In the upcoming battle in the electric pickup market, unique features could be the difference that attracts consumers. For the Tesla Cybertruck, this could be its design and speculated amphibious qualities. For the Rivian R1T, this could be its awesome Tank Turn feature and premium interiors. And for the hydrogen fuel cell Nikola Badger variant, this could be its built-in drinking water feature.
In a recent post on Twitter, Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton noted that he has been receiving questions about what could be done with the water coming out of the company’s hydrogen-powered vehicles. The CEO noted that most of the fuel cell water would be used for windshield washer fluid, though some would be purified to provide drivers with clean drinking water.
“Getting questions about what we do with all the water coming out of our hydrogen trucks. Well, 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,” Milton wrote.
Taking the idea further, Milton invited Soda Stream USA to collaborate with Nikola to create a possible built-in soda machine for the company’s hydrogen pickup and semi truck. While noting that the idea of a built-in soda machine is a bit tricky, the Nikola CEO stated that he’s sure engineers could figure out a viable system for the feature.
The utilization of the Badger’s fuel cell water as drinking water has been met with a mixture of support and skepticism from the electric vehicle community. However, it should be noted that Toyota, the maker of the Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell car, has stated in the past that the vehicle’s fuel cell water is actually safe to drink. According to Seiji Mizuno, who worked on the Mirai’s fuel stack power generator, Toyota tested the health impact of drinking the water from the vehicle’s fuel cells, and what they found was surprising.
“We tested the health impact of drinking the water in a special lab. They said that compared to drinking milk, this drainage water has much fewer organic impurities,” Mizuno said. However, he did warn that Toyota does not recommend drinking the Mirai’s drainage water, since depending on the place where the vehicle is driven, there’s a chance that organisms like E.coli could end up in the water.
Nikola intends to open reservations for its Badger pickup on June 29. The vehicle is expected to be unveiled at the upcoming Nikola World 2020 event, which is scheduled on December 3-5.