Tesla Cybertruck Starts From $39,900! Better Value Than Ford F-150?

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The Tesla Cybertruck was unveiled last night, with the shockingly affordable entry price of $39,900! Let’s take a quick look at the pricing and specs of the different variants, and compare to the US’s best selling vehicle, the Ford F-150.

Check out the basic specs table given in the above image (click on image to enlarge) for the differentiated features and pricing for the different variants. However, note that every variant comes with the following impressive standard features:

  • Seating for 6 adults
  • Dimensions: 231.7″ long, 79.8″ wide, 75.0″ high
  • 4-door
  • Tesla Autopilot comes standard
  • Bed/Vault length: 6.5 feet
  • Storage capacity: 100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage including the vault, frunk, and sail pillars
  • Adaptive air suspension: 4” in either direction, self-leveling and adjustable up to 16″ ground clearance
  • Off-road clearance angles: 35° approach, 28° departure
  • Touchscreen size: 17”, with all-new customized interface
  • Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless steel body, stops 9mm bullets fired from 10 meters
  • Extendable tailgate/ground-ramp
  • “Magic” tonneau cover that’s strong enough to stand on
  • Onboard power outlets for 110V & 220V
  • Onboard air compressor
  • Capable of DC fast charging at 250+ kW
  • Optional Full Self Driving prepay for $7,000
  • $100 fully refundable deposit
  • Estimated fuel savings of at least $90+ each month compared to ICE pickups

It’s clear that at the high end, the Cybertruck far outcompetes any version of Ford F-150, on all important metrics, as we have come to expect from Tesla. The video presentation even included a tug-of-war between the two vehicles that clearly showed the Tesla’s power advantage.

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Cybertruck Value Compared to Ford F-150

What’s most interesting from a market potential point of view is that the base variant of the Cybertruck for $39,900 offers amazing value compared to a Ford F-150 configured to this price point.

Bear in mind that the Ford F-150 is the highest selling vehicle — of any kind — in the US. And, importantly, although the starting price for the F-150 is from $28,500 and up, the actual average selling price of the Ford F-150 in 2018 was $46,700, far more than the base Tesla.

Having a 6.5′ cargo bed, 6 adult seats, and 4 doors are all extra cost options on top of that base $28,500 F-150, yet they are standard on the Cybertruck. These space/seating layout features alone mean that to provide the same functionality, the F-150 is going to start from $35,000 and up. That’s before other extras to bring it closer in other capabilities to the Tesla.

The max payload for any variant of F-150 is 3,270 lb, and that’s only if you spec the “Heavy-Duty Payload Package,” and the thirsty 5 liter V8 powertrain, which now puts you cleanly into the pricing territory of the entry Cybertruck. The basic F-150s start with 1680 lb of payload capacity, under half that of the base Cybertruck.

Since the base F-150 offers fairly modest functionality, it starts to become clear why folks add a variety of extras and the average selling price ends up much closer to $50,000 than the headline base ~$28,500.

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Towing capability on the respective base models is a wash at “7500+” lb on the Tesla vs. 7700 lb on the Ford. Matching the Tesla’s acceleration from 0–60 mph in 6.5 seconds is simply not available in the F-150 at this price point, and matching the real-world instant response of an electric powertrain is anyway impossible with an ICE+transmission. With the low center of gravity from the battery pack paired with the lowered suspension mode, the roadholding and the rollover safety will also be much better in the Tesla.

Technology packages and driver assistance features on the F-150 are optional extras whose capabilities won’t compare well with the user interface/infotainment and Autopilot features that come as standard on the base Cybertruck. Same goes for the panoramic roof options, which are extras on the F-150. 110 volt outlets (in the interior cabin) are also available as extras on the F-150, but cap out at 400 watts. Higher-powered 220V outlets and air compressors are not available, and the inclusion of these as standard (and likely far beyond 400 watts) on the Cybertruck will be valuable assets for contractors.

If we compare the F-150 and Cybertruck on total cost of ownership (TCO), the Tesla looks like an even better value. Fuel savings should equate to at least $90 per month for the Tesla (more when compared to the larger engined F-150s) and maintenance costs will also be lower. Commercial operators for whom lifetime TCO is the main consideration will not just be comparing the base Cybertruck to $35,000 to $40,000 F-150s, but also to the most basic entry variants of the F-150s, priced around $30,000. On a head to head, even these basic F-150s start to look like a questionable value from the TCO perspective, and given all the greater capabilities and useful features that come standard on the Cybertruck.

Tesla Cybertruck

Ford sold almost 1.1 million F-Series trucks globally in 2018, the vast majority being F-150s. Given this, how many Cybertrucks will Tesla eventually sell per year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

The order page for the Cybertruck is now open.

Article images courtesy of Tesla (first two) and Kyle Field for CleanTechnica (last two)

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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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