GM not happy with Nikola
The burgeoning electric bakkie market has suffered its first casualty.
Although some of these brands had more engineering legacy than others, most specifically Tesla, which has proven its ability to build electric vehicles, others have caused suspicion.
The most ambitious of all, was most certainly Nikola. As Ford partnered with Rivian, GM did much the same with Nikola. Promises were made of futuristic hydrotec technology and a double-cab bakkie that would come to market with incredible powertrain numbers.
A sophisticated hydrogen fuel cell would generate 120 kW, whilst lithium-ion batteries had the potential to supply an additional 160 kWh of energy. Peak power was rated at 675 kW.
Despite the concept bakkie’s size, Nikola claimed an operational range of 965 km. It was amazing. Too amazing.
Experienced electrical engineers murmured discontent at Nikola claims and tabled surprise at the fact that a creditable company, such as GM, was along for the ride. Earlier this year Nikola took deposits for its Badger bakkie and promised that an advanced concept would be shown later in the year.
That deadline lapsed and Nikola has now announced that its Badger bakkie project, has been cancelled. The company is in desperate trouble, with severe fraud allegations being levelled against its founder and a group of automotive industry associates.
Nikola proudly espoused that it had futuristic technology and GM would provide the bakkie platform and production knowledge, to make its Badger double-cab unbeatable. In truth, this was never going to be the case.
It now appears that the entire project was an empty shell of promises and clever Photoshop work. GM’s hope to access advanced powertrain technology has been a waste of time with its Nikola partnership and shown yet again, that in the race for electrification, not everything is as it seems.