Tesla takes aim at the light-duty pickup truck segment with the new 2021 Cybertruck. It promises to drive harder, farther and faster than the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado 1500. The Cybertruck has an all-electric powertrain and available all-wheel drive. Those are the pluses, but it’s difficult to get past the oddly designed stainless steel exterior with pointed roof.
Elon Musk has never been shy about his love for futuristic concepts. He’s sent a Tesla Roadster into outer space and wants to send people to Mars. His latest futuristic ambition is a vehicle that seems as though it was ripped right off the pages of a cyberpunk pulp fiction magazine from the 1980s.
It’s called the Cybertruck and its goal is to merge the performance of a sports car with the utility of a heavy-duty pickup truck. The electric Cybertruck was first revealed at a wacky event in late November where Elon Musk delivered the keynote. There were lots of gimmicks on display, but people were amazed by the polarizing design, as well as the sheer power and affordability of the Cybertruck. The Cybertruck from Tesla will carry an entry cost of $39,900 for base models and is due to go into production in 2021.
Tesla Cybertruck Body Design
The Cybertruck’s exterior is an interesting blend of futuristic and retro styling. There’s a single band of LED lights in the front and one in the back for the tail lamps. Otherwise, there’s isn’t a single curved surface on the Cybertruck. Its exterior is covered with poorly placed polygons that might present real world problems for vehicle owners, especially since the majority of vehicles on the road today have flat roofs. There are also no side mirrors or windshield wipers on the Cybertruck.
The Cybertruck is built for the dystopian future when you’ll need bulletproof doors and super durable windows to get around the city. It’s got hardened glass for windshields and windows. The body is made of a single piece of dense, heavyweight, cold-rolled steel.
So, if you get into a fender bender in the Cybertruck, you can imagine the cost to replace a rear panel. In fact, there are no rear panels. It’s all one construct. On the plus side, having the frame as an exoskeleton for the entire vehicle promises a level of durability and passenger protection that will appeal to certain consumers.
There aren’t any exterior colors available from Tesla other than natural steel. There will be plenty of custom paint jobs done aftermarket, but that will obviously lower the value of the vehicle. Stainless steel is extremely difficult to paint. It seems like Tesla wants the Cybertruck to look like a science fiction prop piece whether you like it or not.
What’s Inside the Cybertruck
Initial photos of the Tesla Cybertruck’s interior look remarkably dark. That’s hard to accomplish with such a large front windshield. Front visibility should be remarkable, but the same cannot be said for the rear. Views will almost be entirely obscured by the closed truck bed cover, but that’s what rear cameras are for in the dystopian future of the Cybertruck.
It would be interesting to see custom mods that brighten up the interior with light-colored seating surfaces and plush fabrics. There are two benches, one each for the front and rear, that can seat six passengers. As with all other Tesla vehicles, the interior is rather spartan. There’s a bar counter dashboard with nothing on it except for a 17-inch touchscreen. Seats look anything but plush. However, the high-rising center angle of the frame allows for bountiful amounts of head room. There’s tons of room inside the Cybertruck because it doesn’t have a conventional ICE transmission and driveshaft tunnel.
The Tesla Cybertruck is unbelievably fast for a vehicle its size. It can go from zero to 60 MPH in just 2.9 seconds. For the sake of comparison, the much smaller Audi e-tron crossover travels from naught to 60 in 5.5 seconds. The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo does it in 3.2 seconds and it costs $191,700.
The Cybertruck has exceptional traction control and torque. There are three powertrain variants available. The rear wheel drive Cybertruck with a single motor has a 250 mile driving range and does zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds. So, as you can see, the fastest and most powerful Cybertruck won’t be the base model. The next model has dual motor all-wheel drive. You get a 300 mile driving range and slightly faster acceleration. The top tier Cybertruck comes with all-wheel drive and 3 electric motors. That’s how you get to beat the doors off tiny sports cars and enjoy 500 miles on a single full charge.
The oversized heavy duty tires of the Cybertruck are aimed squarely at off-roaders, and they’ll also like the fact that the Cybertruck has up to 16 inches of ground clearance. The Cybertruck is fast but it can also handle a beating like any other pickup truck. The suspension can be raised and lowered up to four inches front and back and has a rollout ramp for the truck bed. The manufacturer promises that the Cybertruck will have a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds and a 3,500 lb. payload.
Tesla Cybertruck Technology
Tesla’s autopilot system will come as standard on all models of the Cybertruck. When it comes to technology, the Cybertruck will have a leg up against the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram 1500. Automotive experts estimate that Tesla has a 5 to 10 year dominance in terms of electrical power and autonomous driving features. Although the manufacturer hasn’t specified exact features in this category, one can anticipate the Cybertruck will be able to park and unpark itself. Perhaps it will also be able to drive itself and change lanes on the highway like the Tesla Model X.
Summing it Up
Like it or not, Tesla’s Cybertruck will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the ugliest vehicles ever made. People tend to have unfavorable opinions of vehicles that don’t follow certain design trends. Even if you don’t like the futuristic look, you can’t deny that a powerful pickup with an electric powertrain is an ambitious foray into new automotive territory.
The most expensive Cybertruck models will carry an MSRP of $69,900. That’s relatively cheap when you consider its utility, autonomous driving functions and all-electric driving range. When put to the test against pricey Ford and Chevy full size pickup trucks, it’s difficult to imagine the Cybertruck underperforming in sales. There will be quite a few Cybertrucks on the road going forward. The only problem will be telling them apart from one another.