2021 Tesla Cybertruck - mad electric pickup with 500-mile range

  • 500 mile range, three electric motors, huge torque
  • Deliveries set to start in 2021, deposits being taken now
  • Looks like an '80s sci-fi prop - but Tesla has over 200,000 pre-orders

If you think electric car pioneer Elon Musk's visionary style is a vital driving force for progress you may want to reconsider, as it looks like Tesla's latest production concept - a Ford- F-150-sized electric pickup with Model S-aping performance - has been inspired by watching reruns of 1980s sci-fi movies while listening to Gunship. It's called the Tesla Cybertruck, for goodness' sake.

Oh, who are we kidding. This armour-glass, stainless steel monolith proves Elon Musk probably has a lair. In a mountain. With henchmen.

How much does the Tesla Cybertruck cost?

Jokes aside, on paper the Cybertruck makes a great deal of sense in the face of rivals from Rivian and Bollinger, plus the as-yet-undetermined nature of the Ineos Grenadier.

The intention is to sell it at three price points - $39,900 with a rear-wheel drive single motor setup and short range battery (around 250 miles), $49,900 with four-wheel drive, two motor configuration, and finally a three-motor high-performance model for $69,900 - which is where Rivian expects its range to start; the ambitiously-boxy (but undeniably clever) Bollinger B2 is set to cost nearly twice that.

Full UK pricing hasn't been announced, but you can place a £100 deposit already if you're interested in ordering one. In the USA it's a $100 deposit. Autonomous driving costs an extra £5,800, like other Teslas.

Are there any technical details of the Tesla Cybertruck?

Equipped with three motors the Cybertruck can haul - in US terms, 14,000lbs, or 6,350kg (more than the entire gross train weight of most British-market pickups).

And it can haul ass, with a claimed 0-60mph time of 2.9 seconds for the same tri-motor model.

Tesla Cybertruck, before the apocalypse

That's fairly standard for Tesla's higher-performance electric vehicles, and for all the far-fetched claims we've seen from the EV pioneer, generally a Tesla will deliver on range, performance and power claims in the real world. Which makes the Cybertruck rather more interesting as an actual vehicle.

Even the most affordable one should be able to tow over three tonnes (3,000kg), reach 62 mph in under seven seconds, and achieve a range over 250 miles.

Air suspension provides adjustable ground clearance, up to 400mm, and off-road performance is further bolstered by apporach and departure angles of 35 and 28 degrees respectively.

What's more, payload is said to be 1,588kg - comfortably more than any pickup currently on sale in the UK, though whether you'd need something more than a standard UK driving licence to drive such a potent Cybertruck remains to be seen.

What is the Tesla Cybertruck made of?

The monocoque body breaks with traditional truck construction, and is clad in a hard stainless-steel alloy that is supposed to shrug-off dents from rocks, trees and dystopian vigilantes and gangs. Almost pyramid-shaped, the glasshouse is straight from the late-1970s copybook for concept car design, and allegedly uses Tesla's armoured glass.

The stainless-steel alloy bodied Tesla Cybertruck

Allegedly. During the launch event, a demonstration proved that if the post-apocalyptic zombies you're running from are armed with small steel pellets, they'll get into your Cybertruck faster than you can say 'puppies and kittens'... We can probably chalk that up to repeated testing, or just bad luck; for most users the need for bulletproof glass is probably eclipsed by the clever in-tailgate loading ramps.

Tesla Cybertruck six-seater interior - room to wear a hat?

What might put any serious users off, other than the overall styling, is the integrated side panel and roller shutter, which Tesla refer to as the 'vault'. With no sense of scale in the images, they look intrusive - in reality this is a big pickup with a bed length of 1.9 metres, and the sides still leave more room than most UK-market trucks can offer. However, they do look like they'll limit how far you can modify the Cybertruck for specialist purposes. A cover and camping solution is shown, but it's far from elegant...

Tesla Cybertruck Rear view

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Cybertruck is not the material it's made of, or the styling, or even that suspiciously low starting price - it's the fact that you can go to the UK website and configure a Tesla Cybertruck (well, choose) right now - and place a £100 deposit to secure your order for delivery in 2021 (2022 for tri-motor versions).

Could the Cybertruck really reach production like this?

If you're in any doubt as to the potential for the Cybertruck to succeed, Tesla report over 200,000 pre-orders in a matter of days - helped, no doubt by videos like this that show the Cybertruck next to a real-world Ford F 150 and demonstrating the benefits of traction and torque...

 

There are a few details that do seem at odds with mass-prodution, though - most obviously for European buyers, the full-width front lighting strip, and the theoretical performance of that angular front end in pedestrian safety tests. Similarly, the shape of the front side windows would pose some challenges, though nothing that's insurmountable.

Rear lighting, including concealed lights for when the tailgate is down similar to some Audi SUVs (and the Vauxhall insignia Estate) looks production-ready, though... and there are driveable prototypes, as seen at the launch.

An armoured, stainless-steel, six-seater truck for $39,900, with a low deposit and delivery 'sometime in the near future'? A cynic would wonder if Elon Musk even expects there to be a world to deliver the trucks to...

Elon Musk "Cybertruck pressurized edition on Mars"

We really hope we're all still around to drive the Tesla Cybertruck when it comes to the UK - come back soon for more details as they become available.

Also read:

>> New pickups coming soon

>> The Parkers guide to electric vans

>> The Parkers pickup group test