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Nikola Badger hydrogen-electric pickup, revealed this year, is already dead

Nikola Badger hydrogen-electric pickup, revealed this year, is already dead

Dead before it really ever came alive.

Nikola Motors

Startup truckmaker Nikola had its fans seriously hyped this past March when it announced it was going to jump aboard the electric pickup truck bandwagon with the Badger. The truck, which only ever appeared in computer-rendered form, was supposed to boast 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque, and deliver 600 miles of range. Now? It’s dead before we even saw the real thing.

On Monday, Nikola announced a new memorandum of understanding with General Motors, following lengthy new discussions over a proposed partnership following fraud allegations against the startup company. Not included in the MOU is GM’s prior commitment to validate, homologate and manufacture the Badger. Nikola was also supposed to gain access to GM’s engineers to help bring the pickup truck to life. It’s a big strike against the new automaker, which banked on a lot of hype for its upcoming vehicles. Instead, it looks like we’re staring at reality.

On the truck’s quick death, Nikola said in a statement, “As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership.” With GM out, Nikola clearly decided it wasn’t ready to shop around for a new buddy. “Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger,” it added.

The company’s leaders post-Trevor Milton, the firm’s ex-chairman embroiled in the heart of fraud allegations, started to distance the company from the Badger this past fall. Nikola CEO Mark Russell previously said the project was “interesting and exciting,” but added shareholders were focused on the core business plan for hydrogen commercial semi trucks. As I wrote in October, those comments laid the groundwork for today’s announcement. Nikola also cancelled its Nikola World event where it was supposed to show off the Badger pickup for the first time, though the company pointed to COVID-19 precautions.

And with that, Nikola pens another wild chapter in the company’s short history. Wherever the future takes it, a hydrogen-electric pickup truck won’t be along for the ride.

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Inside the Nikola One hydrogen-electric semi-truck


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