Tech

Transportation of the Future: The Cybertruck

Despite a hiccup with the testing of the Cybertruck’s “bulletproof” — but apparently not “shatterproof” — windows, Elon Musk has proven that yet again that Tesla will drive the future forward faster. While this isn’t the first time something has blown up in his face (I’m looking at you, SpaceX rocket explosions), Musk has proven himself trustworthy in overcoming setbacks and proving the haters wrong. 

Deviating from Tesla’s traditional naming system (Model 3, S, X, Y…), the Cybertruck is uniquely named. Despite the emerging memes mocking the simplistic design of the Cybertruck, it’s certainly not your average pickup. By comparison, mass-market trucks like the Ford F-series have some work to do when it comes to innovative design and environmental friendliness. There’s no question that some traditional truck buyers will struggle with Musk’s edgy conception of trucks, but the renovation is long overdue. When driving a Cybertruck, no one is going to mistake your ride for anything other than a Tesla Cybertruck… or a DeLorean.

In addition to the Cybertruck’s unique and futuristic appearance, it also has spectacular specs and standard software, including Tesla’s Autopilot. The Tri-Motor All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) Cybertruck accelerates from 0-60mph in under 2.9 seconds, faster than a Porsche 911. It also has a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds, beating the classic American truck, the Ford F-150. As much as I love the American spirit of the Ford trucks, Tesla’s truck is just a step ahead, and Musk continues to show the beauty of American innovation that calls the status quo into question. In a battle between the Ford and Tesla, the Tesla literally pulled the Ford uphill, and that’s what the Cybertruck will be doing to the truck market.

While the limitation on all-electric cars and trucks continues to be their range, Tesla has claimed that the Tri-Motor Cybertruck has a shockingly high projected range of 500 miles. It will be interesting to see what the actual range is, especially when the truck is carrying a load. Range could easily become a weakness for the Cybertruck. 

Despite the Cybertruck’s impressive capabilities, the question remains whether the market for an electric truck exists. One 2018 study showed that 9% of mid-size pickup truck drivers and no full-size pickup truck drivers considered purchasing a hybrid truck. It’s hard to imagine that these drivers would feel differently about an all-electric truck. The Cybertruck may become more popular in urban areas for a niche group rather than the traditional rural truck-buyer demographic. The Tri-Motor Cybertruck would be a great option for men in both cities and suburbs to flex their masculinity and status in a flashy truck, which with an expected $70,000 price tag won’t be ignored. 

Only time will tell exactly how this truck will perform in sales, but as Musk announced on Twitter two days after the reveal of the truck, pre-sales were impressive, especially considering Tesla had not yet released any advertisements. At the time, 146,000 orders had been made, and 41% of those orders were for the most expensive model, the Tri-Motor AWD. However, it’s worth noting that it only costs $100 to pre-order, so many may have jumped the gun for bragging rights.

Although the Cybertruck is innovative, competitors have already started to emerge. The Cybertruck, however, is far better than its challengers. The Rivian R1T is another electric truck pickup currently available for preorder, but Rivian’s truck lacks an advanced futuristic design and looks more like an ancestor of the Cybertruck than a new competitor. Furthermore, Rivian models will likely suffer due to the name recognition, reputation, and desirability that Tesla has already built in the electric vehicle market, which is only growing as environmentally conscious, emissions-free cars grow in popularity and affordability. Tesla has an appeal that other electric vehicle manufacturers have simply failed to replicate, and it will continue to show unless other car manufacturers try to reach to Musk’s level of modernization. 

Since its release of the Roadster in 2008, Tesla has been paving the future for cars and forcing other companies to play catchup on technology, safety, and design. Tesla delivers quality, reliability, and innovation in ways that other car companies simply haven’t this far into the 21st century. The message of the electric vehicle industry is clear: if you’re not Tesla, you’re behind.

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