Tesla Pickup Arrives in November, Still Sounds Insane
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.
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