Tesla Cybertruck debuts: Elon Musk’s alter ego?

James Raia

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, doesn’t do subtle. He makes spaceships that explode and underground vehicle transportation tunnels to nowhere. For the past 16 years, his company has also manufactured the only electric cars to infiltrate the internal combustion engine automotive industry successfully.

After several marketing promises gone awry, Musk has also introduced the Cybertruck, the massive utilitarian pickup he unveiled as a concept four years ago. It’s a futuristic contraption of extremes in design, construction and relevance. It’s the first stainless steel vehicle since the DeLorean featured in the 1985 movie “Back to the Future.”

The recently unveiled Tesla Cybertruck photographed in Kettleman City, California.
The Tesla Cybertruck recently be recharged in Kettleman City, California. Image © James Raia/2023.

Tesla enthusiasts have praised the Cybertruck as revolutionary. Detractors claim it’s reminiscent of poorly made metal origami wedges. With public sightings infrequent and head-turning, a first-time observer could define the beast as a mass of jagged, brushed metal on behemoth wheels. It has the appearance of an unfinished high school shop class project.

Coinciding with the vehicle’s debut in minuscule numbers, Tesla unveiled the specs, release dates and pricing for the Cybertruck’s pending three trim levels.

The single-motor, rear-wheel edition will be priced starting at $60,900. The top speed is 112 miles per hour and the towing capacity is 7,500 pounds. It’s estimated to accelerate from 0-to-60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds, although its horsepower wasn’t announced. Its range is touted at 250 miles per full charge and its debut won’t be until 2025.

The interior design of the Tesla Cybertruck is minimalistic and spacious.
The interior design of the Tesla Cybertruck is minimalistic and spacious. Image courtesy of Tesla.

Scheduled for release in 2024 is the mid-range, dual-motor, heavier and faster Cybertruck. It will boast 600 horsepower, a 4.1-second standard acceleration effort, a 340-mile range, an 11,000-pound towing capacity and a $79,999 price.

The top-line, three-motor offering will feature 845 horsepower, a 0-60 mph effort in 2.6 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. The range is 320 miles, but the capacity can be extended to 440 miles with an optional extra battery pack. Its starting price was announced at $99,990.

Innovation reigns. The Cybertruck’s battery is capable of 11.5 kW of bi-directional power. The truck can be used as a home generator and the integrated 120-volt and 240-volt outlets can be used while traveling. The vehicle’s V3 Supercharger is capable of 250 kW, resulting in 128 to 136 miles of range added in 15 minutes.

The Tesla Cybertruck has a versatile charging system.
The Tesla Cybertruck has a versatile charging system. Photo courtesy of Tesla.

Storage is plentiful. Sixty-seven cubic feet of space is available under the bed floor. The bed also has a 2,500-pound payload capacity in its 4-foot-wide by 6-foot-long area. The tonneau cover opens and closes like a rolltop desk.

The interior is a minimalist playground, highlighted by an 18 1/2-inch front touchscreen, a 9.4-inch rear touchscreen and a yoke-style steering wheel. There’s comfortable seating for five.

Musk says Tesla has more than 1 million $100 deposits for the Cybertruck. The number seems extraordinary until noting the company’s rapidly rising sales. Tesla sold 354,822 vehicles in the United States in 2022, a 53 percent increase from 2021. The Tesla Model Y was the country’s ninth-best-selling car in 2022, the Model 3 placed 15th.

Still, the current Tesla lineup includes sedans and a sporty utility vehicle. All appear within the norms of car design.

The Cybertruck does not. The manufacturer reports the vehicle is 223.7 inches (about 18 1/2 feet) long and 86.6 inches (about 7 feet, 3 inches) wide with side mirrors folded and 95 inches (7 feet, 11 inches) with the mirrors extended. It’s 70.5 (5 feet, 10 1/2 inches) tall. The wheels and tires combine 34.6 inches in height and 11.2 inches in width. Ground clearance is 17.4 inches in extract (off-road) mode.

Like the monstrous Hummer, it’s hard to determine what consumer buying segment will purchase the Cybertruck. It’s an attention-grabber, a chariot of bravado. It’s big, bold and boastful. It’s what Elon Musk does best.

Article Last Updated: December 11, 2023.

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