When Elon Musk presents Tesla’s all-electric pickup (or rather, ute in Australia) in November, the auto world may just get a bit more than it bargained for.
We’ve been keeping tabs on the developments around Musk’s pet electric ute project since he first mused to the Twitterverse about what tweeps may like to see in such a vehicle, but as the big reveal day dawns closer, Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has dropped one more juicy tidbit on the electric ute’s design.
He’s also made up a new moniker for the electric ute, which, it has been rumoured, may ultimately be called the Model B (completing the tongue-in-cheek B S3XY range of Tesla’s model names), and for which there have been numerous renders as people try to fathom what the rumoured “cyberpunk” vehicle will look like.
It’s official: Musk said on Monday afternoon (Australian time) that the Tesla “cybertruck” will be unlike anything the Tesla CEO has seen in renders doing the internet rounds, and that it will be more like a “armored personnel carrier from the future“.
Cybertruck doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen bouncing around the Internet. It’s closer to an armored personnel carrier from the future.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 14, 2019
So, basically, an all-electric, zero emissions, battle taxi.
What on earth will it actually look like, then? All we’ve seen of official images of the cybertruck (that’s what we’re going to go with until further notice, thanks Elon) is a rather angular bonnet (or tray it’s hard to tell) as a glimpse at the start of Tesla’s Model Y unveil in March.
This one image sparked a thunderstorm of renders from designers overflowing with creative juices, but apparently none of these have come even close to Musk’s futuristic vision.
The most “out there” one to date has to be this render from one Erwin Meye, a crazy outlandish combination of trayback and a whole heap of roof glass.
But even that doesn’t actually incorporate the angular bonnet we’ve seen from Tesla so far, and frankly even with the sloping front roof is way to conventional for what Musk seems to have in mind.
Perhaps it will fill the gap left by GM’s Hummer monster truck (although there are rumours GM may be planning to fill that gap with an electric version of the Hummer itself).
Whatever form the cybertruck ultimately ends up taking, the fact that Tesla is planning to put this on the market for under $US50,000 ($US73,860 converted) means it will be priced favourably against the likes of top of the line fossil-fuelled F-150s.
There are several movers and shakers out there also developing electric pickups/utes, such as Ford which is working on a hefty electric F-150, and Michigan-based startup Rivian (backed by Ford, Amazon and Cox Automotive) with its electric R1T ute and R1S SUV, for which it is planning to start pricing at $US72,000 ($A106,350 converted) or thereabouts.
While Australia shares a love for bulky utes and vehicles much like the US, perhaps the real question here is, which one will save Australia’s tradies?
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.