Tesla Cybertruck: electric pick-up to be 3% smaller for production

Published: 28 September 2020

► Tesla Cybertruck news
► Bold all-electric pick-up truck
► Wedge design, 500 miles of range 

Tesla’s promised pick-up is the shockingly angular Cybertruck – a fully electric, apocalyptically-styled flatbed with a claimed range of more than 500 miles and a price tag verging on the unbelievable. Naturally, most news of the Cybertruck is delivered to the world via Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter account.

When asked for an update on the Cybertruck, the Tesla chief gave some interesting details about the forthcoming electric pick-up and revealed some changes that’ll be made to the concept before it reaches production.  

So what’s new?

Musk said the company is working on a new air suspension for the Cybertruck, and one that’ll have longer travel for off-road use. The new suspension should, as Musk put it, make the Cybertruck ‘kick butt in Baja’.

Baja is a reference to the famous Baja 500 and 1000 desert races, regarded as one of the toughest off-road races on the planet.

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What’s more, Musk revealed the Cybertruck has also shrunk by around 3%, as its design is tweaked for production.  A lower windowsill height and lower centre line means the rear window will be larger – and sceptics who believe the sharp, angular design won’t meet pedestrian impact regulations may yet see a gentle softening of the Cybertruck’s styling.

With any luck Tesla will soon provide a reimagined render of the pick-up for those who have already pre-ordered the controversial EV. 

Tesla Cybertruck: what you need to know

The new Tesla Cybertruck is the wedgiest pick-up truck we’ve ever seen, like a break-out from the props department of Blade Runner. And it’s no concept car; Tesla is taking £100 deposits in the UK right now and US prices will reportedly start at below $40,000. That’s the equivalent of £31,000, but don’t hold your breath – UK prices will likely be a straight swap dollars for pounds when production starts in ‘late 2021.’ Take that date with a pinch of salt; Tesla has recently confirmed the forthcoming Roadster has been delayed significantly.

See the Tesla Cybertruck on video

The radically styled Cybertruck takes everything Tesla knows about electric cars and applies that knowledge to the booming pick-up segment. So you get mind-blowing acceleration as a given, with 0-60mph promised to take ‘less than 2.9 seconds’ in the fastest, tri-motor version. That’s presumably unladen, as the 1588kg payload will surely blunt performance (and range).

Speaking of range, founder Elon Musk claims a range in excess of 500 miles with the biggest battery. We’ll update this article once we know the Tesla Cybertruck’s battery capacity and more details.

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What is the Tesla Cybertruck?

This new Tesla is ‘designed to have the utility of a truck and the performance of a sports car,’ according to Musk. So it’ll tow a boat, horsebox or caravan up to six tonnes, and carry a greater load capacity than most leisure-oriented pick-ups sold in the UK. That payload of nearly 1.6 tonnes fits in a covered loadbed of 1.9 metres – and the steeply raked cover means your cargo will be out of sight of roaming eyes. Tesla naturally showed off an all-electric branded ATV quadbike to fit in the boot.

Tesla Cybertruck all-electric pick-up

What these first official photographs don’t show is the sheer size of the thing; it dwarfed even tall adults at its Californian debut, and appears considerably taller than a Ford Raptor. The Cybertruck is also bristling with storage cubbies; Tesla quotes 100 cubic feet of lockable compartments, including the ‘vault, frunk, and sail pillars.’

Even the glass is armoured to resist break-ins (though it famously smashed during the world debut, to Musk’s horror).

It’ll go off-road – an important consideration in this rough ‘n’ tough marketplace – and the air suspension adapts 10cm up or down for extra ground clearance or to adjust when fully laden.

Tesla Cybertruck: rear

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the Cybertruck is its wedge-shaped styling and origami stainless steel construction: it’s more Italian styling house circa 1973 than California 2019. Just goes to show Musk’s endless appetite for surprising the car industry and turning automotive conventions on their head.

Musk claimed in a tweet (above) that the pick-up was inspired by the Lotus Esprit from the James Bond franchise (not the first time he’s referenced this particular slice of Giugiaro-designed wedge). The ‘ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel’ bodywork is designed to be tough, easy to manufacture and echo the shiny cool of a DeLorean; it was also developed in conjunction with Musk’s SpaceX team to be one of the most durable materials known to mankind in 2019. 

Why the long wait? When can I buy the Tesla pick-up?

The fully-refundable £100 deposits being taken from November 2019 will get your name on the waiting list for the Cybertruck. Firm orders and configurations will then commence ‘as production nears in late 2021,’ according to Tesla. ‘Tri Motor AWD production is expected to begin in late 2022,’ although you should be aware that Tesla has a poor record of letting launch dates slip significantly, and there’s usually a long delay for right-hand drive production. 

Cybertruck specs and details: RWD or AWD

Three models will be available on the Tesla pick-up at launch, and it’s worth noting that the range-topper is the first production Tesla to get three motors, with one up front and an individual motor at each rear wheel for even more startling performance:

  • Single Motor Rear-Wheel Drive  250-mile range, 6.5sec 0-60mph, 110mph top speed, 3400kg towing capacity
  • Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive  300-mile range, 4.5sec 0-60mph, 120mph top speed, 4535kg towing capacity
  • Tri Motor All-Wheel Drive  500-mile range, 2.9sec 0-60mph, 130mph top speed, 6350kg towing capacity

How much is the Tesla Cybertruck?

No official UK prices yet, but it’s clear the cheapest pick-up will be the rear-wheel drive, single motor model. Tesla has now confirmed US pricing:

  • Single Motor Rear-Wheel Drive  $39,900 (£31,000)
  • Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive  $49,900 (£39,000)
  • Tri Motor All-Wheel Drive  $69,900 (£54,000)

Full-autonomous, self-driving tech will be an extra at £5800 in the UK, according to the official sales website

The interior of the Cybertruck packs space for six adults, with three-abreast seating in both rows. It’s a typically minimalist Tesla cabin, with barely any switchgear visible at all in this first cabin photograph (below). Note also the radically futuristic steering wheel that has more in common with arcade games than 2019-spec road cars.

Tesla Cybertruck interior: space for six passengers

The touchscreen is a huge 17-inches in size, as Tesla ramps up its digital touchpoints and tries to stay ahead of the likes of Ford, which this week confirmed a suspiciously familiar 15in screen for its new Mustang Mach-E electric car.

These pictures are all digitally enhanced renderings, so it will be interesting to tease out the finer details in the coming months.

This is a breaking news story and we’ll be updating this article as we learn more about the Tesla Cybertruck, which will challenge pick-up EV upstarts such as the all-electric Rivian R1T.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet