Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) founder Trevor Milton has been focused on electric tractor-trailer trucks for years — but today he said that he wants to build a pickup that will outsell Ford Motor Company's (NYSE:F) dominant F-150.
"My goal is to take the throne from the Ford F-150," Milton told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday.
Nikola's stock surged on Monday, closing up more than 100%, after Milton tweeted that Nikola will start taking reservations for its Badger electric pickup truck at an event on June 29.
Nikola claims that the Badger, so far seen only in photos, will have both a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery pack, giving it up to 600 miles of zero-emissions range. That might make it a viable competitor to Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) much-hyped Cybertruck, but the high cost of fuel cells seems likely to put the Badger at a significant price disadvantage to Ford's mass-market trucks.
For now, it isn't clear when — or where, or even whether — Nikola will be able to put the Badger into production.
Nikola plans to build a factory in Arizona to produce its electric heavy trucks starting next year, but that factory won't build its pickup. The company has said that it will seek a partnership with a major automaker who can manufacture the Badger to its specifications.
So far, at least in public, none of the automakers have expressed interest in such a partnership. But with both Ford and General Motors (NYSE:GM) both developing electric pickups of their own, Milton and Nikola may have to move quickly if they hope to dominate the U.S. pickup market.