General Motors will build Nikola Badger, supply fuel-cell technology for semis

Hot on the heels of its proposed strategic alliance with Honda, GM plans to grow closer to startup Nikola.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
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Badger, by GM.

Nikola Motors

made a massive move last week in the form of a proposed alliance with rival Honda in North America. On Tuesday, GM said it will partner with another potential rival to help both succeed: startup automaker Nikola. The two companies said on Tuesday they will work together to bring the Badger electric and fuel-cell pickup truck to market.

That's not all, however. GM will also become the exclusive supplier of fuel-cell technology for Nikola's upcoming Class 7 and 8 semi trucks -- no small nugget of news in itself. GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement, "Applying General Motors' electrified technology solutions to the heavy-duty class of commercial vehicles is another important step in fulfilling our vision of a zero-emissions future." The legacy automaker will supply fuel-cell systems for Nikola in all countries it plans to do business in, save for Europe.

Back to the Badger. Nikola will issue $2 billion in stock to GM, and in return, Nikola will receive access to GM engineering. The automaker will validate, homologate and manufacture the Badger when the time comes, though it's not clear where it plans to build the pickup. The Detroit-Hamtramck facility seems like a logical place, considering the GMC Hummer EV will roll out of the factory in the years to come. Both the Nikola pickup and the reborn Hummer will use GM's Ultium battery technology, which promises at least 400 miles of range and oodles of advances in the segment.

In the past, Nikola teased 600 miles of range with a combination of battery and fuel-cell power for the Badger. So far, we know the company plans to also offer a purely battery-powered version, which should do 300 miles on a single charge. That could change with GM's technology underneath the skin, however. If Nikola keeps its word, 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque will be at the driver's service.

Both companies expect the deal to close by the end of this month, and as of today, GM plans to begin production of the Badger in 2022. Additional details surrounding the Badger should come at the end of this year when Nikola hosts its Nikola World event, set to kick off on Dec. 3.

Nikola Motors' Badger electric truck wants to sink its teeth into Tesla, Rivian

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Watch this: Inside the Nikola One hydrogen-electric semi-truck