“Yes, that is the way to do it. Pure logic. Form follows function. The only way to solve the aerodynamics problem of a pickup.”
Those were my thoughts when the Tesla Cybertruck rolled onto the stage.
Followed by: “Will any hillbilly or weekend road warrior or mom buy it?” It is a bit hard to see this as a grocery getter or hay carrier.
This is totally Elon Musk — going back to first principles, applying them to an electric pickup truck, getting an image straight from the movies he likes. How could he not fall in love with it.
The aerodynamics of a conventional pickup truck are extremely bad. You need probably twice the battery capacity to get highway performance at 60 mph on par with a Jaguar I-PACE. That is a big No-No for Tesla.
The first design parameter for Tesla was: no open bed. The second was: no box form. High on the list would also be: Tesla cars are beautiful, not rusty or dented. Another would be that you should be able to actually use the bed for your stuff. In urban environments, everything in it that can be carried away will be carried away when you return. Cheap and easy to produce would also be on that list.
Put this list into a stupid AI system that does not have preconceived notions what a pickup should look like, and out comes the Tesla Cybertruck.
The aerodynamics are great. The bed coffer turns that open space into a vault. The stainless steel enables a unibody design that is lighter, stronger, and cheaper to make. With a relatively small battery (~75kWh), a “low-cost” version can shock the market. With the Plaid powertrain, there is nothing on the road (except other Teslas) that can compete in pure badass driving.
Turning the list of requirements (much longer than I have mentioned) into this design is pure brilliance.
I am not a car guy, I am even less of a big car guy, and I really don’t understand the appeal of those monstrosities on wheels that are the favorite grocery-getters in most of the USA. My opinion is of zero and really no value when it comes to judging the Tesla Cybertruck’s market appeal and commercial value.
This is such a radical departure from what is thought to be a normal pickup, though, that most will be unable at first to comprehend this concept. Without suggesting it will be as successful, it is like the iPhone when shown in the time of the flip-phone and Blackberry. This will need time.
I suggest some placements in Hollywood movies. Not the cyberpunk Blade Runner type of movies, but a normal romantic comedy with a soccer mom using it around the suburbs. And the privacy of the closed bed is a far better place to be seduced than the back seat of a sedan.
While being logical, the Tesla designers created a new problem for the US automotive industry. The distinction between cars and trucks, or passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles has always been based on the construction — using a frame was a truck, using any kind of monocoque or unibody construction was a car. By the logic of the standard classification, the Tesla Cybertruck is a car.
To be more precise, it is the most badass electric shopping cart.
Photos by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica