A first glimpse of the Tesla electric ute. Source: Twitter/Tesla
A first glimpse of the Tesla electric ute. Source: Twitter/Tesla

November couldn’t possibly get any more exciting for electric vehicle officianados and politicians out to “save the weekend”: The official launch date for Elon Musk’s pet project, the Tesla “Cyber-truck” electric pickup (aka ute in Australia) has been set for November 21.

Musk has often linked his Tesla Ute to the sci-fi film “Bladerunner”, so it’s no surprise that November, 2019, the date that the film was supposedly set, has been the inspiration for the launch of the electric ute. And the much awaited event will be held in a fortnight, early Thursday (Australian time).

Musk has also invited engineer Simone Giertz to the event, famous for being the person who couldn’t wait for the Tesla ute so made her own.

For electric vehicles, the unveil of the Tesla Cyber-truck will be one of several key events for Tesla, along with the production start next year of the mass-market Model Y electric SUV based around the highly successful Model 3.

It also comes hot on the heels of the first Volkswagen electric ID3 – which rolled off the floor at the German carmaker’s refurbished and now EV-only facility in Zwickau, and which signals the start of VW’s bid to catch up and then take the lead in electro-mobility.

According to Musk, the Cyber-truck design is along the lines of a “an armored personnel carrier from the future”. Once it is unveiled, only those with a head under a rock (or a rock for a head) could consider electric vehicles just a weak, eco-friendly choice only for snowflakes.

Of course, there are other car-makers and startups developing other electric pickups, or utes – such as Michigan’s Rivian which plans to release its rugged R1T ute along with the R1S SUV.

Then there’s Bollinger Motors, which in early October unveiled its class 3 electric trucks known as B1 and B2.

And there is also Ford, which is planning to build an all-electric F-150 at its Dearborn plant in Michigan.

But price-wise, the Cybertruck – which Musk has said will cost under $US50,000 ($A72,800 converted) – is expected to beat them all – Rivian has set a starting price of $US69,000 ($A100,300 converted) for its base model R1T, and the Bollinger range starts at a massive $US125,000 ($A182,000 converted).

Whether this lower price equates to smaller battery, so relegating the Cyber-truck to a comparative show pony rather than a serious workhorse replete with power outlets for tools and a decent range for off-road driving, remains to be seen.

Some suggest Rivian and the Bollinger are on the upper end of the engineering stakes for utes. But Musk’s product is likely to be a total wild card, and he has said that none of the renders out there referencing Bladerunner look anything like it.

We know that Musk has said he doesn’t care if nobody wants to buy it, but that seems unlikely, given the anticipation around the launch, and the expectation that many “tradies” will want their machines to go electric as much as anyone else.

Would it come to Australia? The answer to that question is not yet known, and probably won’t be known until the Model Y arrives.

 

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