Glickenhaus throws a different kind of hat in the electrified pickup ring

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Glickenhaus made a name for itself by building giant-slaying race cars, yet it announced it has its sights set on one of the industry's largest segments. It wants to make an electrified pickup aimed at the Ford F-150 Lightning.

Posting on social media, company founder James Glickenhaus congratulated Ford for releasing a battery-powered version of the F-150, which is the best-selling vehicle in the United States. He then announced his vision of a pickup with zero local emissions is different than the Blue Oval's. He's betting on hydrogen rather than on pure electricity.

His team is developing a pair of pickups previewed by computer renderings. One is a two-door model with a full-size bed and about 600 miles of driving range; the other has four doors, a smaller cargo box, and a 1,200-mile range. Full technical specifications remain closely guarded, and all we know is that the powertrain is hydrogen-electric (so the fuel is not burned in an internal combustion engine, like the one that equips Toyota's race car prototype). Glickenhaus also hopes to introduce "a refueling solution that will be simple and easily available worldwide."

Fleet operators, contractors, first responders, and utility companies are among the clients the yet-unnamed model will target. The firm's rationale is that users who rely on their vehicle for urgent work can't afford to take the risk of leaving to handle an emergency at 2 a.m. with half a charge in their battery pack. Refueling a hydrogen-powered vehicle takes less time than charging an EV, but the technology's biggest obstacle is the lack of infrastructure.

Glickenhaus noted the market for trucks with zero local emissions is large, and it plans to be a major part of it. It's an unusual strategy for a niche company, but the race team-turned-carmaker is not a stranger to David vs. Goliath fights. It again challenged Ford and Tesla to compete in the 2022 edition of the Baja 1000 to prove its point.

Merging into the mainstream will require a significant investment. As of writing, Glickenhaus predicts it may need to raise about $30 million to build the truck it plans to race in the 2022 Baja 1000 and to assemble four additional prototypes it plans to put in the hands of a major utility company. Executives hope that more orders will follow.

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