Electric car company Tesla unveiled their Cybertruck last night in Los Angeles to some mixed reactions. Events for Tesla, undoubtedly taking note from Apple, have turned into a touchstone for the ever growing overlap between tech enthusiasts and car fanatics. Although it’s probably safe to say that the majority of intrigue is from the former. After a few teases that came interspersed between memes and potentially offensive comments via the official Twitter account of Elon Musk, November 21st was the first time we got to see the newest addition to the Tesla family in person. And boy is it something.
The internet has since exploded with memes comparing the futuristic utility machine to the Jawa Sandcrawler from Star Wars, but for me I don’t think it looks that bad. Looking more like a Mars rover than an F150, it’s definitely something different, but I think that’s something that the car world could use — a concept car that is actually released.
The shock of the loud design of the new Tesla Cybertruck’s sharp exterior geometry is matched by the stark and strange interior. The familiar large tablet makes it’s return, set upon a faux marble dashboard and flanked by a steering wheel that looks more at home in the Roadster than it does in the truck. The cabin seats six comfortably as reported by The Verge with three seats in the front and three in the back. The bed of the truck is… a truck bed. I’m not so sure about how many people that will be buying this truck for its truck bed.
Durability tests of the truck ranged from impressive to hilarious. Several objects were dropped and smashed into the body of the truck which showed no signs of damage, but the downfall of the design seemed to come from a light toss of a heavy object at a window. After two consecutive window smashes, Musk joked “at least it didn’t go through”. I think any concern from this might be warranted, but will hopefully quickly go away. This is an issue that should be easily resolved before the truck’s yet-unannounced release date.
Despite that lack of release date, the Cybertruck is available for pre-order. Specs for the are as impressive as you would expect. Range starts at 250 miles, towing capacity at 7500 lbs, and acceleration from 0–60mph in 6.5 seconds. That’s all for the $39,900 single motor version. The highest-end tri motor configuration will cost $69,900 and boasts a range of 500+ miles, double the towing capacity of the lowest end model, and a staggering acceleration of 0–60mph in 2.9 seconds. Most of these specs would be impressive for a luxury sports car, but to have them for a truck is unheard of in the consumer market.
To view it from a greater perspective, innovation is what makes this car company so special. Where all other car companies are busy with maintaining the tradition of their long-standing brands — slow uptake on electric technology, unchanging designs — Tesla is more willing to break the mold of the industry as well as that of their own brand. Not only are they pushing the technology forward with regards to electric vehicles, but they are continuing to strike out on their own as one of the only ultra high-tech vehicle brands on the market. It’s ironic that just about every other car brand uses the word “innovation” in their advertising when it’s the enigmatic car brand based in Los Angeles that never advertises that is innovating the most. Perhaps this is a lesson in budgeting for car companies, but from whisperings of Tesla’s economic performance as a company, I would be wary of making such a statement. At the end of the day, sales are more important in keeping a company afloat than anything else.
With all of that being said, I wish nothing but success for Tesla. Standing as one of the only car brands that consistently innovates to a considerably higher degree than any other car manufacturer, we need more Teslas in the world as far as companies go. I only hope that it will continue to last through sheer innovation. I hope sales of the Cybertruck will blow every other truck out of the water, but I’m concerned with consumers’ reluctance to buy into technology that they might not be totally sold on. A self-driving truck from the future is something everyone might want to have in theory, but would be afraid of purchasing in practice. Hopefully soon this perspective will change and we’ll see other car manufacturers caught on their heels as Tesla pulls away and becomes as ubiquitous as Ford or Honda. This event might not be seen as a turning point towards that goal, but it’s certainly a start. Eventually innovation will always come out on top, but it doesn’t come overnight.
Let’s hope Tesla is as ready for the long haul as we are.