2021 Tesla Cybertruck
- Late 2021
What to expect
- A six-seat crew cab pickup that's roughly the size of a Ford F-150
- Single-motor and dual-motor available at launch; tri-motor model with insane specs arrives a year later
- Towing capacity of 7,500 pounds (single-motor) to 10,000 pounds (dual-motor)
- Range of 250 miles (single-motor) to 300 miles (dual-motor)
- Launches the first-generation Cybertruck
What is the Cybertruck?
The Tesla Cybertruck should be a no-brainer — take the inherent qualities of a utilitarian pickup, swap the engine for a battery pack and call it a day. But then, that's not the way Tesla approaches a new vehicle, is it? With the angularity of a paper airplane, zero rounded surfaces and a sharply peaked roof, the Cybertruck looks like no truck you've ever seen. The unpainted stainless steel bed and cab are fully integrated into one unit using unibody construction.
It's not just the odd styling that makes it unique, though. There are no external mirrors, which are required under current regulations. There aren't even camera pods. The wheel spokes extend over the tire sidewalls, too, which doesn't work outside the confines of a design studio — especially on a truck where such spokes can literally ground out.
Still, the Cybertruck is undeniably a bold departure from the norm, and some of us are already smitten. It's going to be quite a sight on the road.
What's under the Cybertruck's hood?
Three versions of the Cybertruck will be offered: base single-motor rear-wheel-drive, dual-motor all-wheel-drive and tri-motor all-wheel-drive models. The single-motor base model will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and cover about 250 miles between charges, Tesla says. Next up is the dual-motor all-wheel-drive Tesla truck, which will reportedly accelerate to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and provide a range of 300 miles. The top-level tri-motor all-wheel-drive model will be delivered a year after the initial launch. Tesla claims it will be capable of accelerating to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and covering 500 miles between plug-ins.
How's the Cybertruck's interior?
As wild as the exterior, the interior of the Cybertruck is full of unconventional design cues and unique touches. The cabin is large, with seating for six below a massive panoramic sunroof. There's a minimalist design language with few buttons and knobs, and a low dashboard allows for expansive visibility. As we've come to expect from Tesla, a large infotainment screen sits front and center and will likely control many of the vehicle's functions, including climate control and navigation. The steering wheel shown in the initial unveil looks more like a video game controller or Formula 1 wheel than what you'd find in any other car. It's essentially shaped like a rectangle, but without a top portion to connect the two vertical sides. We expect this to look a bit different when the Cybertruck goes into production.
How's the Cybertruck's towing and hauling?
The Tesla Cybertruck's ratings of 7,500 pounds (single-motor), 10,000 pounds (dual-motor) and 14,000 pounds (tri-motor) seem quite competitive compared to what you get from current 1500-series pickups. Thing is, we're not convinced an all-electric pickup can actually do that in practice. Why? A Model X is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, but we had trouble towing a featherweight trailer with our long-term test vehicle. To be clear, the physical act of pulling the load wasn't an issue at all; the trouble will likely be range and recharging. Just like towing with a gasoline-powered vehicle, efficiency when towing is twice as bad, or more, so we can only imagine the range depletion that'll be brought on by towing 10,000 pounds or more in a Cybertruck.
The Cybertruck's payload capacity is listed at 3,500 pounds, which is impressive. Like, heavy-duty impressive. We do wonder if the unladen ride can be truly comfortable with that kind of capacity, even with an adjustable air suspension.
We're fans of electric vehicles, and we also like the utility offered by pickup trucks. But all bets are off here because the Tesla Cybertruck's radical design is not going to fit into any existing molds or conform to known expectations. The specs look good, and the prices fit into what people already seem willing to pay for a truck, but the dramatically conceptual nature of the truck itself leaves us with numerous questions. Needless to say, we can't wait to drive one.