Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has confirmed that the full-sized Cybertruck electric ute will come to Australia after all – as long as it passes Australian vehicle regulations.
As The Driven reported on Wednesday, Musk indicated at the company’s Battery Day that the Cybertruck, which has polarised views since it was unveiled in 2019, was being made primarily for the US market, and that a smaller “wolverine” version may be made for other markets.
Its over-sized proportions have been criticised for not being able to fit in a garage by some, but if crowd-sourced reservation data as well as public commentary on in Australia the Cybertruck is anything to go by, this hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for the angular, “cyberpunk” electric ute (which is better known as a pickup in the US).
So much so that one Twitter user took to the social media channel on Sunday to ask Musk if he would consider bringing the original Cybertruck to Australian shores “in all its glory”.
“We really wish to have the OG Cybertruck in all its glory here in Australia and not a smaller one please,” said Tesla owner and vlogger “Tesla in the Gong”.
“If it passes Australian regulations, then sure,” said Musk.
If it passes Australian regulations, then sure
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2020
The answer drew a lot of positive reactions from many Tesla followers although we should note the significance of Musk’s caveat is “if it passes regulations”.
If the Cybertruck does make it to Australia, it may well prove to have a loyal audience. Combined, 4×2 and 4×4 utility vehicles account for 20% of the Australian vehicle market and outsell the most popular segment, medium-sized SUVs.
The Cybertruck is currently available for pre-order in many countries including Australia, where a $A150 refundable deposit may be placed via Tesla’s website.
While there is no pricing set for the Australian market, it is available in three options, including a $US69,900 ($A99,163 converted) tri-motor variant, a $US49,990 ($A70,826 converted) dual-motor variant (both of these being all-wheel drive) and a $US39,990 ($A56,658 converted) rear single motor, rear-wheel drive variant.
But whether or not the Cybertruck is allowed into Australia will depend on if it passes Australian design rules (known as ADRs).
These are rules set by the Australian government that are used to assess whether a vehicle meets safety, environmental and anti-theft performance standards.
As noted by James Goodwin, former boss of vehicle safety firm ANCAP, the Cybertruck’s angular steel structure may also have trouble passing occupant safety rules, if the steel exoskeleton does not allow for crumple zones to absorb the impact of a collision.
Tesla does have a good track record with the safety firm, with all three of its vehicles that are available in Australia being rated with the top rating of five stars.
The Model S, Model X and Model 3 all gained five starts from ANCAP, however while adult occupant protection and driver assist were rated above 90% for both the Model 3 and Model X (the Model S was tested before these categories were published by ANCAP), it rated lower for child occupant protection and vulnerable road users.
Vulnerable road user protection was rated at 72% for the Model X and 74% for the Model 3. However despite this lower rating all three models passed with flying colours.
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.