With Rivian playing enfant terrible and getting plentiful press coverage, Tesla has been at rather a disadvantage when it comes to a workhorse EV pickup. Rivian, with its R1T truck, has dug in its heels. The model looks familiar, extremely capable, and as rolled-sleeves blue collar as can be, and it’s being built in the rust belt. In short, it’s an instant classic, a 3-chord country song on 4 wheels.
Tesla’s got an answer, but it’s a different kettle of fish entirely. The company calls its pickup the Cybertruck. And it looks as chilly and mathematical as the 1990s cyber-tropes it suggests. A profile of the top section of the rig sports the lines of a scalene triangle, while the lower section is plain, metallic, and boxy, with a gradient that flares up toward the back end.
The truck’s sci-fi looks are perhaps rendered less silly to lesser critics when one bears in mind that the flat surfaces rendered by those rigid lines—and the retractable bed cap—would make the Cybertruck very amenable to flexible solar panel installation. Hmm. What’s that wild genius Elon got percolating on the back burner of his mind? Breaking free of the pump, and the plug, too? If so, we’d like to send him a very early valentine.
As a marketing symbol, the Cybertruck is kith and kin to the fastest-in-the-world 2nd-gen roadster that Electric Muskyland revealed so theatrically two years ago. It’s intended to be a jump start, to draw attention to Tesla and away from nagging upstarts like Rivian, and that it does.
Feature-wise, the stainless-steel Cybertruck boasts a 250-mile range and a 7,500-pound towing capacity. A series of thoughtful performance and recreational embellishments make the workday easier while keeping a bit of fun as an option; they include adaptive ride height and the ability to hit 60 MPH in as little as 4.5 seconds.
And the Cybertruck will be remarkably affordable. Tesla details a base sticker of just $39,900 for a single motor and a 250-mile range. A dual-motor, mid-range option will offer more power for $49,900. The top-of-the-line, tri-motor version will cost $69,900; it’ll have a 500-mile range, a 14,000-pound towing capacity, and it’ll do 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. And, in case you have enemies, you’ll be happy to know that the stainless steel body of the Cybertruck can stop 9mm rounds.
If you like what you see, go ahead and make that reservation. Deliveries are expected in late 2021 for the base version, and 2022 for the faster models.