What happens when you combine utility far beyond any pickup truck, acceleration faster than most sports cars and the looks of a tank? You get the Tesla Cybertruck. Its “futurism” applied to a century old pickup design that launches this truck decades ahead of anything else and the Blade Runner theme for the Cybertruck launch was ideal given its inspiration and “other worldly” looks.
Tesla Cybertruck Design
The design of the Cybertruck is beyond unique in how it has an exoskeleton for the body instead of the typical “body on frame” design. What this does is allows the stress to be applied to what Elon calls “the skin”. Its the same way that modern planes and spaceships are manufactured. This particular design style allows the truck to make use of ultra hard stainless steel for the exoskeleton that creates the exterior body of the truck. Franz demonstrated how durable this makes the truck by smashing the door with a sledgehammer a few times during the Cybertruck reveal which left no marks.
Elon announced that this is the exact same cold rolled steel alloy that will be used to make Space X starships. Its not very often you get to drive a vehicle that’s made from the same material as a starship. Due to the strength of this material it actually makes the Cybertruck bulletproof. Tesla had a video demonstration running in the background during the reveal event comparing a 9mm bullet penetrating typical automotive steel on the right and the same caliber bullet shattering into pieces when contacting Tesla’s steel alloy on the left. You can see that in the launch event video.
Tesla Cybertruck Reveal
During the Cybertruck glass test, the stand alone glass demo went very well. They tested standard auto glass with a steel ball which shattered. Then they tested the Tesla Armored Glass with the exact same steel ball which bounced off the glass. Then comes what soon to became the Cybertruck glass meme. Franz launches a large steel ball at the actual Cybertruck window… and cracks it. This obviously wasn’t suppose to happen. They were testing the glass dozens of times before the reveal and every time it went perfectly. So what went wrong? According to Elon, he and his team think that when Franz hit the door with the sledgehammer, this weakened the glass and created micro fractures. So Franz was essentially throwing a steel ball at what was already a “broken window”. Keep in mind that had this been any other vehicle window it would have been shattered to pieces and actually gone through.
Cybertruck Storage Capacity & Utility
During the reveal, one thing that many of us may have missed was the image on the far upper right corner that showed an extra storage compartment on the upper side of the pickup bed that flips up at an angle. This is in addition to the frunk storage, the truck bed itself, storage below the bed and of course interior storage.
The Cybertruck also comes equipped with adaptive air suspension which will be useful in a variety of situations. This feature really shines during the demo of loading the Tesla ATV into the pickup bed. The suspension lowers and then tilts the truck back to get a better approach angle for loading the ATV. On top of that, the pickup tailgate drops and reveals a built in extension ramp. This is a feature motorcyclists are going to love. For electric motorcycles and ATVs that are loaded into the back during what Elon calls “load mode”, they’ll be able to recharge from the Cybertruck EV charge port located in the bed.
Cybertruck Off Roading & Interior Design
The interior design of the Cybertruck matches the angular design of the outside but has some surprising features that both techies and truck fans are going to love. There are no rear view mirrors on the truck at all. Instead, Tesla created a rear view monitor that has a live digital feed from the rear facing camera where the rear view mirror usually is. The steering wheel looks identical to the steering wheel in the new Tesla Roadster which is a $250k car. It seems out of place at first but begins to blend in to the “cyber themed” design of the vehicle. Its hard to imagine any other style of steering wheel. What would you have as the steering wheel for a truck like this?
For those of us that adore the glass roof/skylight ceiling of Tesla vehicles, the front windshield reaches just in front of the drivers head. Not quite as far back as the Model X. Behind the crossbar in the roof is another sheet of glass the extends all the way back above the rear passenger seating. This gives passengers nearly unobstructed views of the sky.
The seating in the Cybertruck is 3×3 which will make this the first Tesla vehicle with 3 seats in the front, in addition to the 3 seats in the back. This is something that many pickup truck owners are nostalgic for from the older trucks which have a front row bench seat. And the digital console for the Cybertruck is similar to the one we see on the Model 3 but larger. One of the most common, questionable design elements of the Cybertruck is the marble dashboard. From the demo truck everyone has seen no one is sure if its real marble or if that’s a customized wrap. It may be similar to how you can have carbon fiber, wood or piano black in the Tesla Model X. With the high end interior design covered, how will it perform off road?
With the torque, weight and the tri-motor or dual motor options the Cybertruck will be more than capable of off roading. The wheels, tires and tread alone are far beyond anything that any other truck could offer. Elon claims the Cybertruck could easily do the Baja, which is an off road long endurance 1,000 mile race across the Mexican desert. When they designed this vehicle they had in mind that it would be used as a vehicle on Mars. So if they designed a truck to basically be “off roading” all the time on another planet… it’s plenty capable here on Earth. The things that the off roading community are going to do to this truck, including the Baja version, are going to be a lot of fun to see customers build.
Tesla Cybertruck Camping
Similar to how Rivian posted a photo of their electric pickup truck on the beach with a tent, Tesla created a mockup of the Cybertruck camping in the woods. Something that Tesla has on the Cybertruck, that Rivian doesn’t, is the retractable solar panel cover. This is going to allow the Cybertruck to be able to recharge some of the battery power from anywhere without having to be plugged in.
Not only has Tesla created mockups of their camping version of the Cybertruck, but they’ve also posted a mockup of what appears to be a travel trailer. Its possible that this mockup may be a toy hauler but either way a travel trailer or toy hauler for the back of a Cybertruck would be a hit in the EV community. Offgrid living and camping is something that the outdoor community has been looking forward to for a long time. Tesla could make a travel trailer with solar panels on the roof combined with one of their powerwalls for off grid EV living.
Tesla Cybertruck Prices & Specifications
|Range / mi||0-60 / seconds||Top Speed mph||Tow Rating lbs||Price USD|
|Single Motor RWD||250+||6.5||110||7,500||$39,900|
|Dual Motor AWD||300+||4.5||120||10,000||$49,000|
|Tri Motor AWD||500+||2.9||130||14,000||$69,900|
In addition to the specifications regarding speed, range, price and towing, every Cybertruck comes with the following features in every model version.
|Storage Space||100 CU FT|
|Vault Length (the truck bed length)||6.5 FT|
|Adaptive Air Suspension||Standard|
|Ground Clearance||Up to 16 inches|
|Approach Angle||35 Degrees|
|Departure Angle||28 Degrees|
Future of the Tesla Cybertruck
Elon Musk had said during the Cybertruck launch that “We need sustainable energy now. If we don’t have a pickup truck we can’t solve it. The top 3 selling vehicles in America are pickup trucks. To solve sustainable energy, we have to have a pickup truck”. This is 100% true. The top 3 best selling cars in America are the Ford F-Series, the Dodge Ram and the Chevy Silverado. All of which are all fossil fuel guzzling vehicles and basically all look the same. No company has really offered any a truck design that breaks this “idea” of what a pickup truck could look like and do. This is where the Tesla Cybertruck comes in.
Tesla had received over 250,000 reservations in the first week alone for the Cybertruck and its been estimated that they have well over 500,000 pre-order reservations as of March 2020. If Tesla has 500,000+ reservations for the Cybertruck, that’s roughly $50+ million in funds that Tesla has to build the un-offically announced location of the Cybertruck factory and the Cybertruck itself. Not a bad start for an electric pickup truck not even in production yet.
It turns out that most of those pre-orders are coming from California and Texas. It was also reported that the Cybertruck factory will be built in Austin Texas where there is plenty of sun for solar power. Texas is also one of the country’s biggest buyers of pickup trucks, second to California. Its also been confirmed that Tesla has previously hired engineers from AMD in Austin Texas and already has an Autopilot engineering office established there.
Lastly, Elon Musk announced that the Tesla Cybertruck will be the official vehicle on Mars. They’ll create a pressurized version, of course, but it will be used to transport astronauts around the planet and perform various other missions. Since the Cybertruck will have autopilot they could theoretically create a “Rover Mode” and have the Cybertrucks perform survey missions when they aren’t being used. It will be interesting to see what they do with the first truck on Mars.
With the new Cybertruck manufacturing plant being built in Austin Texas, which will also be a new Gigafactory location, Tesla could not have picked a better spot to manufacture electric trucks. Texas is a state that loves its truck culture but with that comes the cost of gasoline and the environment. By creating an electric truck factory here, Tesla will create more jobs in this state, be able to help support a booming economy and help transition diesel trucks over to more sustainable electric ones.
The Tesla Cybertruck release date is expected to be in late 2021 for the dual motor AWD versions and the single motor RWD versions later in 2022. As of July 2021, the Cybertruck factory hasn’t yet finished completion so having a release date of later in the year seems a bit ambitious. As much as I would like to see them reach this goal, it would be the first time in Tesla’s history that they have an actual release date align with the expectations. All other release dates of Tesla vehicles have been a little behind in the announced production dates but is still way beyond what any other automotive manufacture is capable of at this rate.
My personal opinion is that when the Tesla Cybertruck is shipped out to customers its going to spell the end of the “traditional” pickup truck and dethrone the top 3 pickup trucks completely. The customer is getting way more for $39,000 USD, saving money over the long term and never has to buy gasoline. The Cybertruck also looks cooler, is faster than a Porsche 911 (as seen in the race video), is the only electric truck with solar panels and will most likely be way safer than any other truck on the road… aside from an actual armored truck. So why would anyone buy a pickup truck when they can have a Cybertruck that costs less and gives them more?