Hydrogen-powered Nikola Badger pickup canceled amid company issues

GM nixes Nikola Badger electric pickup and investment, will supply fuel-cell tech

GM nixes Nikola Badger electric pickup and investment, will supply fuel-cell tech

General Motors will not take an initial stake in the electric vehicle company Nikola, which announced Monday that it would scuttle on of its marquee vehicles, an electric and hydrogen-powered pickup that was to be called the Badger. Instead, GM will merely provide fuel-cell technology.

But shortly after that deal was announced, a short seller released a report leveling allegations of fraud and exaggeration against the company and it's then-chairman Trevor Milton.

Nikola shares plunged more than 20% on the news.

Nikola had opened orders in June for the Badger pick-up, which was to be offered with electric and fuel cell powertrains, and initially said it would reveal the model in December.

Nikola said it is on course to begin testing "production-engineered" versions of its hydrogen fuel cell trucks before the end of 2021.

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Nikola's shares were down nearly 22% in morning trading, while GM's were marginally down. GM has completely backed out of the idea of helping Nikola produce its all-electric Badger pickup and will focus exclusively on the manufacturing of Nikolas Class 7 and Class 8 zero-emission semi-trucks that will be powered by GM's Hydrotec fuel-cell technology.

Nikola also confirmed the Badger is effectively dead as the truck was "dependent on an OEM partnership".

"Nikola is focusing on its core business of producing commercial zero-emission trucks", a Nikola spokeswoman said in an email. The Hydrotec system will be developed at GM's tech centers in Pontiac and Warren, Michigan, and manufactured at its Brownstown battery plant. Nikola would pay upfront and the two would also discuss the potential of using GM's Ultium batteries in Class 7/8 semis.

"Providing our Hydrotec fuel cell systems to the heavy-duty class of commercial vehicles is an important part of our growth strategy", GM global product development chief Doug Parks said in a separate statement.

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