battery-electric (BEV) hybrid or battery-electric only powertrain. The company says it can operate in FCEV/battery-blend or BEV mode only at the touch of a button. The Badger can drive 300 miles in BEV mode for those that do not have access to hydrogen.

Nikola says the truck is designed to handle what a construction company could throw at it and features a 15-kilowatt power outlet for tools, lights and compressors.

“Nikola has billions worth of technology in our semi-truck program, so why not build it into a pickup truck?” said Nikola CEO Trevor Milton. “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. This electric truck 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.”

It looks like the Badger will be either a Class 2 or 3 pickup based on the following statement: “With a fully loaded trailer and combined vehicle weight of 18,000 lbs., the Badger will be able to launch from a standstill on a 30 percent grade without motor stall,” Nikola’s press release states.

Time for a little math. Take the combined vehicle weight of 18,000 pounds (which under normal circumstances accounts for the weight of the trailer, vehicle and all contents and passengers), subtract the stated 8,000 lb. max towing and you’ve got a Class 2 10,000-lb. GCWR truck. Add a pound of bacon or whatever and it becomes Class 3.

The Badger will be outfitted with a 15-kilowatt power outlet for tools, lights and compressors, which is enough power to assist a construction site for approximately 12 hours without a generator.

The Badger was designed to handle 0-100 mph launches with minimal loss of performance and to operate on grades up to 40 percent through advanced software blending of batteries and fuel-cell.

“The Nikola Badger is a game changer. The program will help drive down the cost of the fuel-cell components on our semi-truck while accelerating the hydrogen station rollout. Giving customers the option to order a fuel-cell or battery electric version will ensure we drive the cost down for everyone across our lineup,” said Mark Russell, president of Nikola Corporation.

Nikola has partnered with Diesel Brothers’ Dave “Heavy D” Sparks who will design, build and test the Badger for millions to see on the popular reality TV show.

New truck plans can make strange bedfellows. Sparks has built a successful TV show and businesses based on truck builds with high-performance diesel powertrains. Milton has not hidden his disdain for oil burners. Consider his comments last April at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, Calif:

“Hashtag diesel is dead. Emissions game over. We’re tired of it,” Milton told a large audience during the Expo’s general session at the Long Beach Convention Center. “We need to fix a lot of the problems and change things. Other people are not going to do it unless they’re forced to, so If that means we have to force them, it’s about damn time.”

In a video posted Monday by Milton on Twitter, Sparks acknowledges the challenges that his longtime propulsion of choice is up against.

“What I’m about to tell you is the single most important announcement of my entire career. Listen, the world’s changing,” Heavy D says. “Many cities and countries have started to put a ban in place on gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. As truck owners, our trucks are our lifestyle, our livelihood, and our passion. And I for one refuse to be caught unprepared.”

A limited number of reservations for the Badger will be available in 2020. The truck will make its first appearance at Nikola World 2020, which is expected in September.

Additional details on the Nikola Badger

  • Electric 0-60 mph in approximately 2.9 seconds
  • Truck can operate on FCEV / battery-blend or BEV mode at any given time
  • Badger can generate over 906 horsepower, 980 lb.-ft. torque and an estimated 600-mile range
  • Badger can drive 300 miles in BEV mode for those that do not have access to hydrogen
  • Badger will make its first appearance at Nikola World 2020; expected in September
  • Nikola is currently planning 700 hydrogen stations to give North America hydrogen coverage
  • Initial hydrogen station locations are finalized and will be announced this quarter
  • Limited reservations available in 2020. Sign up for updates at