Tesla Pickup Arrives in November, Still Sounds Insane

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

No one really expected electric pickup trucks to take off as a concept, save for the people developing them. While EVs still need to improve their maximum range to truly surpass combustion-reliant vehicles, modern examples perform much better than their predecessors. But battery size and vehicle weight remain important issues for the segment, making the idea of an electric work vehicle seem about as useful as an edible diaper.

Then the concepts started arriving, sucking far less than most of us expected. There were loads of new ideas, like interesting storage solutions and auxiliary power ports for tools — all stemming from electrification. What’s more is that the vehicle itself seems like it could benefit from the instant torque and lower center of gravity furnished by electric powertrains. Battery packs can also be made larger (improving range), as pickups have more areas to stash cells without intruding into the passenger compartment. Maybe this wasn’t a dumb idea after all.

Ford and General Motors have both confirmed the development of electric pickups, with the former currently running prototypes. Meanwhile, Rivian and Bollinger have already shown off their designs. EV darling Tesla had a truck it wanted to debut over the summer, but the model saw its release pushed back. Now, CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the vehicle will emerge next month.

As usual, the announcement happened via Twitter — rather than through a corporately sanctioned statement. But it doubles down on Musk’s promise of a November debut for the product he’s been calling “Cybertruck.”

With new heat on the model, Elon was pressed for details. While those calls went largely ignored, there were a few tidbits he was willing to share. “Cybertruck doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen bouncing around the Internet,” Musk said of the myriad of mockups hoping to guess what form the vehicle will take. “It’s closer to an armored personnel carrier from the future.”

APCs vary quite a bit in their overall shape but are usually gigantic (in relation to passenger vehicles) with a lot of hard angles. While Cybertruck probably doesn’t need to deflect any enemy rounds, negating the purpose of angled armor, it’s assumed it’ll have a relatively aggressive shape. Musk has repeatedly noted that the truck will appear extremely modern, drawing some of its inspiration from films like Blade Runner. He’s also said the design “won’t be for everyone.”

The company’s singular teaser image (top of the page) is wildly unhelpful, as it gives nothing away. We’re not even sure what part of the vehicle Tesla’s showing, but it’s presumably a heavily photoshopped glimpse into the bed. Regardless, the company isn’t married to the styling. If the reception of the truck design isn’t terribly warm, the plan is to keep the platform and build a more traditional body around it.

Musk claims the truck will start below $50,000 and be superior to the Ford F-150 — America’s most popular pickup. “We don’t want it to be really expensive,” he previously explained. “I think it got to start at less than $50,000 — it’s got to be like $49,000 starting price max. Ideally less. It just can’t be unaffordable.”

While that doesn’t guarantee something similarly sized, it would be difficult to imagine Tesla outdoing Ford with a smaller truck. The main issue remains the vehicle’s battery capacity — something that becomes increasingly difficult to manage as a vehicle grows heavier. Fortunately, Tesla is already setting the benchmark for EV range; we don’t anticipate Cybertruck having a difficult time staying competitive in this regard.

It just needs to be built first.

[Images: Tesla]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
2 of 33 comments
  • Safeblonde Safeblonde on Oct 24, 2019

    If there is "day use" for charging tools, wouldn't that ruin the range? Or would the draw be so low as to not matter on "range-to-home".

  • Akear Akear on Oct 28, 2019

    Tesla - we make the insane possible.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.