Like many of you, I watched last week when Tesla revealed the Cybertruck at an event that was carefully timed to fall at the end of the LA Auto Show press days, but not actually within the auto show itself, thereby stealing the thunder of the many automakers who held debuts there. The Cybertruck certainly stole the thunder, but not in a way that many of us were expecting — and today, I’m going to tell you what I think.
I want to start with an important point here, and that’s the Cybertruck’s numbers. I call it important because so many people focused so closely on the truck’s styling — and, frankly, rightfully so — that they haven’t really paid attention to the actual numbers. Those numbers are pretty good.
For instance: the Cybertruck can reportedly tow up to 14,000 pounds, and it offers a payload capacity of 3,500 pounds, which improves on all of the current full-size trucks: the Ford F150‘s max towing capacity is 12,700 pounds with a 2,100-pound payload capacity, for instance, while the Chevy Silverado can tow 12,000 and haul about 2,200. That gives the Cybertruck a nice advantage, and so does its ground clearance: 16 inches, thanks to a lack of pesky differential and other components that an electric truck simply doesn’t have to deal with. That’s a huge figure that vastly improved upon the 10 or so inches in the F-150, the Silverado and Ram‘s line.
Then there’s the range: the Cybertruck can supposedly travel up to 500 miles on a single charge, which is considerably further than any electric vehicle on the market today. It should be noted that this is all if you get the top-of-the-line Cybertruck, which starts around $70,000. Alternately, the base model starts at $40,000 with a 250-mile range and a 7,500-lb tow rating, which is still reasonably respectable.
Truthfully, all the numbers seem pretty good — and even though the top-end Cybertruck is pricey, the figures are fantastic, and they would go a long way toward converting pickup buyers into EV buyers. With that said, it’s worth noting that I strongly suspect the tow rating will dramatically diminish range, which could be an issue for shoppers who wish to use the truck for "truck things." But that’s a common issue in the EV world and not limited to Tesla.
However, the bigger issue to me is, of course, the styling. This is one of the ugliest vehicles I’ve ever seen. When I initially saw the reveal, I assumed it was a joke, and the real thing would be on the way out on stage shortly, as Elon Musk and Tesla can have an excellent sense of humor. But it stayed there, and now it’s been a few days, and I fear this may actually exist in its current form as Tesla’s attempt at a pickup truck. And it shouldn’t.
To be clear, I hate when people decry new car designs as ugly, which happens the moment anyone sees virtually any new car design. The instant reaction to basically any new car is that it’s not attractive. Then, once people get familiar with it, they warm up to it. However, I suspect that I won’t warm up to the Cybertruck.
Truthfully, it’s hideous. I can’t imagine it going into production like this, and I think Tesla is crazy for even attempting to. I still wonder if it’s a joke and if we will eventually be shown the real thing. Part of me truly believes Tesla will probably plan a redesign now and that this was a concept car that isn’t actually going to hit the road. But it’s hard to know. Even on the brand’s forums, where diehard fans eagerly await and obsess over any Tesla news and information, the reaction has been incredibly tepid.
I could be wrong, but I think this is Tesla’s first "miss" — the first car they’ve announced that brings more hate than support. But it’s also a long way away. Tesla says it’s coming at the end of 2021, and if Tesla’s past is any indication, it will likely be delayed further than that. That’s a lot of time for the design to grow on us. Find a Tesla for sale