It would have been difficult to avoid the news of Tesla's new truck, if not for the build up, then for the fallout. I too was swept up in the noise and bubbling that occurred on the internet at the eventual emergence of Tesla's new Cybertruck, quickly declaring it akin to a primary school origami project I once made.
It's very, very difficult to not recoil at the vehicle's styling and how it thumbs its nose at conventional design, sticking its tongue out disrespectfully. It is different, to make an understatement. But there had to be some kind of method of thinking to simply look at conventions and snap them so callously over the knee.
The vehicle itself looks like a prop from a 1980's science fiction movie, when designers of the time were instructed to guess what kind of cars people would drive in the future. And here we are, 30 years later. I cannot help but feel the clue is in its name; Cybertruck - evoking the name of the table-top role playing game from the 1980's, a game which spawned a genre in itself, and influenced countless movies.
I don't feel that the truck would be too far out of place if it were drawn into some Cyberpunk artwork, or even if it were a prop in the 1982 cult movie Blade Runner.
Although I sincerely hope that Telsa founder, Elon Musk, isn't predicting a dystopian future by deploying the Cybertruck by the period that the Cyberpunk 2020 game is set.
The shape itself does lend to other perks, aside from vulgar appearances. The triangular roof line makes the peak right above the driver's head, and from the account from Marques Brownlee on YouTube, the cabin is quite a spacious place to ride.
Yet, it is understandable why Tesla would be this rough against the grain. The segment for trucks is stitched up, in Australia at least, by Ford Rangers and Toyota Hiluxes. With the Cybertruck, I feel that Tesla isn't targeting the tradesperson who would use the vehicle professionally, as much as they are seeking the family that would carry loads of equipment.
If they stuck to a more conventional design, like propping up a P100D on stilts, they wouldn't get any attention from people looking at typical utility vehicles. It would just be some pretender. Tesla had to be outlandish for anyone to take a second look. And outlandish, they were.
Ultimately, the proof of a truck's pudding is in the beating it can take. When considering a vehicle of this kind, my main questions are about towing, but mainly payload. When news arose of Tesla looking to a truck, my immediate thought was on its ability to carry heavy gear. A vehicle's kerb weight can greatly impede its payload, and with all the batteries a Tesla requires, I was sceptical on just how well it lifts, bro.
Tesla claim a 3500 pound (about 1500kg) payload, and a 7500 pound (3400kg) towing capacity. I do applaud them for these kinds of numbers, and it must be quite a feat of engineering.
*Note: As observed by Max Newman in the comments below, the Cybertruck's towing capacity is 14,000 pounds (6350kg) for the tri-motor variant. The numbers above were for the single-motor model.
Other question marks I would have relate to its safety credentials. The on-stage display of swinging a sledgehammer at the truck's door, leaving it unscathed, was impressive, however as vehicles are designed to crumple to disperse energy for the sake of occupants, I will be curious on how the vehicle measures up in crash testing.
Furthermore, just how rugged is this truck? Rocky outcrops? River crossings? There seems to be quite a marked ground clearance, but would the batteries present any issues with these kinds of terrains? These are questions, I am sure, that will be answered over time.
My initial revulsion at Cybertuck's reveal has now softened somewhat, although to a feeling of slight confusion. I can see why Tesla went down this path, and part of me does applaud them for being so bold. The other part of me is still damn confused.
There is little that one could say that could sway anyone else on this topic, though. Cybertruck has astounded, even revolted, people. Minds have been made up. Time is going to have to determine whether Tesla's vision was so far ahead that it predicted what people truly wanted, or if Cyberpunk's vision was so brilliant to foresee what dystopia is being foisted on us.
I'm on the fence.