Tesla Cybertruck goes on sale with 850PS ‘Cyberbeast’ flagship

01st December 2023
Ethan Jupp

It’s been a long road for what will no doubt be known as the ultimate meme car of this – and last – decade. Of course we’re talking about the Tesla Cybertruck and any Tesla superfan who wants to puff up their chest at that description should remember Mr Musk would probably take that as a compliment… 

Regardless, he and his company have done what was thought to be impossible, taking this jarring, strange, stainless steel-bodied piece of sci-fi from rendering to production reality. Though all isn’t quite as was promised, as even some of Tesla’s most famous evangelists are admitting. Then again, those promises were made many years and many global crises ago. Let’s break it down.


Tesla Cybertruck: Prices way up across the board, performance on point

Let’s talk about price. Everything is circa 20 per cent more expensive than it was three years ago, and that’s a reality even the Cybertruck can’t quarter-mile its way out of. 

So yes, the base model (which won’t arrive until 2025, we might add), has risen from $39,900 to $60,990. The dual-motor has jumped from $49,900 to a hefty $79,990 (coming 2024) and the range-topping ‘Cyberbeast’ as it’s now known, with three motors, starts from $99,990, up from $69,900. So yes, all prices have risen by between $20,000 and $30,000.

For reference, Ford F-150 Lightning prices undercut those of the Tesla for the most part. The entry-level standard-range ‘Pro’ (designed for tradespeople) starts at $49,995, undercutting the single-motor Cybertruck by more than $10,000. The next rung-up XLT, with an extended range battery (to deliver Tesla-rivaling range) is $69,995, again undercutting the dual-motor Tesla by just under $10,000.

Of course, Covid and other world events have played their part, but it also comes down to the sheer size of the task of getting this thing into production, the difficulty of which Elon Musk has not been shy about. In a call to analysts and investors in October, Musk admitted Tesla had “dug its own grave” with the Cybertruck, saying that such “special products that come along once in a while are just incredibly difficult to bring to market, to reach volume, to be prosperous”.

Don’t worry though, it’s as quick as promised, with the Cyberbeast getting from 0-60mph in 2.6 seconds. Likewise, the dual-motor will do it in 4.1, while the single-motor will manage 6.5. The performance of the Cyberbeast was a point Musk chose to prove by racing it against a Porsche 911, while also towing a Porsche 911. A fun gimicky video no doubt.


Tesla Cybertruck range – 500 miles a fantasy but range extender optional

What isn’t as clear cut, is what Tesla has and hasn’t delivered in terms of range promises, with some marks missed and some exceeded. The single-motor is set to hit its 250-mile target for range, while the dual-motor is claimed to exceed it, rising to 340 miles from the initial 300 promised. 

The tri-motor, however, will not be hitting its 500-mile range promise, with the non-range-extended version (explanation coming, don’t worry) good for only 320 miles. All Cybertrucks use the same 120kWh+ battery.

Yes yes, the range extender. No, Tesla isn’t about to offer a small rotary engine in the nose of the Cybertruck borrowed from Mazda to boost the range. Instead, buyers of the Cybertruck with the range extender will get an extra battery pack, that takes up around a third of the load bed, and is “meant for very long trips or towing heavy things up mountains”. 

It’ll boost the 340-mile dual-motor to over 470 miles and the 320-mile Cyberbeast to over 440 miles. Still not the 500 first promised but, getting there. And you’ll sacrifice some practicality for the privilege, although Musk claims there’s “still room for plenty of cargo”. Figures for the single-motor are TBA and the price overall is $16,000.


Tesla Cybertruck: 1,000kW charging, towing and other key specs

Yes, it’s claimed the Cybertruck will charge as fast as the Tesla Semi at 1,000kW or 1Mw. Tesla has previous in pushing mega charging speeds, so while it sounds pie-in-the-sky, not to mention the slight issue that no current Supercharger can actually feed the thing, we don’t doubt the claim. Especially given the Cybertruck is the first Tesla to use an 800-volt powertrain architecture. Incidentally, it also now uses 48-volt system electronics. Both yield enormous savings in terms of wiring material use.

What about towing? A thorny subject when it comes to EVs, though as above, Elon will rebut by offering you a range extender. In terms of max capacity, the dual-motor is good for 5,000kg, up 450kg on the initial promise, while the Cyberbeast can also only manage 5,000kg, down 1,350kg compared to the 6,350kg capacity it was first announced with.

There are no towing figures for the single-motor yet. The covered rear load bay has a capacity of 1,134kg, which would add to the already fairly significant three-tonne+ weight of the Cybertruck on its own.

As Tesla’s first actual off-roader, it’s no surprise a bit was made of its capabilities. So yes, the Cybertruck sports 17 inches of ground clearance and rides on 35-inch all terrain tyres. There’s four inches of adjustment at each corner thanks to air suspension and, hiding in the underfloor away from protrusions on the ground on which it could beach, are locking differentials. It is quite long, though, so like most American pickups not on a ludicrous lift, we’re not expecting a great breakover angle capability.

The steering is entirely by wire – using motors on the wheels controlled by the wheel with force feedback, instead of a conventional rack and rods – with triple redundant sensors to make it almost totally fail-safe. Speaking of the steering, no, that's not quite a round wheel, but it's not a yoke either. On the inside, those familiar with Tesla should be surprised by minimalism and a monolithic central screen.

Is the Tesla Cybertruck actually bulletproof? 

The entire truck is made of a Tesla-designed steel alloy that’s corrosion-resistant and doesn’t need paint, with an exoskeleton that’s more torsionally rigid than a McLaren P1, but total bulletproof capability isn’t quite on the menu. While the demonstration film Musk played at the handover event showed the doors being shot at, resistance to .45” and 9mm rounds probably begins and ends with the doors.

It certainly doesn’t extend to the glass, which of course famously and unexpectedly smashed in the first reveal video. During the retest at the reveal event, the metal ball that was first used had curiously been swapped out for a bouncy ball… So no, it’s not quite time to swap in that 7 Series High Protection just yet.


Can you have one?

If you’re in the UK or Europe, not really. Tesla up to this point has been a maker of global cars. The Cybertruck breaks that streak because, unsurprisingly, that body and construction is entirely not compatible with European vehicle safety laws. You really don’t want to be hit by this thing as a pedestrian. The usual channels will no doubt drip feed them into the UK as grey imports but the Cybertruck is not a car Tesla can distribute to you directly in the UK. Again, there’s being a doubter or a ‘hater’ and then there’s just facing reality…

All in all? Not the flop many were expecting, we suspect. Tesla claims it has more than a million orders still for the Cybertruck, and even with the hiked prices people have paid a lot more for cars with the express purpose of getting papped on Instagram.

Your thoughts, as ever, are welcome in the comments…

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