Seven years ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had shared the possibility of a fully loaded electric pickup truck to rival the likes of the American-built Ford F-250. He had ideas that included an all-electric powertrain, load-compensating suspension and integrated multi-functional features.
Last week, Tesla Motors revealed a production-ready prototype of their first-ever all-electric Cybertruck – a battery-powered light commercial vehicle, as a sustainable energy option against the fuel-guzzling trucks selling thousands of units by the day.
The company has announced three variants of the Cybertruck ranging from a single electric motor to combinations of two and three. The three trucks will have different power outputs making them capable of doing 0-100 from 6.5 seconds to as quickly as 2.9. The trucks will have range outputs of 400, 500 and 800 km depending on their respective power consumption figures.
Constructed from a combination of stainless steel and titanium alloys, the world’s first-ever eco-friendly pickup was launched at a special event in Los Angeles. The Tesla Cybertruck will be available at a starting price of US$39,900 and will vary in cost with its other variants, depending on the package opted for.
Having discussed the idea numerous times over the last few years, Musk had expressed his special attachment to this project and how it would turn out to be. He used the terms “futuristic”, “cyberpunk”, and “blade-runner” when describing the styling cues to be used for the project, and said it was one of his favourite projects of all time.
Tesla motors have built a worldwide name in being the very first all-electric passenger car manufacturer. With three cars, a supercar and an SUV already being driven around in many global cities, they are currently setting up an assembly unit for the Model 3 in China. Coming up next is the model Y – set to debut next year and will compete in the SUV/crossover segment in the international market.
The Cybertruck will be a pure lifestyle pickup with plenty of dynamic trim options ranging from a flat, open-ended motorcycle or ATV carrier, to a completely folding RV unit with a kitchen counter, travel bed and storage unit in the rear. It will be the first and only vehicle of its kind in the global market before the electric version of Ford’s F-150, Rivian’s R1T and a no-emission pickup truck by General Motors.
The truck will have inverters to supply 120 and 240-volt power which will be enough to allow usage of electrical equipment and tools without the need for a generator. Also included will be an air compressor for powering pneumatic tools. The truck will come equipped with a self-levelling suspension system which will use a gyro to electronically adjust the ride height as per requirement.
The Cybertruck will have the option of autonomous driving, and the company is asking for a US$ 7,000 booking amount for a fully automatic, self-driving variant.
The body is an exoskeleton made up of folded stainless steel with 3mm thickness and appears to be origami inspired. It also finds its styling and construction close to the likes of the legendary GMC DeLorean and the Chrysler Airflow.
It will share most of the elements from the Model S and X’s powertrain including the inductive rear motor and a permanent magnet mounted on the front end.
It cannot simply be called ugly, as there is some deep thinking involved in the way its body has been styled, but the word eccentric has been used many times, even by Musk himself. He agrees that because of its appearance, the pickup may not attract as many buyers as their Models S, and X. One of its design inspirations is the Lotus Esprit submersible car seen in the James Bond movie – the Spy who loved me.
At the launch, Musk and his team also demonstrated how their latest offering is tougher than any of its production rivals, by taking a sledgehammer to its body and glass areas. Upon several blows, the window on the truck did shatter but did not allow the hammer to go through. On the other hand, the body showed no visible signs of damage at all. Musk furthered his claim that the pickup will also be bulletproof and be able to withstand bullets up to 9 mm in diameter. The three motors all-wheel-drive option is capable of doing zero to hundred kilometres in just under 3 seconds.
Production is scheduled to start sometime in the late 2021 and more variants would be offered in 2022. The location is yet to be finalised and though their factory in California seems like a probable choice, it is more likely to host the upcoming model Y’s facilitation.
Just two days after the reveal, Musk tweeted that the company had already received over a hundred and forty thousand pre-orders for the truck, with a majority of interested buyers opting for the dual and triple motor variants. The company is charging a very small pre-booking amount of hundred US dollars, which can be paid on the company’s website.
Though it’s still nearly three years before we see the Cybertruck on roads, it will be interesting to see what new waves its introduction will bring to the global pickup truck market.