Elon Musk has finally unveiled his long awaited Blade Runner-inspired “Cybertruck”, or Tesla ute, and divided opinion among the Tesla community with a “literally bullet proof” armoured personnel carrier of the future.
The much anticipated Tesla truck has been a pet project of Musk’s since 2012, and that much was evident in the live stream of the flashy launch, which was beamed across the inter web from Los Angeles on Thursday night, local time.
The design of the Cybertruck – first teased in March of this year – has been talked up by Musk as hyper-futuristic to the point that it might not be to most peoples’ taste. And at first look, he was not kidding.
“It doesn’t look like anything else,” Musk said, after the Cybertruck was driven onto stage and futuristic leather-clad beings poured out of the vehicle like clowns out of a mini.
And it really doesn’t. A jarring pyramid shape, it looks more like a space tank, ready for war in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, than a pick-up. It is even made of the same materials as one of his space-craft.
We learn that it is made of 30x cold-rolled stainless steel, the strength of which is demonstrated by a man called Franz, whom Musk invites on stage to hit the panels with a sledgehammer, to no effect. It is also shown (via video this time) to be “literally bullet proof” to a 9mm hand gun.
“When we say something is built tough, that’s what me mean,” Musk told an obligingly awe-struck crowd of mostly media.
The demonstration of the “transparent metal glass” does not go quite as well (as you can see in the image below).
But to the important parts: range and price.
Musk says there will be three versions of the Cybertruck, which people can order now, starting at roughly the same price as the Model 3, at $US39,990. That price offers a single motor, AWD with a 258 mile (415km) range and a top speed of just under 180km/h, and gets from 0-100kms in 6.5 seconds.
— Tesla (@Tesla) November 22, 2019
For another $US10,000, you get a dual motor and a 300 mile range. For $US69,900 you get tri-motor AWD, 800 kilometres of range, and almost double the tow rating of the cheapest version, at 14,000 lbs. So that might not ruin the weekend.
On performance, a video is shown of the Cybertruck dragging off a Porsche 911, presumably demonstrating the top of the range model’s draw-dropping acceleration from 0-100km in 2.9 seconds. The base model Cybertruck can get to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds.
Proportionately, Musk says the ute is roughly the same size (length, width, height) as a Ford F-150 – and in another video, we see the Cybertruck beating an F-150 in a tug of war.
On towing capabilities, the base model Cybertruck has a 7,500 lbs payload, the top model 14,000lbs.
And did we mention that the ute’s tray can fit a quad bike?
Other specs include on-board power outlets for 110 volts and 220 volts. “The truck is literally a generator,” Musk said. And there’s also an on-board air-compressor, thanks to the truck’s “dynamic air suspension.”
To place an order, all that’s required is a $US100 deposit. Reports are Australian fans will have to wait until 2022,23 to get their hands on one, though.
As for the reaction of the Tesla masses, this was divided.
An audience of Tesla owners and fans on an Australian chat group speculated over whether the truck was a fake (it was not, as Musk later said Tesla would be offering rides in it all night) and would be followed by the “real design.”
“Anyone else speechless,” said one. “What a disaster,” said another. “I’m still in disbelief,” said yet another. And from someone else, “Rivian must be laughing.”
Others, however, were impressed: “Absolutely sensational.”
— TeslaPA (@AdamCabon) November 22, 2019
“Awesome, so awesome,” said another. “I just ordered one. Land Rover defender properly replaced. It’ll last forever. A new paradigm in ownership.”
He later added: “Four of my mates have just ordered one.” Tradies all, and that will be the market that Musk is clearly targeting, with the concept and the design, and the total cost of ownership (utes are usually leased), which he made a key reference to (see image below).
And on that front – creating new paradigms, even for tradies – Musk rarely disappoints.
As he said at the start of the presentation, “We need something different, and we need sustainable energy now… and we have to have a (sustainable) pick-up truck.”