The Tesla Cybertruck is an armoured, go‑anywhere pickup
Tesla’s power to surprise went into overdrive in the US this week with the reveal of its first pickup truck, a radically angular machine with astonishing claimed electric performance called the Cybertruck.
At the Tesla Cybertruck’s on-stage unveiling in Los Angeles on Thursday (21st November), the audience was dumbstruck by its stealth bomber-like design, by claims of 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds and a 500 mile range… And then by a live demonstration of its toughness that ended badly with the truck’s windows getting smashed.
Tesla’s first pickup for a country where big double-cab trucks like the Ford F-150 outsell regular cars, the Cybertruck is billed as having the utility of a truck and the performance of a sportscar. With armoured glass and its extreme flat-surfaced and angular body made from rolled stainless steel, Tesla says the Cybertruck majors on toughness and endurance with its “nearly impenetrable exoskeleton”. Nearly but not quite, as the backfiring demo showed…
But then the Tesla Cybertruck is still at the concept stage. Even as concepts go, it is unusual. With its origami-like lines, severe angles and flat surfaces without a curve or contour anywhere, it completely smashes the mould of vehicles like the Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram with which it would compete. Like those pickups, however, it combines a four-door double-cab body, with seats for up to six people, with a big load bed at the back.
The load bed is 2m long and able to carry a tonne and a half in its 2,800 litre (100 cubic feet) space, made secure – Tesla calls it a “vault” – by a lockable flat steel lid. A drop-down tailgate turns into a ramp up which off-road toys can be driven while the website also shows a version with the rear section converted into a camper.
Tesla says three models will be available with one, two or three motor drivetrains. The best tri-motor all-wheel-drive Cybertruck will be able to accelerate from 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, have a range on a single charge of 500 miles and be able to pull a trailer up to 6.3 tonnes, asserts the company. The trucks ride on adjustable air suspension.
It is thought Cybertruck production is still two years away but that Tesla chief Elon Musk, who was on stage at the Cybertruck’s unveiling, believes it will reach the showrooms in pretty much the form shown here. Prices in the US would range between about $40-70,000.