Given it’s been four years since Tesla unveiled its wilfully futuristic pickup, it probably did not matter that it was marginally behind schedule with a live online stream of its first customer handovers. The so-called Cybertruck has been beset by delays throughout its development, and on an earnings call earlier this week, CEO Elon Musk made it clear that issues remained: “There will be enormous challenges in reaching volume production with the Cybertruck and then in making a Cybertruck cashflow-positive.”
But that’s very much Tesla’s problem. It still reckons it will reach its targeted production of 250,000 units per year by 2025; what we’re (mildly) more interested in is the devil in the detail - because, until Thursday night, the manufacturer had been remarkably tight-lipped about the technical specification, aside from the fact that its new pickup would provide 11,000lbs of towing capacity (or 4,990kg) and be able to carry 2,500lbs (or 1,134kg) on its composite truck bed. Now, with the first customers receiving the cars they must’ve preordered yonks ago, we know a good deal more about it.
More truck than truck, Musk called it during the presentation - but also ‘more sports car than a sports car’. Not least because the Cybertruck is claimed to have more torsional stiffness than a McLaren P1 thanks to the Tesla-designed stainless steel alloy used in its construction (which also makes it bulletproof - or ‘bullet-tough’ as Musk prefers). It ought to be strong if we’re going on kerbweight: the flagship tri-motor derivative weighs in at 6,843lbs - or 3,103kg. Not astonishingly heavy in a world of enormous Super Duty trucks - or when you consider the amount of tech onboard, which includes adaptive air suspension, four-wheel steering, locking differentials etc - but, still: astonishingly heavy from where we’re sitting.
Somewhat inevitably, that doesn’t limit its performance much. Tesla has dubbed its range-topper the ‘Cyberbeast’ and with an output of 845hp it lives up to the name. During the presentation, Tesla showed a film of the pickup beating an (unidentified) Porsche 911 over a quarter-mile - while towing a Porsche 911. Gimmicky, sure - but indicative of a claimed 0-60mph time of 2.6 seconds (as ever, that’s with the rollout subtracted). The range is somewhat less impressive at an estimated 320 miles, but there’s a fairly mediocre 0.34 drag coefficient to cope with, and, again, that kerbweight. A ‘range-extender’ is promised that ought to improve that figure to beyond 440 miles, though we were not told precisely how this will work (it's been suggested that it's an additional, external battery pack). Tesla did not specify the capacity of the onboard batteries, although it did suggest that they could recover up to 136 miles of range with just 15 minutes of supercharging.
Pricing was finally revealed: the Cyberbeast starts at $99,990 - or around £79k. Beneath it there is the option of a dual-motor All-Wheel Drive version with 600hp or a single-motor Rear-Wheel Drive model, although the latter won’t be available till 2025 and will likely only manage 250 miles of range and 6.5 seconds to 60mph for a $60,990 sticker price - around £48k. Which makes the mid-tier AWD variant seem like a reasonable choice based on a 340-mile range (or 470 miles when range extended) and a 0-60mph time of 4.1 seconds. It’s even a tiny bit lighter. At 2,995kg.
But that doesn’t come cheap at $79,990 for that - or around £63k - and, as with the Cyberbeast, Tesla reckons you’ll take delivery at some point in 2024. Whether that’s accurate or not remains to be seen. You still can’t actually order one; Tesla still asking for a fully refundable £250 to ‘reserve now’. Musk previously suggested that 200,000 people had done just that. For now, his firm has united just 10 of them with Cybertrucks, having initially promised that deliveries would begin in 2021. But tonight he celebrated regardless: “I think it’s our best product; the most unique thing on the road. The future should look like the future.” Now Tesla just needs to make it arrive in the present.
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