Hint: it's all about the powertrain.
The preorder books for the Nikola Badger areset to open tomorrow, June 29, and this Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T rival is unique for two key reasons: buyers have a choice between either a battery-electric or battery-electric fuel-cell powertrain. The Tesla and Rivian are, of course, battery-electric only. And with the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, owners will have one specific capability that's impossible for its rivals to produce: pure drinking water. Yes, seriously.
Nikola Motors CEO Trevor Milton recently posted on Twitter that he's been receiving a fair amount of questions regarding the amount of water produced by the hydrogen trucks. His answer was quite interesting.
"We will use most of it for our windshield washer fluid and then some for pure driver drinking water. Yes you heard that right, we will have a drinking fountain in our truck." He then went on to add that "using the hydrogen bi product water for the drivers to have nice cold, clean pure drinking water. The rest is re-used at our facility when they arrive for h2 production recycling."
A few Twitter followers did express concern about the water's cleanliness, but Milton reassured everyone that the water is "easily filtered and cleaned." Worried about the drinking water freezing in icy cold weather? Don't be because the system has "heater elements on during use and auto drain when you shut the vehicle off if freezing or chance of freezing." But Milton didn't stop there.
In a separate post, he directly reached out to Soda Stream USA with an offer to collaborate on a built-in vehicle soda machine. Is this necessary? No, but it sure does sound pretty cool, despite being potentially messy. Drinking water produced by a hydrogen powertrain? Although it may sound strange, it's not the first time the idea has come up.
The Toyota Mirai and its hydrogen powertrain was previously tested by the Japanese automaker and final results showed the water was safe to drink, though it wasn't recommended. Why? Because there could be traces of organisms like E.coli in the water due to where the vehicle had been driven. Milton made no mention of this risk.
The Nikola Badger is expected to be officially unveiled at the Nikola World 2020 event, scheduled to get underway on December 3.