Inside Electric Vehicles - November 22nd, 2019

Inside Electric Vehicles (Nov 22nd, 2019)

SPECIAL EDITION: Everything You Need To Know About The Tesla Cybertruck


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Hi all, 

Today, we are dedicating a special issue of Inside Automotive to last night's unveiling of the Tesla Cybertruck. Enjoy! 

- Johan

Follow me on Twitter here

Last night, Tesla held its Cybertruck unveiling at its design studio in Los Angeles. The Cybertruck is the company’s first electric pickup truck, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk had previously described as having a “really futuristic-like cyberpunk Blade Runner” design.

From the social media reaction, it seems that the Cybertruck raised some eyebrows (see below for more). The Cybertruck definitely does not look like a conventional pickup truck. During the webcast, I noticed the audience went noticeably silent when the vehicle rolled out on the floor.

One Twitter user, @Topl_NickE, sent a tweet that best described the vehicle’s design, sharing a picture of the vehicle and adding: “When a DeLorean and an El Camino love each other very much.”

Ed Boon, the co-creator of "Mortal Kombat," tweeted that as a non-truck driver, his brain is still processing the Cybertruck. 

Musk said the vehicle's design was partly inspired by the Lotus Esprit, the submarine car from the 1977 film, "The Spy Who Loved Me." Musk owns the prop from the film and had it on display the Cybertruck event. 

The vehicle’s specifications: Tesla CEO Elon Musk said there would be three different models of the Cybertruck. He said the Cybertruck offers better utility than a truck and better performance than most sports cars. Musk touted the vehicle’s off-road capabilities, saying the Cybertruck was equipped with adaptive air suspension and up to 16 inches of ground clearance.

The vehicle will start at $39,900, which he said priced competitively with other entry-level pickup trucks. All vehicles can add the company’s “Full Self-Driving” package for $7,000. Here are the different variants of the vehicle: 

  • Single-motor RWD [rear-wheel drive]: The model starts at $39,900. The vehicle will be capable of driving 250 miles on a single charge. It will be able to tow 7,500 pounds and can go 0 to 60 mph in less than 6.5 seconds.
  • Dual-motor AWD [all-wheel drive]: This model starts at $49,900. The vehicle will be capable of going over 300 miles on a single charge. It will be capable of towing 10,000 pounds and can go 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds.
  • Tri-motor AWD [all-wheel drive]: This model starts at $69,900. The vehicle will be capable of going over 500 miles on a single charge. It will also be capable of towing 14,000 pounds and can go 0 to 60 mph in less than 2.9 seconds. This vehicle will be powered by the company’s upcoming “Plaid” powertrain.

Interested buyers can put down a $100 fully-refundable deposit to pre-order the vehicle. The company said buyers will be able to configure the vehicle as production nears in 2021. Production of the “tri-motor AWD”, which will likely be the first model to roll off the factory, will begin in late 2022.

When compared to other EV pickup trucks that are expected to land in the marketplace, Tesla's Cybertruck is priced very competitively. Rivian's R1T is expected to retail for $69,000, which is the same cost for a "Tri-motor AWD" version of the Cybertruck. 

The exterior: The Cybertruck’s shape could be best described as a modified trapezoid. The company touted the durability of the vehicle. Tesla said the vehicle is practically bulletproof, as it uses “ultra-hard 30x cold-rolled” stainless steel. During the keynote, Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen took a sledgehammer to the vehicle’s body. It did not leave a dent. The company said the stainless steel frame will eliminate dents and damage, while also increasing safety.

One snafu that happened during the keynote was when Von Holzhausen threw a metallic ball to the vehicle’s “Armor Glass” windows. The window shattered. Musk jokingly said, “We’ll fix that in post.” The company said its “Armor Glass” windows can absorb and redirect impact force.

During the keynote, the company also teased out potential extensions for the vehicle, much like ones that will also be offered by Rivian. One of them was a tent that sat comfortably within the truck’s pickup bed and an added kitchen, which one Twitter user called “the self-driving post-apocalyptic kitchen of tomorrow, today.” The other was an adjoining trailer. The company did not offer additional details on those extensions.

The vehicle will offer 110V and 220V outlets, lockable storage and an onboard air compressor.

The interior: The vehicle seats six passengers. The company also said there would be additional storage under the second row of seats. The vehicle, matching the design of the Model 3, only features one vertical 17-inch touchscreen in the center console. The touchscreen is mounted to what appears to be a marble slab, but The Verge’s Sean O’Kane said it felt more like foam when he touched it. He also said the interior was quite spacious. 

The ATV surprise: Toward the end of the keynote, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said: “We also made an ATV.” That’s when the company showed off a futuristic-appearing electric off-road vehicle, dubbed the "Cyberquad." The ATV was loaded into the back of the Cybertruck and was plugged in to charge using one of the vehicle’s onboard outlets. Musk said on Twitter that the Cyberquad will initially be offered as an option to buyers of the Cybertruck. 

Social media reaction: Twitter went wild. Some thought the Cybertruck unveil was a "joke" and were waiting for a more traditional pickup truck to be unveiled. Musk responded by sharing a social media post of the truck, saying “Nobody *expects* the Cybertruck.”

The Cybertruck was widely compared to two different vehicles last night: The Pontiac Aztek and “The Homer,” a reference to a concept car developed by Homer Simpson in the episode “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Your take: What do you think about the Cybertruck? I want to publish all your reactions in next week’s newsletter. Please hit reply and tell me your thoughts. Was this what you expected? Will this be successful?

I know I have definitely warmed up to the design the more I have looked at it. Come on, did we really expect Tesla to come out with anything traditional?

This newsletter was written and curated by Johan Moreno. Johan is based out of Los Angeles, CA and has covered technology and automotive extensively for a variety of publications, including Forbes and The Orange County Register. Follow him on Twitter @dudejohan

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