Tesla reveals radical Cybertruck with 800-kilometre range

by Lawrence Allan, Autocar UK 22 Nov 2019


Tesla has stunned the pickup truck world with the unveiling of its Cybertruck, the US brand’s long anticipated first foray into the popular full-size truck market. 

Revealed at an event in Los Angeles, California – separately from the motor show – the all-electric Cybertruck is the same length (5.87m) as traditional competitors, but that’s where the similarities end. For starters, it features a radical wedge-shape design unlike anything else, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk insists isn’t far from production readiness. 

The Cybertruck’s promised spec list is equally stunning. Three powertrain options will be offered with one, two or three electric motors. The single motor, rear-drive only version is said to do 0-60mph in 6.5 secs, with no quoted battery size but a claimed range of 250 miles. It can also tow 3,400kg, with a 1360kg payload. This is said to cost from $39,900 (around Rs 28.65 lakh) before any government incentives. 

Next up is the mid-range dual-motor variant, offering all-wheel drive, a claimed 0-60mph time of 4.5sec and the ability to tow over 4,500kg. That is said to cost $49,900 (Rs 28.65 lakh) before incentives. 

The crowning glory is the top-level car, using Tesla’s latest tri-motor ‘Plaid’ EV powertrain. Priced from $69,900 (Rs 50.20 lakh), its specs include a claimed 500-mile range on a charge, 0-100kph in just 2.9sec, and the ability to complete the quarter mile in just over 10sec. The towing capacity is 6,350kg, Musk claims. 

The Cybertruck’s angular body is said to be made of “ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel”. It’s said to be bulletproof up to 9mm rounds, with Musk stressing the body’s ability to resist damage with multiple implements (including a sledgehammer) used to try to break it on stage. However, this plan backfired when Tesla’s head of design threw a metal ball at the window, with both left-side windows smashing in the process. That prompted Musk to quip: “room for improvement." 

The load bay is 6.5 feet long, the same as a standard Ford F-150, and features a raisable cover. Tesla claims over 2,800 litres of lockable storage space including the covered load bay (dubbed the ‘vault’), frank, and sail pillars. 

The Cybertruck can seat up to six adults, and was revealed in this form – it’s not yet clear whether a smaller variant will be offered. The cabin is pure Tesla - total minimalism with the dash dominated by a 17-inch tablet-style touchscreen. The steering wheel is the classic concept car joystick style, but it’s expected this will become a traditional wheel by the time it enters production. 

The truck’s suspension is an adaptive air system with adjustable ride height: Musk claims the maximum height will be 16 inches, with the ability to be adjusted up and down by four inches. 

Further spec details are yet to be revealed. Of course, the Cybertruck can make use of Tesla’s supercharger network, with the ability to charge at speeds of up to 250kW.

Production is still a fair way off: Tesla claims the base, rear-drive Cybertruck will arrive in late 2021, with the faster, pricier versions coming in 2022. A European launch of any sort is as yet unconfirmed. 

Despite the delay, the Cybertruck is likely to be one of the first electric pick-ups on sale. Rivian claims it will launch the R1T in autumn 2020, while both Ford and General Motors are promising electric versions of their trucks, but neither company has shown anything yet. 

Also read: Tesla Cybertruck design a 'PR stunt', says Automobili Pininfarina CEO

Opinion: Is the Cybertruck too extreme, too radical?