Tesla challenges Detroit 3 with pickup; launch marred by cracked windows
After years of promising an electric pickup that could outperform offerings from the Detroit 3, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk on Thursday revealed an angular vehicle that failed to withstand a 25-minute presentation.
Musk promised exhilarating performance out of the so-called Cybertruck, with acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph.
But the pickup could use some more testing before production is slated to begin in late 2021: The truck was described as having windows made from armored glass. But its side window broke twice during an on-stage strength demonstration when chief designer Franz von Holzhausen threw a metal ball at it to test its durability.
The four-door, six-seat pickup starts at $39,900 with a base range of more than 250 miles. The most expensive variant starts at $69,900 and will get more than 500 miles range, Tesla said. By comparison, the current maximum range of a Tesla car is 370 miles for its long-range Model S sedan.
It has a towing capacity of more than 14,000 lbs and a payload of up to 3,500 lbs.
Following the reveal, Tesla immediately began taking online pre-orders for a deposit of just $100.
"We need sustainable energy now. If we don't have a pickup truck, we can't solve it. The top 3 selling vehicles in America are pickup trucks. To solve sustainable energy, we have to have a pickup truck," Musk said at a launch event in Los Angeles.
The pickup looks unlike anything on the market today. With sharp lines and a sloping front end, the pickup resembles a futuristic concept vehicle more than anything close to an existing production model.
"Trucks have been the same for a very long time, like 100 years," Musk said, as an audience watched a slideshow of pickup designs throughout the decades. "We need something different."
"The looks are polarizing, but the performance and pricing specs are undeniable," Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, said in a statement.
"There will be plenty of demand for the cyber truck, even if only current Tesla fans want one. How far beyond Tesla’s customer base will the cyber truck reach? I suspect current pickup truck buyers will find its exterior design and electric drivetrain too far of a leap for most of them to make," he said.
Brauer, however, didn't write off its chances. "If Tesla can produce a sufficient number of cyber trucks, and if the early adopters are fully satisfied, the cyber truck could cross into traditional truck markets, and that’s a massive segment if Tesla can tap into it,” he said.
Tesla Cyber pick-up website LINK
Tesla is hoping to continue its history of industry disruption with the pickup, which it thinks can find a niche in a profitable segment the Detroit 3 have dominated for decades.
Musk repeatedly referenced the Ford F-150, which has been best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for the past 42 years. He showed a video of the Cybertruck allegedly beating an F-50 in a tug-of-war contest.
The Cybertruck's body is made of "ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel," according to Tesla.
In another dig at the F-150 and its aluminum body, Tesla said Thursday that "if there was something better, we’d use it."
A pick-up that only Musks mother could ever love, Elon has been on the wacky bakkie with a ruler. This is one bakkie truck as they are known in South Africa that l won't ever be buying!