pickup truck Elon Musk promised finally arrived in late 2019, shocking the world with its unconventional design. Called Cybertruck, the company suggests with its usual modesty that it’s a vehicle with ‘better utility than a truck, with more performance than a sports car’, but almost two years since its reveal, it’s still yet to begin production.
Though company CEO Elon Musk previously hinted at first deliveries in 2021, a recent update to the online configurator now points towards a production start in 2022. Though no precise date was provided, Tesla confirmed during its Q2 2021 financial report that Cybertruck is ‘...currently planned for Austin production subsequent to
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If most pickups are a trio of boxes, the Cybertruck is more like a high concept house from an episode of Grand Designs. There’s not a curve in sight, and you get the impression Musk would have made the tyres polygonal if he could, but if you’ve grown weary of the brand’s smooth but generic shapes so far then the Cybertruck is definitely a wake-up call.
Tesla claims enormous structural strength and longevity from the chassis too – the body is formed from stainless steel (best known in the automotive sphere from the DeLorean, but also a material Musk is using in SpaceX’s Starship rocket). Corrosion resistance is obviously a plus, but Tesla’s claim that it helps eliminate dents seems more dubious – particularly given the armoured windows smashed during a demonstration at the car’s reveal.
It also remains to be seen how the truck fares aerodynamically or in crash testing, but contrary to its appearance in profile the Cybertruck does indeed conceal a proper load bed, with 6.5 feet of length and 100 cubic feet of capacity (including the frunk), and the ability to roll a shutter over the whole bed to conceal smaller items.
Tesla also says the truck has a 3500lb payload capacity (around 1.6 metric tons), and 14,000lb towing capacity, or 6350kg in the highest-spec, three-motor model.
As that suggests, there are different motor options in the Cybertruck, with an entry-level rear-wheel-drive, single-motor variant, an all-wheel drive, two-motor model, and the range-topping tri-motor. Range is quoted as 250+, 300+ and 500+ miles respectively, and while no power outputs are quoted, the performance figures give a reasonable indication of the truck’s ability – the single-motor model is claimed to reach 60mph from rest in under 6.5sec, the dual motor under 4.5sec and the tri-motor sub-2.9sec.
While a truck that can accelerate that quickly seems like overkill, Tesla’s previous demonstrations with its upcoming electric lorry show the main benefit of that much easily accessible power and torque is the ability to accelerate quicker when pulling heavy loads. Tesla says the low centre of gravity – a virtue of its skateboard-style battery placement – helps traction, another significant factor in towing.
Unladen though, the truck probably feels quite remarkable, particularly given its size and the ability to seat six passengers. The interior carries on Tesla’s recent work – that controversial yoke-style wheel from the
updated Model S
and a tablet-style 17-inch central touchscreen are really all you get.
The pricing seems quite reasonable given the truck’s listed capabilities though, with a quoted figure of $39,900 for the base model and $69,900 for the tri-motor. Right-hand drive and UK pricing are unconfirmed, but UK buyers can put down a £100 deposit to secure their place in the lengthy queue.
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