- All photos from Tesla's website, unless noted

Have you heard of the new Tesla Cybertruck? If not, how is the weather on Neptune? Tesla’s new electric pickup truck has consumed the internet for several days now--here’s what I think of it.

Styling & Design

Yes, we’re going there right from the start. To be honest, I don’t know what to make of the styling other than it looks completely insane, and unlike anything else on the road. I’m not sure if I like it or not, but I have to admire Tesla’s courage in making something that looks this wild. Also, it’s hard to think of a lower bar for styling than the current crop of full-size pickup trucks--it’s more original and attractive than they are, at least.

Actually, my biggest problem with this truck is how little innovation there is. Yes, the styling is crazy and unique, but the rest of the design shows, in my opinion, very little in the way of groundbreaking technology. After all, the Rivian R1T has Rivian’s modular “Skateboard” architecture, and the Bollinger B2 takes advantage of the lack of engine by having a full pass-through from the bed to the front, to carry extra-long objects. Meanwhile, all the Tesla offers is an electric quad bike in the bed, a supposedly bulletproof exterior, and supposedly impenetrable windows that penetrated instantly at the truck’s reveal when struck by a small metal ball. The only groundbreaking part of this truck is the stainless steel exterior that refuses to rust--but I can’t help but think that this probably added too many zeros to the price tag and too many pounds to the curb weight. Also, have you seen the windows on this thing? How on Earth are you supposed to see out of it?

The Rivian Skateboard Architecture. Photo from Rivian.com

The Rivian Skateboard Architecture. Photo from Rivian.com

The Bollinger full-body passthrough. Photo: Bollingermotors.com

The Bollinger full-body passthrough. Photo: Bollingermotors.com

The Tesla’s impenetrable windows. Photo: Carscoops.com

The Tesla’s impenetrable windows. Photo: Carscoops.com

Statistics

Here’s where the Cybertruck starts to gain back some ground. The top-spec model will supposedly go from 0-60 in less than 2.9 seconds and go for 500 miles between charges. These are incredible numbers for any vehicle; from a pickup, they are simply mind-blowing. But even the cheaper models more than hold their own, with projected ranges of between 250 and 300 miles, and projected 0-60 times of between 6.5 and 4.5 seconds. If Tesla can deliver on these claims (and history suggests they can), then the statistics will serve as a compelling argument for buying one. However, as Doug DeMuro pointed out in his excellent video on the Cybertruck, when stacked up against traditional pickups, its value proposition doesn’t really make sense. In the end, I suspect the statistics will not be the reason people buy one of these: You either like it, or you don’t, and statistics are unlikely to sway you in one direction or the other.

Verdict

Before I deliver my conclusion, I have to say I’m not a Tesla hater. In fact, it really annoys me when car enthusiasts whine incessantly about how they hate Teslas because they are electric cars, or because of some ridiculous and ill-informed belief about Tesla drivers. But overall, I’m not really sold on this thing. I think it has many good points, and I don’t hate the styling as much as some people (although I did when it first came out). But I think that Tesla focused too much on the styling and the “bulletproof” exterior, and too little on things that the prospective buyers would actually care about. No doubt that Tesla’s fanbase will snap them up, but to everyone else, I suspect that the truck’s value shortcomings and highly divisive styling mean that the Cybertruck won’t have nearly the impact of the Model S or Model 3. I think that the upcoming electric Ford F-150 will have a much easier time persuading pickup truck buyers to switch to electric power.

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