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Nikola's Badger electric truck hopes to take on Hummer and Rivian

Nikola, an electric semi truck-manufacturing hopeful, has unveiled a pickup that will be available with electric and fuel cell powertrains. This new model could come with up to 600 miles of range.

Sure it looks like a futuristic, extra-butch Tacoma, but we kind of dig that.
Nikola Motors

Nikola Motors, aka Arizona's No. 1 electrified vehicle hype machine, is back at it again, but this time, it's not a electric semi truck that it's trying to get you excited for. It's a pickup truck designed to compete with vehicles from the likes of Rivian, Hummer and Tesla, and it's called the Badger.

Nikola's Badger pickup, which was announced by the company last month, will be available as either a purely battery-electric vehicle or with a fuel cell system. Nikola is touting up to 600 miles of range (300 on batteries alone), 906 peak horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque. Those specs are pretty decent, but there's one problem -- hydrogen.

See, as any Mirai or Nexo owner will tell you, hydrogen stations aren't that plentiful. Not even in Southern California, which has the highest concentration of them by far. To help combat this, as part of its Badger program Nikola is planning to build 700 hydrogen filling stations. It says that the locations of the first stations are secured, but they won't be announced until later in the first quarter of 2020.

"Nikola has billions' worth of technology in our semi truck program, so why not build it into a pickup truck?" Nikola CEO Trevor Milton said in a statement. "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."

What else do we know about the Badger? Well, from the side, it looks a lot like the current-generation Toyota Tacoma (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), but of course it's got a lot more lights and angles and character lines. It's going to have a tow rating of somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000 pounds, and Nikola says it'll do 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds with the help of a supercapacitor-based launch system.

Oh, and Nikola is partnering with Heavy D from the show Diesel Brothers to help design, build and test the Badger in "real-world environments." In any case, Nikola says that its Badger will make its debut at the company's Nikola World 2020 event later this year, where there will be prototype vehicles on hand for media and select customers to drive.

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First published Feb. 12.