Another day, another new electric pickup truck

Here comes Nikola, the latest entrant in the electric pickup truck market. The company has just unveiled its first electric pickup truck called the Badger. The truck will be powered by hydrogen cells along with battery power.

Nikola has revealed some details about the truck, including that the Badger can sprint to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, and that it comes with a combined range of 600 miles. This is more than what any other electric truck is offering at the moment. Is the Badger going to be a big threat for Tesla and Rivian?

The Badger Will Run On Hydrogen Cells As Well As Battery Power

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
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At the onset, the Nikola truck actually looks quite smart. It looks futuristic from almost all angles, but the most satisfying aesthetic part is the grille.

Many automakers just slap a plastic cover where the grille is supposed to be, but Nikola actually designed it quite well. It looks like a skid-plate with the Nikola branding on it. The truck also features thick plastic cladding on the wheels arches along with running boards on the sides. With the raised height and all-terrain tires, the Badger appears to be a full-fledged mid-sized off-roader. The bumpers’ size and placement will make sure the truck comes with impressive approach and departure angles as well.

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Interior
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Nikola also released pictures of the cabin and it looks quite sedate actually.

It features the “futuristic” touches that we’ve been seeing on new EVs, like a display screen for the instrument cluster and a huge touchscreen system in the middle, but it still looks rather conventional. The images also show an auxiliary power bank placed on the roof that will allow you to plug in stuff like compressors and light bars.

What Do We Know About The Nikola Badger?

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
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Unlike other truck-makers who announce their new arrivals with barely any information, Nikola actually has revealed quite a bit.

The Truck Will Be Offered As A FCEV and BEV, And Also As A Pure BEV

The combined option of fuel cells and battery packs will deliver up to 600 miles of range, whereas the battery-powered Badger will come with a range of 300 miles. In comparison, the Rivian R1T will offer a range of 400 miles, whereas the Cybertruck is expected to deliver 500 miles in the top trim.

0-60 mph In 2.9 Seconds!

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
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Nikola claims that the Badger can sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in 2.9 seconds. This is on par with the Cybertruck, which also takes the same time to 60 mph.

The Rivian R1T and GMC Hummer EV, on the other hand, take three seconds. Nikola also says the powertrain is rated at 455 “continuous” horsepower - but peaks at 905 ponies - and 980 pound-feet of torque. Will we get a Dyno Mode, like the Tesla vehicles, on this? * wink *

The Badger Will Be Designed To Operate As A Work Truck As Well

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
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At first sight, the Badger looks too fancy to be a work truck. However, Nikola has said that it has been designed as a heavy-duty rig that can be utilized by construction companies as well. The towing capacity is rated at 8,000 pounds, which clearly is the otherwise-well-spec’d truck’s Achilles’ heel. It also comes with a power outlet, perhaps on the side of the truck bed, that can be used to run plug-in tools and it can last for 12 hours without an external generator. Pretty cool, huh?

It’s A Decent-Sized Truck

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
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The Nikola Badger measures 232.28 inches in length, 72.83 inches in height, and 85.03 inches in width.

The truck bed is 61.41 inches wide.

To put things into perspective, the Tesla Cybertruck measures 231.7 inches in length, 75 inches in height, and 79.8 inches in width. The truck bed, on the other hand, is 78 inches wide. The Nikola Badger and Tesla Cybertruck measure almost the same. This is going to be one hell of a war.

700 Upcoming Hydrogen Charging Stations All Across North America

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
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The Badger’s tank can store 17.6 pounds of hydrogen. Indeed, hydrogen filling stations are not as widespread as battery charging stations, but Nikola says it is planning to build 700 stations across North America. No other details about this are announced yet.

Independent Motor Setup

This point clarifies that the truck will come with either a four-motor setup, or with an in-wheel hub motor setup. Seeing the way the truck is spec’d otherwise, the former seems to be more likely. In all likelihood, there will be other motor setups as well. I’m calling for a Tank Turn-Esque feature on this as we get closer to the launch date.

Tesla Had The Chance Of Killing The Nikola Badger Before It Was Announced

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Interior
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Here’s a little fun fact: Trevor Milton, Nikola Motors’ CEO, offered Musk a truck design following the Cybertruck’s launch. It looks like Milton is not a fan of the design and he tweeted Musk a design that would help “hit a broader market.”

If you still didn’t figure it out, this is the same design that Nikola offered. This sounded subtle but the jab taken by Nikola’s CEO is evident. No, this did not come out of the blue. Nikola and Tesla are rivals and they also have the hydrogen-electric Semi truck and Tesla Semi, respectively, that compete in the same segment.

It looks like Nikola just took the rivalry to an all-new level. But imagine if Tesla would’ve taken the design and scrapped it; or worse, trademarked it under its own name. If the Badger turns out to be the Cybertruck’s fierce rival, Tesla will look back at this tweet and wonder how different things could have been!

Final Thoughts

Nikola's Badger Pickup Truck Comes Back To Haunt The Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
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Nikola will be revealing the Badger at the Nikola World 2020 event to be held in September this year. We can expect more details to pour in as we approach closer to the launch date. What do you think about the Nikola Badger? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Nikola Badger specifications
0-60 MPH 2.9 Seconds
Peak HP 906
Continuous HP 455
Peak Torque 980 Ft. LBS
Range 600 Miles
Battery 300 Miles
Fuel Cell 300 Miles
Hydrogen 8 kg
Fuel Cell 120 kW
Towing Capacity 8,000 LBS
Drivetrain 4x4 Independent Wheel Drive (IWD)
Dimensions 5890mm L x 2180mm W x 1870mm T
Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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