Tesla ‘Cybertruck’ Unveiled

  • Jeff Sabatini has written for many publications over his 20 years in automotive journalism, including Car and Driver, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Sports Car Market magazine. His lifetime car churn includes 30 vehicles: eight GM cars, five Ford products, four Toyotas, three BMWs, two Jeeps, two Chrysler minivans, a Miata, a Mercedes, a Porsche, a Saab, a Subaru, and a Volkswagen.

can be reached at jeffsab@gmail.com
  • Jeff Sabatini has written for many publications over his 20 years in automotive journalism, including Car and Driver, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Sports Car Market magazine. His lifetime car churn includes 30 vehicles: eight GM cars, five Ford products, four Toyotas, three BMWs, two Jeeps, two Chrysler minivans, a Miata, a Mercedes, a Porsche, a Saab, a Subaru, and a Volkswagen.

can be reached at jeffsab@gmail.com
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Looking like it just rolled out of a high school shop class, the Tesla “Cybertruck” was introduced shortly after the conclusion of the Los Angeles Auto Show media preview. Tesla has started taking $100 deposits on its latest model, which has a base price of just under $40,000, but won’t begin production for two more years.

  • The Cybertruck has a stainless steel body, not unlike the infamous DeLorean DMC-12, which, of course, starred in Back to the Future.
  • Tesla says the top-of-the-line version, with a three-motor all-wheel-drive system, will have a range of more than 500 miles.
  • If its quoted 0-60 mile-per-hour time of less than 2.9 seconds is accurate, the Cybertruck would be the quickest production pickup, ever.
  • Tesla says the truck can tow over 14,000 pounds and has a payload capacity of 3,500 pounds.
  • Tesla pickup buyers will have to wait until at least late 2021 for the base model and late 2022 for the top-of-the-line version with the three-motor system.

Tesla Cybertruck
The Tesla Cybertruck breaks entirely with Tesla’s design ethos, adopting an industrial look that’s a byproduct of its stainless steel body panels. (Image: Tesla)

The rest of the details

Although Tesla didn’t release full specifications of its pickup, it did provide further information about what to expect when a final production version arrives. The Cybertruck will have seating for six – three across in both the front and rear seats. The interior will feature a 17-inch, center-mounted touchscreen, with a minimalist design similar to the Model 3. Storage capacity will total 100 cubic feet, essentially as much as a typical car’s interior, with locking bins in the front trunk, bed (which Tesla is calling the “vault”) and pillars. And that bed/vault will be 6.5 feet long.

Tesla Cybertruck
A quasi-bench seat up front gives the Tesla Cybertruck seating for six. (Image: Tesla)

Three models

Tesla is taking orders for three different versions of the Cybertruck. The base model has rear drive and a 250-mile range and starts at $39,900. The two-motor, all-wheel-drive model – similar to the powertrain layout in today’s Tesla models – bumps up the range to 300 miles and costs an extra $10,000. Choosing the middle model also ups the performance, dropping the 0-60-mph time from 6.5 seconds to 4.5 and increasing towing capacity from 7,500 pounds to 10,000.

The top model costs $69,900. For that $20,000 jump in price you get the three-motor drivetrain with the best performance stats and that huge towing figure, and also the 500-mile range. For $7,000 extra, buyers can add “full self-driving” to any model, despite the fact that this vaporware technology does not yet exist. Notably absent from Tesla’s introduction were details about the size of the battery packs or the output of the electric motors in any of the versions of the Cybertruck.
Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck. (Photo: Micah Muzio)

WHY THIS MATTERS

Trucks and SUV’s account for more than half the vehicles sold in the U.S. Pickups, in particular, have been a license to print money for domestic carmakers, and a segment that foreign companies have struggled to crack. Tesla clearly wants to reach out beyond the traditional sedan market as it attempts to grow from a niche startup to a full-blown, profitable automaker. But it will have to act fast, as GM has said it will be putting an EV truck into production soon, as are others.


About the Author

  • Jeff Sabatini has written for many publications over his 20 years in automotive journalism, including Car and Driver, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Sports Car Market magazine. His lifetime car churn includes 30 vehicles: eight GM cars, five Ford products, four Toyotas, three BMWs, two Jeeps, two Chrysler minivans, a Miata, a Mercedes, a Porsche, a Saab, a Subaru, and a Volkswagen.

can be reached at jeffsab@gmail.com
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