Nikola Used Ford F-150 Raptor Parts To Build the Fake Electric Truck Badger in 2020

Trevor Milton’s criminal fraud trial dug deep into Nikola’s secrets. One of the revelations was that the Badger electric pickup prototype was built with parts stripped off an F-150 Raptor. This is similar to the Nikola truck prototype’s story, which got Trevor Milton into hot waters in the first place.
Nikola Badger FCV/BEV Pickup Truck 8 photos
Nikola Badger FCV/BEV Pickup TruckNikola Badger FCV/BEV Pickup TruckNikola Badger FCV/BEV Pickup TruckNikola Badger FCV/BEV Pickup TruckNikola Badger FCV/BEV Pickup TruckNikola Badger FCV/BEV Pickup TruckNikola Badger FCV/BEV Pickup Truck
Following Tesla’s success, many startups wanted to follow the same recipe. Among them, one of the most promising was Nikola, whose name was deliberately chosen to copy Tesla. Despite promises, Nikola proved a paper tiger, with its CEO Trevor Milton overpromising and deceiving investors about the company’s products. The turning point was when the Hindenburg report showed that Nikola One, the truck that should’ve beaten Tesla Semi, was just a cardboard model with no propulsion system.

On paper, the Nikola Badger had everything it needed to give the Tesla Cybertruck a run for its money. Powered either by a battery pack or a fuel cell, the Badger would’ve delivered 906 horsepower and traveled 600 miles on a full charge. Nikola founder Trevor Milton presented it as the truck that would dethrone the Ford F-150. Months later, mounting controversies ended up proving Nikola was a fraud. The startup hadn’t actually developed the technology needed to power the Badger or anything else.

Like the fake semi-truck pushed downhill to show that it works, the Badger was also a non-functional prototype. This emerged during Trevor Milton’s trial last week. According to Bloomberg, cited by Ford Authority, Nikola used Ford F-150 Raptor parts to build the Badger prototype. This is hilarious, not only because Milton wanted to beat Ford but because GM was a partner and was supposed to make the truck using its Ultium proprietary EV technology.

During the trial, former Nikola employee Brendan Babiarz – who led the design and created renderings for the model, told the jury that Nikola used Raptor parts during the early development phase. Babiarz showed jurors text messages between himself and Milton to back up his claims. Babiarz also reportedly tried to talk Milton out of taking reservations for the Badger in June 2020.

Milton is currently facing securities and wire fraud charges and risks a maximum prison term of 25 years if convicted. Nikola fares better after settling fraud charges with the SEC a year ago for $125 million. We’re curious how the startup will get past these problems and whether it could prove the disruptive EV maker it wanted to be.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories