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Nikola Corp. – the battery- and hydrogen-powered truck company that has positioned itself as a rival to Tesla – on Monday announced plans to make an electric pickup.

The Nikola Badger joins a growing list of electric pickups promised by an array of established and start-up automakers.

The contenders now include the Tesla Cybertruck, General Motors’ GMC Hummer, an electric Ford F-150 and a pickup made by Ford-backed startup Rivian.

Phoenix-based Nikola has attracted attention for its ambitious expansion plans and bold claims of technological advancements, including a recent announcement that it has achieved a “game-changing” breakthrough in battery technology.

The Nikola Badger will have a battery-only range of 300 miles or a range of 600 miles on a battery plus a hydrogen fuel tank, the company said Monday.

The Nikola Badger electric pickup truck.

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The Badger will go 0-to-60-mph in about 2.9 seconds with 906 peak horsepower, and it will be made in partnership with an existing but unidentified automaker, the company said. The startup plans to begin accepting “limited reservations” in 2020. A spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on when production would begin.

Tesla and GM have said they plan to make their electric pickups beginning in late 2021, while Rivian has said it plans to make the R1T beginning in late 2020. Ford has not announced a date for the electric F-150 but recently released a video demonstrating a prototype version towing a train.

The Nikola Badger electric pickup truck.

Nikola CEO Trevor Milton released a statement implying that the company is translating technology from its hydrogen-powered semi-truck, which is still in development, into the pickup.

“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,” Milton said. “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.”

Milton has said the company has a decade worth of orders lined up for its hydrogen-electric semi-truck, including customers such as Anheuser-Busch and US Xpress, and plans to begin semi-truck production in 2022.

Nikola, which bears the first name of electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla, has said it will reveal more details about its battery and pickup plans at a forthcoming summit. The startup, which also goes by Nikola Motor Company, said it would likely take place in fall 2020.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.


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