Nikola Motors puts hydrogen fuel-cell semi truck Badger project on back burner

Nikola Motors puts hydrogen fuel-cell semi truck Badger project on back burner

As American automaker Nikola Motor Corp’s deal with General Motors (GM) remains in limbo, the top executive of the former has hinted that the company has dropped the Badger electric pickup truck project.

In February this year, Nikola announced its plans to build hydrogen fuel-cell semi truck called ‘The Badger’ as well as a network of hydrogen stations for providing them with the required fuel.

The Badger, a powerful battery-electric truck with a fuel-cell range extender, was to be built by Nikola in partnership with General Motors.

That Nikola-GM deal was slated to close by the end of September, but discussions are still ongoing without any concrete results. Nikola Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Russell recently said in an interview that the company was prepared to go alone. He added that the company’s institutional shareholders remained focused on the basic business plan, adding that the Badger was an interesting and exciting project.

Speaking on the topic, Mr. Russell said, “Our institutional shareholders are mostly focused on the business plan. We have the ability and we have a base plan for doing it ourselves. Our core business plan since before we became publicly listed always focused on heavy trucks and hydrogen infrastructure.”

Mr. Russell's comments clearly indicated that the company has put the Badger project on the back burner. The automaker has already annulled the truck’s reveal, which was set for December, stating that it was cancelled due to corona virus pandemic.

In the past also, Nikola maintained that the hydrogen fuel-cell semi pickups called the Badger would feature an electric and hydrogen powertrain. In July, the company broke ground on a facility in Arizona with plans to use the facility to assemble commercial fuel-cell trucks. The first Nikola trucks will be manufactured by truck maker IVECO in Germany. However, the vehicles will initially be battery-electric versions. It may be noted here that Nikola has its own proprietary powertrain, but it was in search of a partner only help it accelerate the development of the machine.

Nikola selected GM as its potential partner for the project but the potential partnership slipped into the doldrums by accusations that Nikola's former CEO Trevor Milton made deceitful claims about the company’s technology. The company as well as Mr. Milton denied those accusations, but Mr. Milton was forced to step down from the position.