Adios, Nikola Badger: GM Backs Out of Nikola Deal for Pickup Truck

Nikola Badger BEV / FCEV pickup truck is done for, as GM backs out of proposed deal 12 photos
Photo: Nikola
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So much for Nikola’s first and only electric/fuel cell pickup, the Badger. General Motors has stepped away from a proposed deal that would have seen it take equity in Nikola and, in return, use proprietary technology to build the truck.
Announced at the beginning of 2020, the Badger was meant as a response to the Tesla Cybertruck, in a way. It should have been built with battery and fuel cell technology from GM, under a proposed deal made public in late summer. That was right before the entire Nikola universe imploded following allegations of “intricate fraud,” assault and harassment, and the subsequent outing of former CEO Trevor Milton.

As these allegations came to light, GM seemed to take a step back from the deal, though it still publicly stood by its intended future partner. A December 3 deadline was set for the deal to be finalized, which meant more time for GM to do due diligence – which many suggested it hadn’t done beforehand.

In a statement on a new non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU), Nikola says GM is still a partner and that it will supply Nikola with fuel cell hydrogen tech for its semi trucks. But the Badger deal fell through, the statement casually notes as an aside.

“The agreement between Nikola and GM is subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation acceptable to both parties,” the press release notes. “The MOU does not include the previously contemplated GM equity stake in Nikola or the development of the Nikola Badger. As previously announced, the Nikola Badger program was dependent on an OEM partnership. Nikola will refund all previously submitted order deposits for the Nikola Badger.”

In mid-October, Nikola was already bracing for this blow, with CEO Mark Russell telling the media that the Badger wouldn’t happen without an OEM partner. Still, Russell insisted Nikola would be ok even without the Badger, though he didn’t rule out the possibility of making it themselves later down the line.

The Badger was tagged with a 2022 delivery date, with a choice of BEV and FCEV drivetrains. The promised range was 300 miles (483 km) for the BEV option, and up to 600 miles (966 km) for the FCEV variant. Had GM agreed to the partnership, it would have built the Badger in exchange for 11 percent of Nikola stock. Many deemed this move was rushed and risky, given clear indication that Nikola had repeatedly failed to deliver on the many promises made along the years.

We'll always have Paris the renderings, though.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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