Tesla Cybertruck: crazy electric pick-up will finally be delivered to customers, and soon
Tesla CEO Elon Musk admits “we dug our own grave with Cybertruck”, but deliveries will finally begin in November
Four years after the Tesla Cybertruck was revealed to the world, the first examples of the all-electric pick-up are due to be handed over to customers on 30 November, at the brand’s Giga Texas facility where the truck is being built.
When it was announced back in November 2019, the Cybertruck captured imaginations and made headlines with its polarising, angular styling and equally bold performance claims. But since then it’s also become known for numerous delays, as evidenced by the fact it was supposed to arrive in 2021.
During Tesla’s Q3 2023 financial results presentation, CEO Elon Musk admitted that “we dug our own grave with Cybertruck” and there will be enormous challenges as the brand pushes to reach volume production. But he also said “Cybertruck is one of those special products that comes along only once in a long while, and special products that come along once in a long while are just incredibly difficult to bring to market, to reach volume, to be prosperous.”
Musk added “If you want to do something radical and innovative, and something really special like the Cybertruck you have to invent, not just the car, but the way to make the car. The more uncharted the territory, the less predictable the outcome.”
Musk also maintained that Tesla will eventually be producing around 250,000 Cybertrucks per year, but doesn’t expect to reach those levels until sometime in 2025.
Despite the lengthy gestation period for Tesla’s answer to the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T, and the first example rolling off the production in July 2023, numerous technical details for the Cybertruck remain under wraps, as well as pricing. Tesla hasn’t released any pictures of the finished truck’s interior either, however the few we have seen of the Cybertruck shows the electric-car maker hasn’t wavered from its original design.
Despite concerns over pedestrian safety and the requirement to pass different vehicle laws around the world, the Cybertruck’s distinctive flat-panel design has made it to production largely unchanged from the original concept creation.
In the picture posted to celebrate the start of Cybertruck production, an army of workers that helped to build the vehicle crowded around the truck, but you can still make out its distinctive roofline and squared-off wheel arch extensions jutting out from the bodywork. The windscreen sits flush with the bonnet and uses a single vertical wiper to reduce drag, a key factor in boosting range for an electric vehicle.
Despite its brutal-looking design, the Cybertruck’s aerodynamics are actually fairly sophisticated when compared with more conventional, combustion-engine-powered pick-up trucks, particularly at the front. The continuous straight panel from the top of the windscreen to the ‘kamm tail’ rear end also helps the truck produce less turbulence than the boxy silhouette of rival trucks thanks to the faired-in load bay.
Where the Cybertruck does deviate from initial plans is in its structure. While most of the body serves as a steel exoskeleton as intended, the production Cybertruck adopts a cast aluminium section at the rear. This will be produced using an 8,000-ton "Giga Press" machine at the Texas factory.
Inside, the general architecture of the Cybertruck's cabin is heavily based on the 2019 concept and will feature a square-set, blocky dash design, plus an enormous 17-inch central touchscreen mounted in the centre of it. Tesla says the Cybertruck can “seat six comfortably”, with additional storage under the rear bench. You should also be able to fold down the front middle seat, giving those up front a central armrest and cupholders.
One of the more controversial elements of the Cybertruck’s cabin is the closed-top steering yoke, similar to the ones offered for the firm’s latest Model S and Model X. However, it’s possible that Tesla will offer a regular steering wheel as an alternative.
It's not yet known if the Cybertruck features drive-by-wire steering, which is usually better suited to a yoke-style control as the steering speed can be electronically adjusted so a driver doesn't have to take their hands off the wheel. When connected to a conventional steering rack, as in the Model S, this is not quite as simple.
Tesla Cybertruck: specs and details
When Musk first unveiled the Cybertruck to the world, he claimed the production-ready machine would offer a 6,000kg towing capacity, while the concept was also said to feature bullet proof glass. However, Musk’s attempt to prove his claims on stage went badly wrong when he smashed two windows during a demonstration of their supposed strength.
Immediately after its unveiling nearly four years ago, Musk announced on Twitter (now ‘X’) that Tesla had received more than 250,000 deposits for the new model. It's not yet known if all of these customers have been contacted, or who will receive their trucks first, but we also haven't heard of cancelled deposits and potential owners losing interest in the unique machine.
In Tesla's typically individual way when it comes to marketing, Musk also released a video showing the Cybertruck pulling a Ford F-150 – America's best-selling pick-up truck.
The Tesla boss claimed that the Cybertruck can carry a payload of up to 1,587kg and tow up to 6,350kg, while the space-age pick-up also comes with a lockable 2,832-litre load bed that can accommodate items up to 1,981mm long.
Musk promises that Tesla's first pick-up will be capable on loose surfaces too; the Cybertruck boasts 406mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 35 degrees and a departure angle of 28 degrees – which is better than a Ford F-150, arguably the Tesla's closest rival. A range of new traction control settings designed to simulate mechanical locking differentials is also promised.
Tesla Cybertruck: performance and range
The only performance stats for the Cybertruck that still appear on Tesla’s website are a 0-60mph time of as little as 2.9 seconds and a maximum range of up to 500 miles.
Tesla had previously said three versions of the stainless steel-clad pick-up would be available: single motor rear-wheel drive, dual-motor all-wheel drive and tri-motor all-wheel drive, initially priced at $39,900, $49,900 and $69,900 respectively (approximately £31,000, £39,000 and £54,000 at the time of the Cybertruck’s unveiling).
The single-motor truck was meant to have a range of over 250 miles on the America EPA test cycle – not the WLTP standard we use in Europe – go from 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 110mph. The dual-motor variant was expected to cover 300 miles on a change, hit 60mph in 4.5 seconds and top out at 120mph. The range-topping tri-motor was the one with the 500-mile range and sub-three-second 0-60mph time, plus a 130mph top speed.
At a past Investor Day presentation, Tesla announced that the Cybertruck would be the first of the firm's cars to adopt a new low-voltage 48V electronic architecture, which will also be adopted on some of the brand’s future vehicles.
Tesla Cybertruck: chassis, platform and robustness
Like the Tesla Model X, the Cybertruck rides on air suspension, which means that drivers can lower the pick-up at the rear to help when loading or unloading payload. The truck is also fitted with a retractable ramp, which was highlighted by a rebadged and rebodied Yamaha all-terrain vehicle driving across the stage at the Cybertruck's unveiling and up into the load bed, also outlining just how vast this area is.
Musk claims the Cybertruck will be the toughest pick-up on the market, thanks to a body made of ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel. Tesla’s design boss, Franz von Holzhausen, demonstrated the strength of the pick-up’s body by attempting to dent one of its doors with a sledgehammer.
The Cybertruck will also be fitted with Tesla Armour Glass – an ultra-strong polymer-layered composite, which Elon Musk described as “transparent metal.” Its on-stage demonstration at the Cybertruck's unveiling didn’t quite go to plan, however. While the bodywork stood up to the sledgehammer test, when Holzhausen threw a heavy metal ball at the pick-up’s front and rear door windows, both panes cracked. Musk admitted to the crowd that there was “room for improvement.”
As mentioned, the Tesla Cybertruck is big. It measures 5,885mm long, 2,027mm wide and 1,905mm tall, which makes it around the same size as the Supercab version of North America’s current best-selling truck, the Ford F-150.
In the time since it was revealed, the Tesla Cybertruck has not only been delayed, but several other rival EV pick-up trucks have landed, such as the aforementioned Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T, plus the GMC Hummer EV and Chevrolet Silverado EV. None of these are available in the UK however, and we don’t expect the Cybertruck to go on sale here either. The Maxus T90 EV is currently the only electric pick-up you can buy in Britain, though Isuzu is also working on one that it intends to bring to the UK.
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