Nikola is in talks with three established automakers over a deal to build the EV startup's Badger pickup truck.
The information was revealed by Nikola CEO and founder Trevor Milton in an interview with Reuters published Wednesday.
“There are three (automakers) in the running right now for a joint venture on Badger, and we will announce who that is in the next few months,” he said.
The Badger is a battery-electric, full-size pickup truck that Nikola will offer with a hydrogen fuel cell range extender. According to the company, the truck will be good for 300 miles on battery-power alone and a further 300 miles when using the range extender, making it a potential alternative to Tesla's Cybertruck and electric pickups coming from Ford and General Motors.
Nikola previewed the Badger in a series of sketches in February, and will reveal it in the metal in September. According to Milton, production will start in 2022 or earlier. He also tweeted Monday that reservations for the Badger would open June 29, prompting the company's NASDAQ-listed share price to nearly double since their debut last week. The skyrocketing share price means Nikola now has a market valuation higher than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, even though it hasn't built any of its promised vehicles.
The first Nikola to enter production will be the Tre semi-trailer truck. Like the Badger, it will be a battery-electric design with an available fuel cell range extender. Nikola has partnered with Italian truck manufacturer Iveco for production of the Tre.
In his interview with Reuters, Milton said the battery-only Tre will start production in 2021 and the range-extended version will start production in late 2022 or early the following year. The trucks will be built at a plant in Ulm, Germany, for sale in Europe.
Nikola also plans to establish a plant in Arizona for its trucks sold in North America. The Arizona plant will build Nikola's larger One and Two electric semis. Like the Tre, the One and Two will also be offered with fuel cell range extenders.
You might be wondering where Nikola expects its customers to purchase hydrogen to power the range extender on their trucks. The company plans to build its own network of hydrogen fueling stations, with solar farms used to provide the energy used to generate the hydrogen.