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Autonomous Vehicles Tesla Cybertruck reveal

Published on November 27th, 2019 | by Rahul Sonnad

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The Tesla Cybertruck Isn’t A Pickup — It’s Much, Much More

November 27th, 2019 by  


By Rahul Sonnad (rahul@tesloop.com)

Prior to its new “Pickup Truck” unveil on Thursday night, Tesla had built up an impressive amount of anticipation across Tesla fanatics and the car industry alike.

Speculation was rampant. Actual knowledge of the truck’s details, however, was bone dry.

When the new vehicle came onto stage, it may be fair to say that the Cybertruck stunned almost everyone. Its looks were so outlandish that many serious people thought it was a joke. As outlined in Elon’s introduction, the Cybertruck embodied a radical departure from the historical design of other pickup trucks, a design which has persevered largely unchanged over many decades.

Beauty, Aesthetics, and Function

Tesla Cybertruck

Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The focal point of the Cybertruck’s stunning impact stems from its exterior design: metallic, angular, and futuristic. It immediately requires you to make an aesthetic judgement that often doesn’t first land on the truck-designer’s side. Even among many of the Tesla diehards who carry large reserves of goodwill for all things Tesla, the vehicle looks far from ideal. One well-informed blogger went so far as to say that Franz von Holzhausen was one of the night’s bigger losers and would likely regret designing a vehicle that “doesn’t seem to be going over well with the masses.”

But Franz isn’t worried.

On Thursday night, my experience started like many others’. When I first laid eyes, I was stunned. As the machine sat on the stage, I didn’t quite get it. I was open minded. There were lots of impressive specs and features, amazing technology optimizations — just as with all Tesla reveals. And the starting price was almost as shocking as its look: $39,900, significantly lower than anyone had guessed.

I walked by the vehicle a couple of times on stage. It was hard to know what to make of this odd vehicle. I waited in line for a couple of hours to get a test ride, watching other fans get in and out, and still I didn’t understand the vehicle. Unfortunately, the line wasn’t moving, so I bailed. And then I got in line for the Oculus VR Cybertruck experience. And I’m glad I did.

In this virtual reality, you could see the Cybertruck pulling up to you in a Blade Runner-esque setting. It beckoned me onboard, where I was seated in the driver’s seat and could see the amazing views through the straight-glass front window. I could turn around and see how roomy the cabin was in the second row, and could look clearly into the huge truck bed in the back. I was then driving through the desert at high speed. The view through the flat front glass was amazing! Then I was driving up a mountain side over huge rocks and tree stumps. I started to get it. It was an amazing ride. I got back in line for another turn. And then another. And then I really started to get what this vehicle was all about.

A Pickup Truck Market Contender?

Tesla Cybertruck

Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The big questions of the night were: “How many people will get past the Cybertruck’s sci-fi cartoon looks, and will this be enough to make it a contender in the pickup market? Would the average guy in middle America — where most of the country’s three million pickups are sold every year — be caught dead in this thing?”

The common sentiment was “no.” It’s not mainstream, it’s niche. Some number of Tesla fanboys would buy it — even if they didn’t like its looks. It’s a cool toy, but not a real truck. Late-night YouTube streamers estimated Tesla could sell between 50,000 to 250,000 trucks a year. This would be a reasonable success. By Friday morning, the mood on Wall Street amongst stock traders was less optimistic. Demand would be low, Cybertruck wouldn’t make a ton of money. Not a good financial move for Tesla. A more conventional pickup would have given Ford and GM a run for their money and moved the needle.

Interestingly, no one on Friday seemed to be worried about whether Tesla could make enough Cybertrucks to keep up with demand. Tesla’s ability to go from dirt field in Shanghai to thousands of flawless Model 3s in record time seems to have finally closed down that line of critique.

Thinking of the Cybertruck as a pickup truck masks its essence. It distracts from a deeper examination of what it is, and the boundaries of what it is not. If it’s a pickup, clearly, it’s not competing with a Lexus ES, which sells for the same price.

Instead of a pickup, it may be helpful to think of the Cybertruck as a “utility vehicle.” First, imagine how it can function like an extra large SUV. It’s easy to see that, for a mother of 4 driving to grandma’s house, the Cybertruck isn’t so much a pickup truck as it is her Chevy Suburban. It works great for kids and families: Massive cargo space that fits all the coolers, strollers, and luggage needed for the trip to Grandma’s, as well as the playpen, a bike, and a crib. Junior can even play video games with Grandpa upon arrival.

Or you can think of it in the Sport category of “Sport Utility.” For the outback adventurer, the Cybertruck is an off-road dream, a Land Cruiser that will literally work on Mars. It delivers fun at the next level on hills and dunes thanks to its 16” clearance.

Family and Sport are flavors of “utility” the Cybertruck excels at providing. But its repertoire is actually much deeper. At its heart, the Cybertruck does not try to specialize, but rather it provides “general utility” in a vehicle.

The General Utility Toolbox

The range of Cybertruck capabilities are a little hard to grasp at first.

  • Like every car, it offers personal transport. It layers on lots of comfort, space, and headroom for people, and lots of things in the cab.
  • It also offers a LOT of cargo room. About 2× that of a Suburban, and significantly more than an F-150 of the same size.
  • Because it’s battery powered, it is an energy source for all things electric, from table-saws to hairdryers.
  • With optional solar, it can generate energy using integrated solar panels.
  • The battery provides heating and cooling in a significantly more efficient manner than gas car, so it provides efficient interior climate control for all weather.
  • If you’re Mad Max, the Cybertruck lets you go off the grid, with no need to fight for oil. The Cybertruck may also eliminate the need for politicians in Washington to fight for oil.

But wait, there’s more …

  • It can be loaded with almost two tons of whatever.
  • It can tow well beyond its weight class: it could tow three stacked pickup trucks.
  • It offers a virtually indestructible surface on the outside and in the cargo area. You cannot dent it. You cannot scratch it. And a suite of sensors will stop it from hitting anything else. And it will have amazingly strong glass, that doesn’t break even when struck by a huge steel ball.

Because it’s a Tesla, it inherits some amazing tech:

  • It offers a security system that records video in four directions — 24 hours a day.
  • It’s continually connected to the internet (and Cybertruck V2 might even act as a hotspot connection to ultra-high-speed satellite internet).
  • Entertainment? It’s a drive-in movie theater everywhere it goes, a Caraoke Studio, and an arcade.
  • Software evolution? The Cybertruck will get better every few months through over the air updates. It will become both more efficient and more feature rich, just like other Teslas.

And most importantly:

It will keep its passengers significantly safer than anything else you could ever buy. You will, in fact, want to be in your Cybertruck during a hurricane. Forgot about it being the safest car. It is a bunker. Earthquake? Cybertruck with emergency rations in the frunk. Zombie apocalypse? Cybertruck with solar. Storm on Mars? Cybertruck pressurized edition. No joke.

It packs a lot of utility.

Genetically Modified Chameleon

But behind the veneer of the strange looking “pickup truck” lives something very different, something reptilian in nature. Surely it starts with the vehicle’s skin — shiny and resilient. Next, there’s its dexterity — like that of a lizard, it can climb rocks, move in any direction, and always stay sure-footed.

As far as the type of lizard, it must be related to a Chameleon, even though it can’t change its skin color. In fact, it borrows Henry Ford’s policy for the Model T that “any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black” (adding unpainted as an option). Instead, the Cybertruck offers a much more interesting capability: instant metamorphosis. It can effortlessly transform itself on the inside. It can subtly shapeshift into almost anything needed or desired by its occupants. This is where Cybertruck’s real magic lies.

Though its appearance remains consistent, those within all see it differently.

  • On the hills of Malibu, it’s a Range Rover and a Powerwall in one. Mudslide? This is what gets you up the hill. Blackouts? Use it as a backup generator, recharge as needed.
  • For the adrenaline junkie, it’s a Lamborghini — capable of drawing exhilaration out of anyone in the car when the accelerator is pushed, and making a bold statement.
  • For the entourage, it’s a G550 cruising down Hollywood Blvd, with room for the whole team and premium sound.
  • For the weekend skier, it’s an Audi Q5 Quattro, that sometimes delivers more fun on the drive up than on the slopes.
  • For the Autobahn cruiser, it’s a Mercedes S-Class, capable of gliding on adaptive air suspension at speeds up to 130 mph (210 km/h).
  • For the former Hummer owner, it’s military grade. It can’t be keyed, and you can laugh watching recordings of people trying.
  • For the outdoorsy couple, it’s their Subaru Outback, providing value and reliability as well as a plug for their coffeemaker.
  • For the hippie, it’s the microbus of your eco-conscious solar camping dreams, that could even power growlights.
  • To the Chinese villager, it’s the delivery service vehicle, carrying a load of woven bags up the hillside over gravel roads washed out by the rain.
  • For the Seattle lawyer, it’s a Bombardier Q400 turboprop, running on Autopilot to Portland, with no interruptions to her conference calls.
  • It’s the classic Jeep that’s fit for military operations, but available to civilians.
  • Cybertruck is the Volkswagen of electro-mobility, the car for the people, a vehicle that is affordable and practical enough for common people to own — no worries about dents, dings, or paint chips.
  • And to the Tesla owner, it’s all Tesla.

If you close your eyes, the Cybertruck can be almost anything to anyone. The list goes on and on.

And as a Tesla, there’s one more thing. By the time the Cybertruck is released, Tesla Autopilot will have evolved its capabilities to the point where the Cybertruck will be nearly effortless to drive through both cities and highways — across the world. While you will need to keep your hands on the steering wheel, you won’t need to think about driving at all, unless there is some extraordinary situation. Autopilot transforms the highway driving experience today, and it will only get better and better on highways and on urban streets over the next two years.

  • To every parent, it’s the vehicle that you want your children in, so they don’t hurt themselves or others.

The versatility of the Cybertruck is unmatched. It can do just about anything any other commonly sold vehicle can do, and in most cases, it can do it better and for much cheaper. It is simply the most operationally capable vehicle ever designed.

Design Strategy

It’s obvious that the product strategy of Cybertruck wasn’t to win over America’s mainstream pickup consumers with its “design language.”  The “pickup truck” label may even have been a bit of a head fake. To understand why the Cybertruck looks like it does, you need to go back to Elon’s favorite design philosophy — the “first principles” approach. This involves starting with a clean sheet of paper, throwing away all preconceptions and the history of everything that others have done before, and then focusing only on your unbridled goals, your engineering ambitions, and the constraints that the laws of physics impose.

The essence of Cybertruck’s design strategy is to embed a rectangular cube (19′ × 7′ × 6′) with as many capabilities as possible in order to create the broadest range of utility (including fart noises) into a mobile package. It requires complex trade-offs and optimizations around materials, power, energy, software, and space that all influence each other. Then, in order to ensure economic viability, this design must be refined and modified to make it as cheap and easy to manufacture as it can possibly be. And this results in design decisions that make you build things in a way that doesn’t look classically beautiful. It is a very difficult design task. It’s a new way of thinking about vehicles.

The result of this design strategy is not your father’s pickup truck. It looks strange.

The Cybertruck “Niche”

Back to the core question, “will anyone buy it?” Well, of course, a couple hundred thousand Tesla fanatics will. Everyone who bought a flamethrower probably will also. But will pickup owners take the plunge?

There are four major reasons that would prevent a rational pickup consumer from buying Cybertruck:

  1. Cost
  2. Fueling speed
  3. Size
  4. Style

Cost is actually a winner for Tesla. It’s becoming increasingly clear that electric vehicles have a lower cost, all things considered.

Fueling is a mixed bag. It does take longer to charge than gas up, but if you can do it overnight, and drive fewer than 500 miles, you’re good. The interesting factor here is that the more you need to fuel, the more you save with Cybertruck. So if you need to use it a lot, the 500 mile battery pays for itself.

Size could be a blocker. If your area roads are too narrow or you really need a huge bed, Cybertruck may not be for you.

So, the idea of the Cybertruck’s estimated “Niche” appeal really comes down to its style.

Cybertruck might not look “respectable” or “normal” to most buyers, or to their neighbors and friends. On the beauty scale, most people’s first reaction is that it looks much crazier than attractive. Up close, however, it reveals an extraordinary sense of both aesthetics and design.

Because the Cybertruck is aesthetically challenging, it’s assumed by most that it will become a distant contender to the Model Y in terms of popularity. Because the Model Y has a classic crossover-like shape, it will remain the safe choice for an increasing number of buyers who want to become Tesla owners in the world’s most popular category of vehicle.

Today, there is general agreement among almost everyone that Cybertruck is not the economic future of Tesla.

As Elon stated during his interview with Recode: “You know, I actually don’t know if a lot of people will buy this pickup truck or not, but I don’t care.”

And while this isn’t literally accurate — there’s no doubt Elon would want consumers to love owning this car, his new baby, Tesla’s latest and greatest. It could be better stated that Elon doesn’t need to care.

Firstly, deep down, he knows it will be a huge hit, despite its looks. It will just offer too much bang for the buck. It provides too much general utility in too many situations.

If you close your eyes and compare a Model Y to a Cybertruck, for a similar price, the Y has few advantages. The Y may be slightly easier to get into and offer slightly longer range — but has less passenger space, less cargo space, less traction, and less towing power. The same goes for all of the other Tesla models: the Cybertruck beats them all on most counts: price, range, view, safety.

But Cybertruck will attract consumers considering a broad range of other brands’ passenger vehicles. Because, style aside, it’s a better alternative to almost every other passenger vehicle.

To repeat: the Cybertruck beats all other passenger vehicle, of all other types of passenger vehicles, on almost all features.

It does not require the common trade-offs. It is quicker than a Porsche, tougher than a Silverado, bigger than an Expedition, safer than a Volvo, more sure-footed than a Land Rover, more practical than a Civic, and cheaper than a Prius on a monthly basis over time.

While it may initially cost more than some of these other vehicles, the low cost of fuel and maintenance will be compelling to consumers. Along with the Model 3, the Cybertruck is by far the most inexpensive car to own and operate over 10 years, and for people who drive a lot, the saving are much quicker.

Because of its broad functional appeal, Cybertruck will be extremely popular among a wide range of consumers who are not pickup buyers. When it’s released, the pent up demand among those with $100 consumer reservations will serve to absorb several months of full-scale production. From there, the Cybertruck will go viral. Both the Model S and the Model 3 served as their own advertising vehicles once they hit the streets. But the Cybertruck will step this up a level. You can’t ignore the Cybertruck when you see it. Everyone will see it. And you’ll see it being used by so many people in so many different ways.

Then, every car buyer spending over $30,000 will have to decide: does it look weird enough to buy something less useful that costs more every month? And for some, the answer will be yes. But for an increasing number, the answer will be, “No, I want the capabilities of Cybertruck.” They may check their aesthetics at the door, or stretch their sensibilities and gradually embrace its futuristic design. But soon looks won’t be important. Once something reaches a certain level of ubiquity, style stops mattering. For a while, it looked really stupid to wear those wireless earbuds hanging out of your head. Now … no one’s making fun of you.

Eventually, only non-conformists will avoid it. Like the guy who buys a BMW 4 Series because everyone’s got a Model 3.

It’s Commercial Economics, Stupid.

But even if no consumers buy the Cybertruck, it will still be a success. Commercial purchases of Cybertrucks will be unimpaired by aesthetic judgements: cost, utility, and manageability will drive sales.

During the Tesla Semi launch, there was a lot of focus on the economics of electric transportation. Elon noted the astonishing fact that the electric semi could compete with rail on a cost per mile basis for moving freight.

The Cybertruck shares the same electro-economic realities. Offering low fuel and maintenance costs, the Cybertruck is cheap to operate, but the real disruption is its longevity. The Cybertruck will last at least 750,000 miles, and more likely close to a million miles. That’s 50 years if you drive it 20,000 miles a year. It won’t need new batteries, brakes, or shocks during this time. No mufflers, starters, alternators, or radiators. No dents, no rust, no worries. Just replace the tires.

When you consider all of this, the Cybertruck will be operating for a cost of less than 25 cents a mile. That’s less than half the cost of other trucks. Anyone who drives a lot will benefit from the Cybertruck. The more you drive, the better.

And on the maintenance side, Cybertruck will change how commercial fleets approach vehicle management. No oil changes or tune-ups. Never a leaky gasket. No trips to the shop. Just a 24/7 workhorse.

The Cybertruck offers the cheapest and safest way in history to move small groups of people and cargo, and it will get slightly better every year. The more weight in the bed, the more you save.

  • Corporations will buy Cybertrucks to move their employees between their facilities, and on weekends, employees will check them out as a perk. These employees will rarely be deterred by the strange aesthetics of the vehicle.
  • For the world’s largest solar installer, Cybertruck is the cheapest way to move tons of roofing across the state.

And the more you tow, the better the economics.

  • For moving gravel to delivery sites, there is no better solution than towing with the Cybertruck.
  • For the police departments, Cybertruck is the new default standard. Bullet proof? Indestructible? Only undercover police will need to think twice.
  • In the streets of Dubai, the Cybertruck will be the obvious choice for any self-respecting motorcade (with the upgraded window package).
  • For emergency responders across the world, the power, towing, and lockable storage are a lock.
  • Every ski shuttle will soon become a Cybertruck. On the drive from Denver to Aspen, winter enthusiasts will experience the beauty of the first snowstorm landing on the metallic glass, with the bed full of ski gear. The carefree Autopiloting of the Cybertruck through curving mountain passes will let everyone relax and enjoy the scenery — even in the most brutal conditions — something never possible before.

Cybertruck, Phone Home

Tesla Cybertruck

Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

But for large commercial fleets, the Cybertruck has an incomparable advantage vs. any other pickup truck. It’s designed to be remotely administered. The benefits of deep connectivity embedded into the vehicle radically simplify fleet operations. Tesla’s are designed with a digital core that extends into every corner and subsystem of the vehicle. Fleet managers know where every vehicle is at every minute, who’s driven them, and how fast. Speeds can be programmatically limited to 70 mph during the day and 65 at night. Seat belts can be remotely monitored, along with tire pressure. No keys are needed in a world where doors, frunks, and the vault can all be opened for the right people at the right times, through mobile apps and video monitoring. You can also use Cybertruck cameras for security at the job site. And this is just what would be possible with today’s software. By 2021, there will be much more.

  • AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast will upgrade their fleets with hundreds of thousands of Cybertrucks. The benefits of deep digital control are too strong to resist.
  • Goodbye, Pink Mary Kay Cadillacs. The Cybertruck is the new multi-level marketing machine. You don’t need to store things in your house anymore. Does an associate need another case of Mascara? Just locate any Pink Cybertruck and digitally unlock it to access the product you need. It’s been temperature controlled to ensure its best condition.

Non-Judgement Day and the Network Utility Vehicle

While the Cybertruck excels at providing “general utility,” its ultimate design goal extends beyond this.

By the time the first production Cybertruck rolls out of the factory, Elon has total confidence that the vehicle will drive itself 10× better than a normal human, and this will rapidly improve over time.

Over the next decade in an increasing number of countries, you will be able to take your hands off the wheel, kick back and relax, as the Cybertrucks glides you to your destination. If you need to sleep, there is room for a queen bed in the back.

“The fleet wakes up with an over-the-air update,” forecasts Elon. Now, the reality will probably be less dramatic, as the gradual rollout of legislation signed by bureaucrats at different times in different countries will enable the robotaxi army in phases. But unless Tesla’s strategy on autonomous driving technology is fundamentally flawed, the robotaxis will soon be here. Cybertrucks will rapidly become Cybertaxis, nodes on a network, the ultimate “network utility vehicle.”

The Cybertruck’s real calling is not to meet the specific needs of its owner, but rather to meet the needs of anyone who might want to use it for any purpose at any time in its role as a shared autonomous vehicle.

Cybertaxi services will eliminate the need for most consumers to buy the Cybertruck — as they can Summon it at any time for minutes, hours, days, or weeks. And in a scenario that’s not about ownership, no one will be judging its looks.

According to Elon’s math, a vehicle that can autonomously drive itself is worth about 5 times more than one that can’t. And there’s some interesting arithmetic behind this. When you compare the Cybertruck to a Model X that costs twice as much, the Cybertruck wins on utility value. And when you multiply that by 5, it wins buy a much greater margin.

Costing 25 cents per mile to operate at high speeds, the Cybertruck will get anyone anywhere from point A to B, along with everything they need and more. It will be at least 50% more efficient at this task than the Model 3 (which is already twice as efficient as gas), but with 10 times the cargo space.

  • A Cybertaxi will drive you across New York City for 30 minutes at a cost of $6.

At this rate, it can make $35,000 in revenue per year.

  • A Cybertaxi will take a grandmother on the 3 hour drive from Portland to SeaTac Airport for just $60 door-to-door. No extra charge for 10 big suitcases, or even for 5 grandkids if they also want to come.

At this rate, the Cybertaxi can generate $60,000 per year, a figure close to its purchase price, which means it will effectively pay for itself within 2 years and still have over 500,000 miles of life left on the drivetrain.

Today, taking a Greyhound from New York City to Washington is $40.

  • Cybertaxi can beat Greyhound and Amtrak on price, with just 4 people in a vehicle that runs this route twice a day. It will offer departures any minute of the day (24/7), dropping everyone off and picking them up wherever they each want.

That’s $200,000+ per year in revenue per vehicle.

  • Delta Airlines will start to buy Cybertaxis in bulk to get millions of people from across Georgia to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport to catch their direct flights across the world.
  • High schools will soon adopt Cybertaxis into their bus systems, and while the students are in school, these trucks will generate revenue for the school by “ubering” people or even moving cargo across town.

Because it can move people during the day and tow cargo at night, it’s worth even more. It is the Swiss army knife of mobility — it scan switch roles on demand. Cybertruck offers more value than other vehicles based on the range of needs it can meet. A Jack-of-all-trades Cybertaxi makes a robotaxi network more efficient. Any Cybertaxi can do almost any task at any time:

  • Move People
  • Move Cargo
  • Provide Energy
  • Provide Shelter

This creates significantly more network efficiency. Every vehicle can be kept more busy.

The Cybertruck is the world’s first “Network Utility Vehicle.”

Extensibility & Ubiquity

Beyond its robotaxi earnings, the Cybertruck also comes with another new business model for Tesla. Recently, questions have arisen on various earnings calls as to whether Tesla will allow other carmakers to use its drivetrain and autonomy technology.

Elon has stated that extending the platform to other carmakers would be aligned with Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. However, the reality of another company using Tesla technology is extremely challenging. Other carmakers would need to adopt a wide variety of Tesla technologies — including batteries, drivetrains, software, and sensors — and figure out how to assemble these in highly reliable and aerodynamic form factor, at the same time competing head on with Tesla.

The Cybertruck bypasses this problem. It’s a plug-and-play platform for anyone to customize. It is the ultimate electric skateboard kit, and will create a cottage industry of RVs, campers, work vehicles, emergency vehicles, and food trucks of an ever-increasing variety that mature into industrial solutions. Building customized Cybertruck conversions will be within the reach of a huge number of players.

Tesla-made Cybertrailers that offer optional batteries will increase the extensibility of the platform and allow for completely new concepts in mobile storage, housing, energy management, and bussing. Home Depot will load small trailers with construction materials that can be transported to the job site by Cybertaxis, where they stay until they are ready to refill.

Future releases of Cybertrucks and Cybertrailers will offer an extensible platform that catalyzes a wide range of third party software and hardware solutions. This will birth a new type of ecosystem and allow for solutions never imagined at unbelievably economical price points.

Where Are the Aliens? The Machine that Builds the Cybertruck

There is one more critical layer to the Cybertruck strategy that is important to understand. And the real success of the vehicle relies upon the execution of this strategy. It’s dubbed “Alien Dreadnaught” manufacturing, and the core idea here is to design a factory to use every inch of space within four walls as efficiently as possible (until it looks like a sci-fi movie spaceship). Just as the Cybertruck is an optimization of the vehicle, an Alien Dreadnought factory is an optimization of how it is built. And the key considerations are volume and efficiency.

The Cybertruck will give Elon Musk the opportunity to work on what gets him excited, a factory designed to build millions of Cybertrucks and the batteries needed to power them at blinding speeds.

In the face of overcoming constant challenges with Tesla’s manufacturing process, for over three years, Elon’s deepest Tesla goal has not been to design the ultimate vehicle, but rather to design the ultimate factory that creates the ultimate vehicle — “the machine that builds the machine.”

This involves a “first principles” re-examination of both the manufacturing/design process and the theoretical limits to manufacturing efficiency. Elon has determined that there is potential for an order of magnitude higher efficiency than what everyone is doing now both in the manufacturing world at large and in Tesla’s Fremont factory.

With learnings from the Reno Gigafactory, Model 3 production in Fremont, and the new Shanghai factory under Tesla’s belt, Elon is now ready to level up. The milestone of a factory showcasing Tesla as the best manufacturer on earth may have already been achieved with the new Shanghai Gigafactory, but the actual goal is much more audacious. This plan is to optimize factory production efficiency, “Not by a small margin, but by a margin that people don’t even think is possible.”

While a current factory may produce 150,000 to 500,000 vehicles a year, assuming that you can achieve a 10× improvement, you now have a factory for well over 1,000,000 vehicles per year. It is this scale and efficiency that enables you to build a $40,000 vehicle that does more than any vehicle costing twice as much.

The methodology here is to create a factory that produces the most efficient and versatile vehicles, that enable the most efficient mobility networks. In parallel, you create factories designed to produce the most efficient means of sustainable energy generation and storage. Then, every month, make things better — through network optimization, software upgrades, design refinements, and manufacturing improvements.

That’s the Tesla playbook. And the Cybertruck is the MVP.

When it is released, the Cybertruck will represent the most flexible, most efficient, and safest way to move people in the history of transportation. It will provide an amazing consumer travel experience.

It is the ultimate “network utility vehicle” for an autonomous robotaxi network powered by sustainable energy.

The Cybertruck’s beauty lies beneath its skin. It is poised to become an economic masterpiece of design, engineering, and manufacturing.

Viewed through this lens, what was once strange looking, may soon become strangely beautiful.

We heard the Sermon on the Mount and I knew it was too complex.
It didn’t amount to anything more than what the broken glass reflects.
When you bite off more than you can chew you gotta pay the penalty,
Somebody’s got to tell the tale, I guess it must be up to me.
Bob Dylan, “Up To Me”

 
 
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About the Author

Rahul is cofounder & CEO of Tesloop. Based in Los Angeles, Tesloop offers a new one-way rental model for semi-autonomous Tesla vehicles, designed for travel to nearby cities. visit: tesloop.com contact: rahul@tesloop.com



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