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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on November 22nd, 2019 | by Frugal Moogal

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Tesla Cybertruck: The Spaceship Has Landed

November 22nd, 2019 by  


It’s here, and it’s … VERY different. We just got some of the press updates from Tesla with details, specs, and actual photos, so let’s take a look, followed by a few quick thoughts and a handful of tweets from the event…

The interior looks like a Model 3 or Y with an extra front seat and more angular seat designs. And I don’t get what is up with the dashboard here, so I’m curious to see what the photos from tonight look like.

And those specs. … This is straight from Tesla, and other than the range, acceleration, and towing ability, the figures should be the same for all of the models (I believe):

  • Range: 500+ miles
  • 0–60 mph acceleration: <2.9 seconds
  • Towing capacity: More than 14,000 lbs
  • Payload: Up to 3,500 lbs
  • Vault length: 6.5 feet
  • Storage capacity: 100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage including the vault, frunk, and sail pillars.
  • Suspension: 4” in either direction
  • Touchscreen size: 17”
  • Body: Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless steel. If there was something better, we’d use it.
  • Seating capacity: Up to six adults
  • Charging: Can be charged at home, at Destination Charging locations, and with our network of more than 14,000 Superchargers, including on our newest V3 technology, which is helpful for long hauls and towing.

It’s definitely different. Wildly different.

This is a photo of it. Or it’s a prerendering of it. I’m not even sure. It’s one of the most fascinating vehicles I’ve ever seen because it’s so different.

Ultimately, this thing is exactly what Musk said that it would be. The design is extremely polarizing, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, and it does look like it would fit within the world of Blade Runner — or came out of the world of Blade Runner. He said himself that he wasn’t sure how well it would sell, and I appreciate that concern.

I mean, it looks like one of the first 3D models of a car in a video game.

But, here’s the thing. I think this was a design choice that was made for three reasons, and it may just be crazy enough to work because of, well, at least two of them.

The first is I’m certain that Musk always wanted a car that looks like this, and now that Tesla is successful enough, he could make what is essentially his dream car.

The second is that Musk said at the Roadster reveal that the goal was to put a “hardcore smackdown” on gasoline vehicles. The biggest halo around trucks is that they are supposed to be tough. If you know much about working with stainless steel, it’s extremely difficult to stamp it. I have read a bunch of the history on the DeLorean Motor Company, and when they were coming out with the DMC12, they had extreme difficulty stamping the steel to make it work. I think once they decided upon using stainless steel in the design, the ability to stamp it is what dictated a lot of this design. My guess is the steel was a choice for the toughness, and thus the design became necessary to keep it producible.

The third is I think Musk wants to establish a price companies should be charging for electric trucks. $39,900 starting is quite the statement, whether they sell one or one million. It means that when Ford releases the F-150 Electric, if it comes out at $59,900, the specs will be compared to this.

The goal was to make this thing stand out, and it does. The pricing seems too good to be true. The design is such that everyone is going to hear about it, and even if the majority of people don’t care, knowing there is an electric truck option is interesting to say the least. The fact production is scheduled to start at end of 2021 is stunning to me.

My guess is that Tesla expects to sell only around 100,000 of these a year, but we’ll see. I have so many questions, and wish more had been revealed by Tesla tonight.

A few quick points:

  • The breaking of the glass looked bad, but upon watching it for a second time, he actually handled it about as well as he could have. Although, the presentation became much more stunted after that.
  • I saw a lot of people complaining that the presentation wasn’t smooth. It wasn’t smooth, but that’s Elon Musk’s style. Love it or hate it, I didn’t expect the reveal to look like the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s at all.
  • I expect the stock price to fall tomorrow, but not by an extreme amount. I think a lot of investors were looking for something like the Ford F-150, and this will turn them off. Musk told us what to expect, however.

Finally, my personal two cents for anyone who cares…

I’m not a truck guy at all. I know lots of people who are, but I’m not. I went into this expecting for the design to not be attractive to me and … I totally get why it isn’t to a lot of people, but I find it fascinating and it actually addresses some of the things that I don’t like about trucks. For instance, it has the cover that slides over the bed, which I appreciate because it seems whenever a friend with a truck comes to help me move things, it’s either raining or snowing. Having a cover would be a really big bonus. It also has a ramp that you can put down in the back. I really like this idea, too.

I don’t personally like the point on the top of it from the outside, and wish it had a more flat roof in the middle — it could keep all of the other points, though, and I’d be fine with that. The interior in the rendering looks great, however. Traditional pickup trucks are not very aerodynamic at all, and this will be significantly better than them for that purpose.

The side of me that is interested in Tesla vehicles came out of this far more interested in the product than I thought I’d be. I’d need a lot more answered before I would even consider ordering one, but that’s okay.

The business side of me started off disappointed initially because of its wild design, and the broken windows in the presentation. I do think the design will turn some people off. The broken windows will be seized upon as a “see, it can’t be this good!” type of thing.

But then I thought about it a bit more. Tesla has figured out how to make a vehicle that sure looks less aerodynamic than the Model 3 but is able to go the same distance as the Model 3 Standard Range Plus for only $510 more. The dual-motor version will go about the same distance as the Model 3 dual motor for only $1510 more, and it will have similar acceleration, too.

The positive here is that whatever happens with Cybertruck sales, Tesla is reaching some sort of incredible pricing efficiency. To be able to put stainless steel panels and air suspension in it and keep the price at basically the same level as the Model 3 tells me that the Model Y is going to have an extremely healthy margin built into it. And the China Gigafactory is going to have an extremely healthy margin built into everything it is doing, both Model 3 and Y production.

It may not be the truck everyone was hoping it was, but it signals that the game has changed for Tesla, and it’s exciting to see how Tesla changed the rules in the future.

 


 

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About the Author

A businessman first, the Frugal Moogal looks at EVs from the perspective of a business. Having worked in multiple industries and in roles that managed significant money, he believes that the way to convince people that the EV revolution is here is by looking at the vehicles like a business would.



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