Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has been sighted out in LA driving the Tesla Cybertruck, presumably the same prototype that the visionary entrepreneur unveiled to the world in November.
The Cybertruck, which has been spotted multiple times by several different sources, has been in the media spotlight since its late-November launch – not least because of its rule-breaking, polygonal exoskeleton design.
An early sighting that was filmed in the week after the launch had many (including us!) wondering if it was actually the real thing.
Now, numerous further sightings have emerged of the Cybertruck, which is already available for pre-order and will cost between $US39,990 ($A58,516 converted) for a single motor version, $US49,900 ($A73,149 converted) for a dual motor and $US69,990 ($A102,415 converted) for a tri-motor.
Tesla CEO @elonmusk took a ride of the CyberTruck like a BOSS ????
Wait… He is the BOSS ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/GUJUrz4xDy
— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) December 8, 2019
It’s not surprising – if you’re going to make your dream electric utility truck, you may as well make it your own personal ride.
The sightings are the first time the public has really been given a glimpse of what it might be like having this absolute unit of an electric machine on public roads.
Its polygonal design gives the impression of dwarfing other vehicles on the road, most strikingly highlighted by a sighting (below) near Los Angeles airport on Sunday.
But in fact, the 5.88 metre-long Cybertruck is about the same size as an F-150, which can range up to 6.35 metres long as Extreme Tech points out.
Aside from its sheer size, its presence on the streets of LA is now an unforgettable reminder of the disruption by electric cars that is taking hold in the west coast state, where about 50% of all the electric vehicles in the US are registered.
Cybertruck in the wild near LAX pic.twitter.com/E4FW4KCkgS
— codysimms (@codysimms) December 8, 2019
As for the questions about whether the vehicle is roadworthy, it has been noted that the Cybertruck is sporting manufacturer’s plates – meaning that while it is not yet certified for public use on roads, it can be used if testing.
Whether or not Musk can claim driving the Cybertruck to dinner is technically testing remains unclear, but the fact it is being driven on public roads suggests that there is no cause for concern around apparently missing features such as rear vision mirrors, and window wipers.
In fact, we already know that Tesla may plan to make the Cybertruck in different dimensions and with different specifications according to requirements of overseas markets. As the EV maker states on its website, “Global specifications will be developed at a later date based on demand.”
When that will happen for Australia is yet to be confirmed (although orders are already being taken locally). However, it does appear that Tesla is already fast tracking the tri-motor version, for which it has reportedly taken around 40% of orders.
Originally, at the Cybertruck launch in November the single and dual motor versions were slated for a late 2021 launch with the tri-motor slated for 2022.
Now, on Tesla’s pre-order page for the Cybertruck, these dates have been altered:
Single Motor RWD: “You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in late 2021. Single Motor RWD production is expected to begin in late 2022.”
Dual Motor AWD: “You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in late 2021. Dual Motor AWD production is expected in late 2021.”
Tri Motor AWD: “You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in late 2021. Tri Motor AWD production is expected in late 2021.”
And so, while we wait patiently for 2021 to arrive, we will leave you with this video of the Cybertruck passing a Ford F-150 on Saturday night (US time).
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.