Tesla has unveiled in Los Angeles its much-awaited Cybertruck, the first electric pick-up truck the company has ever made. On Twitter, Musk had already disclosed a futuristic vehicle with a sci-fi inspired design, but nobody was expecting the actual truck to look so brutalist, aggressive and angular.
The Cybertruck’s launch is set for late 2021, and Tesla will offer it in three different versions with 250 miles, 300 miles and 500 miles of range. The starting price will be $39,900 for the entry-level model with 7,500 pound towing capacity and a rear-wheel drive with single motor, while specced-up version will cost $49,900 (10,000 pound towing-capacity, dual-motor AWD) and $69,900 (14,000 pound towing capacity, dual motor AWD, available in 2022). It’s not outrageously expensive for Tesla’s standards, but it’s still 10,000 dollars more than the starting price for the two best selling pick-up trucks in the American Market, the Ford F-series and the Chevrolet Silverado, which both have a MSRP of around $30,000.
Tesla couldn’t obviously beat traditional automaker on price, and people are expected to pay a premium for the company’s vehicles. That’s why price won’t be the biggest hurdle to the declared goal of convincing pick-up truck owner to switch to EVs: the design is.
Now, Cybertruck’s design is remarkable for its clear references to videogames and sci-fi movie (it’s basically a crossover of Wipeout 2097 and Blade Runner 2049) and for the sheer outrageousness of it all. Let’s be clear, here: no other car maker than Musk’s Tesla could have even thought of a concept car with these lines, let alone produce an actual driving version of such a vehicle.
The real hurdle will be the cultural references: this is a truck that probably looks insane and repulsive for anyone who won’t understand its pixelated nature, or what a GTA 5 car mod is. Meaning: it could probably not appeal the conservative masses of genuinely American pick-up truck drivers who don’t live in their culturally sheltered East and West-Coast bubbles.
What’s even more unsettling, though, is that - probably aware of these limitations - Tesla’s design team decided to give the Cybertruck an armored body, a feature catering directly to a public that values the highly controversial American “right” to bear arms (the live test of the car window didn’t go as planned, though). With a Cybertruck, in other words, you’ll be able to roam the plains of some mid-western American state and, safe from the the abundant stray bullets, drive a load of canned meat to your apocalypse shelter in the middle of the soon-to-be post-nuclear desert.
Jokes aside, the Cybertruck is the most uncanny car Tesla ever unveiled. By proposing this design, which rummages for inspiration from pop culture products involving dark and dystopian views of the future, the Company is basically buying into a much bleaker vision of the society of tomorrow. Instead of another round, curvy and streamlined car, Musk is proposing a sharp and extremely aggressive design meant to scare away more than reassure. If until yesterday Tesla’s vision of the future could be framed as a Jetsons-like idyl, now we’re quite sure it’s a Mad Max with evil A.I. overlords that Musk had in mind all along.