It was easy to miss: as Tesla fired up its live stream event for the unveil of its latest electric vehicle on Friday, the Model Y SUV, astute viewers captured a glimpse of CEO and founder Elon Musk’s pet Project, the futuristic electric pickup (or, in Australia – ute).
It was such a fleeting glimpse that Musk went to lengths to ensure that legions of followers on social media channels got another tease of the image, sharing it on Twitter shortly after the finale of the Model Y live stream.
The image doesn’t give anything away other than an angular, LED-lit bonnet – or is it the tray?
One thing is for sure: Musk has made it his mission to create a “next level” electric pickup, for which he first took to Twitter to canvas fans’ wish-lists in July 2018.
Referencing sci-fi cult movie Bladerunner, Musk has previously said the ute’s design would be “really futuristic like cyberpunk”.
About a minute in, we flashed a teaser pic of Tesla cyberpunk truck pic.twitter.com/hLsGsdyuGA
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 16, 2019
“I’m personally super-excited by this pickup truck,” Musk said in an interview last November. “This will be heart-stopping. It stops my heart. It’s like, oh, it’s great.”
Perhaps not your average tradie’s ute, but that hasn’t stopped one fan creating a rendered version of what he thinks the Tesla ute will look like:
It’s angular, boxy and with heaps of room in the back – and, of course, the “frunk” (front trunk), that bonus space electric vehicles often get thanks to the lack of combustion engine, and batteries laid in the base of the vehicle instead of under the bonnet.
The render image also shows the ability to flip down the front, much in the same way as a ute at the back – clever thinking.
As the creator of the render told Inside EVs, “I feel like if Tesla wants to be taken seriously in the highly competitive American truck market they need to come up with a design that not only looks like a Tesla, but is also rugged and bold looking.”
It’s a great render, but might be too conservative if previous comments by Musk last year are anything to go by, because apparently he’s not worried if Tesla doesn’t sell that many: “You know, I actually don’t know if a lot of people will buy this pickup truck or not, but I don’t care.”
When will Tesla finally unveil the Tesla ute, you may ask? More than likely within a few months, according to Musk.
“We might be ready to unveil that this summer – it will be something quite unique, not like anything else,” he said Tesla’s Q4 2018 earnings call earlier this year.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.