New Model News

Nikola Badger set to take on Tesla with new EV, hydrogen fuel cell truck

Nikola has been developing hydrogen powertrains for tractor trailers. Now the company is turning its attention to a full-size truck.

Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

Nikola Corporation has announced its intention to build a new electric pickup truck, the Nikola Badger. Should it make it to market, the Badger would be competitive with the Rivian R1T, GMC Hummer EV, and Tesla Cybertruck.

The company has designed the Nikola Badger to run on electricity and hydrogen. Power comes from a 160 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 120 kW fuel cell.

Nikola Badger

Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation


It is promised to deliver 980 pound-feet of torque, 906 peak horsepower, and 455 continuous horsepower. It is slated to have an estimated 600 miles of range, 300 on batteries alone.

The five-seater Badger is slated to be outfitted with a 15-kilowatt power outlet for tools, lights and compressors, which the company says is enough power to assist a construction site for approximately 12 hours without a generator. It is designed to handle getting from zero to 100 mph with minimal performance loss and operate on grades up to 40 percent.

Nikola says, "With a fully loaded trailer and combined vehicle weight of 18,000 lbs., the Badger will be able to launch from a standstill on a 30% grade without motor stall." It has a towing capacity of 8,000 pounds.

"Nikola has billions worth of technology in our semi-truck program, so why not build it into a pickup truck?" said Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Corporation. "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. 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."

The Badger will be built in conjunction with another OEM utilizing their certified parts and manufacturing facilities. It is a full-size pickup truck, about the same size as the Ford F-150. Ford is slated to show off an electric version of the F-150 in the coming months.

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The truck's biggest obstacle aside from manufacturing, distribution, and a repair network, is its reliance on hydrogen. The hydrogen distribution network, hindered by local and state laws and regulations, is not built out nationwide to support a large number of hydrogen vehicles in the marketplace. Currently, nearly all new hydrogen-powered vehicle sales are in California, which has a budding hydrogen refueling system.

Nikola has partnered with Heavy D from "Diesel Brothers" to design, build, and test the Badger. The partnership will follow the Badger build from concept through production.

"My audience, hard-core truck enthusiasts, has expected me to push the limits of truck power and capabilities since my beginnings," said Heavy D, AKA Dave Sparks. "Being able to pull back the curtain of a production truck build is a rare opportunity where we can include the everyday truck owner to participate in the final outcome of design, exterior choices and performance specs. I wanted to be part of that story and now I have the opportunity with Nikola."

"The Nikola Badger is a game changer. The program will help drive down the cost of the fuel-cell components on our semi-truck while accelerating the hydrogen station rollout. Giving customers the option to order a fuel-cell or battery electric version will ensure we drive the cost down for everyone across our lineup," said Mark Russell, president of Nikola Corporation.

The Nikola Badger will make its first appearance at Nikola World 2020 in Phoenix. Prototypes will be available for select customers and media to ride in at Nikola World.

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Hyundai has completely refreshed the Santa Fe for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Santa Fe is getting more than just a traditional mid-cycle update for the 2021 model year. It's closer to a generational shift with new powertrains, a new platform, and more premium features.

If you're saying to yourself, "Didn't they just change it?" to yourself right now, you're not wrong. The current Santa Fe shifted generations just about two years ago as the company prepared to introduce the three-row Palisade. When the Palisade arrived, the Santa Fe was relegated to the new two-row Santa Fe and a holdover three-row Santa Fe for a year before going to just a two-row model for 2020.

The SUV has a fresh grille and headlamp design as well as new front and rear fascia.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has a face that looks like a blend of the Palisade and the Vision T concept car, which was first shown at last year's LA Auto Show. Its headlights carry over the Spartan helmet-like design that first appeared on the Kona. T-shaped LED daytime running lights flow from the headlights to the sides of the grill. The lower grille eschews the crucible-shape that is on the Palisade and offers a new, sophisticated look.

Hyundai has made the car beefier looking but also gentler with posterior that's sophisticated with arrow-like taillights that are connected through the center of the tailgate by a light bar.

Twenty-inch wheels are available as part of a Luxury Package that includes front and back lower bumpers and side cladding that match the body paint color, rather than the traditional matte black.

Hyundai has already revealed that the 2021 Santa Fe will come with hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants in Europe. They have not confirmed which, if either of those powertrains is coming to the U.S. More information is expected to be revealed soon.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai aimed for a premium SUV with the Palisade, to thunderous applause from industry experts and buyers, and it looks like that design mantra is holding true in the New Santa Fe. The company promotes the model as having more "space, comfort, and convenience" than the outgoing model. That's thanks in large part to the new platform the SUV is riding on.

The new third-gen Hyundai platform allows for improvements inn performance, handling, fuel efficiency, and safety. Additionally, it features more crash resistance. With the SUV market growing increasingly competitive, it's understandable that Hyundai would want to shift the model to the new underpinnings ASAP.

The lower half of the dashboard has been redesigned for 2021 and the cabin has been outfitted with soft-touch materials. The center console has also been redesigned and now floats and features similar instrumentation to the Hyundai Nexo and Palisade. This leaves a good amount of space between driver and front passenger for storage.

A new 10.25-inch infotainment screen floats on the dashboard.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The new 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen appears to float above the dashboard. A new 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster sits in front of the driver.

The new Santa Fe will be available in Europe starting September 2020. There is not yet confirmation as to when it comes to the U.S. or what it will cost.

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Maserati is promising an electrified future for its brand.

Photo courtesy of Maserati

In his prom "Divine Comedy," Italian author Dante Alighieri wrote, "From a little spark may burst a flame." It is fitting that Italian automaker Maserati is using a spark to tease its future.

That future includes a completely redesigned Maserati Ghibli Hybrid. Maserati has also been showing a pre-production version of the car under wraps on a tour though Italy calling it the MC20. It was designed and engineered at the Maserati Innovation Lab in Modena, Italy.

Maserati electrification 2020 As part of its announcement, Maserati shared images of its headquarters being hit by simulated lightning.Photo courtesy of Maserati

That bit about being straight from Italy is important to the brand. Despite being owned by a company headquartered in the Netherlands (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) that is about to merge with a company headquartered in France (PSA Group), the Maserati team has been given the freedom to design using Italian sports car DNA.

That Italian sports car DNA will be merging with a hybrid powertrain in a move all about sparking Maserati sales. For its part, the company is calling it, "the first in a line of new vehicles at the vanguard of a new era for Maserati." The's a next chapter, if you will.

Throughout 2020, Maserati is expected to strengthen its position in the luxury electric vehicles market as it works to allocate more of its production space to electrified cars.

The Ghibli Hybrid goes first, later this year. The Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabriolet will begin production in 2021 as the automaker's first all-electric cars. The next-gen GranTurismo and GranCabrio will be built at the Mirafiori production hub.

Maserati's Modena facility is in the process of a remodel, which will allow it to be modified enough to begin producing what the company is calling a "super sports car" in 2020.The Ghibli Hybrid will have the first hybrid engine in the history of the marque.

A forthcoming Maserati utility vehicle is set to be built at Cassino in 2021. The automaker is already teasing the model saying that it is, "intended to play a leading role for the brand, thanks to its innovative technologies." Technological innovation is not something Maserati has been known for lately so this could be a welcome change.

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