A handful of outlets have put in early reviews of Tesla’s outlandish Cybertruck – just days after the electric pickup was finally handed over to a handful of its first American customers.
In a variety of video and written formats, journalists have drag-raced the most potent version of the Cybertruck against key rivals on the strip, while some have even taken to hitting the Tesla’s distinctive stainless-steel panels with sledgehammers, in order to test its claimed durability.
Both Hagerty and Top Gear were among those giving their thoughts on the biggest Tesla of them all, with the reviews from both overly positive.
In them, reviewers praised one of the Cybertruck’s pioneering technologies – the steer-by-wire system – while also remarking that they’d never been in any vehicle which had attracted so much attention as the Tesla.
Blitzes its opponents on the drag strip
Its outstanding performance was also confirmed when the Cybertruck easily beat key rivals such as the Rivian R1T and Hummer EV in quarter-mile drag races, with Hagerty particularly praising the Tesla’s 800-volt electrical architecture for allowing the truck to do repeated rapid runs, rather than fading away as its battery ran out.
These early favourable pieces should come as some succour to Tesla, as the Cybertruck project has not all been smooth sailing to get to this point.
For instance, it has arrived in production form two years later than the company’s CEO Elon Musk originally envisioned.
The angular Cybertruck, beset by production problems and delays, was finally revealed in a glitzy livestreamed event from Austin, Texas.
And it was the first time the electric vehicle’s (EV) data was finally confirmed to the world.
A handful of US customers took delivery of their Cybertrucks, the machines handed over by Musk himself as he said: “The future should look like the future.”
Difficult start for Cybertruck
The Cybertruck was first announced in 2019 and Musk claimed four years ago that the electric pick-up could be sold from $40,000 (less than £32,000 at today’s exchange rate), while it was also claimed the distinctive stainless-steel bodywork was bulletproof. The armoured, acoustic glass was also said to be shatterproof.
This last claim was rather embarrassingly disproven at one of Tesla’s own events in 2019, where a demonstration involving throwing a metal ball at the truck’s glass saw the window break.
With a slated delivery date of July 2021 for the first customer vehicles, the handover of the first dozen or so trucks in Austin is more than two years late — and the company is still not taking full orders, even in the US.
Instead, it will accept nominal deposits of US$100 – with a supposed potential order bank of up to one million customers already confirmed – ahead of full production eventually ramping up in 2024.
Musk said that by 2025, Tesla will be building 250,000 Cybertrucks a year.
But it will quickly need to earn its keep, regardless of this. Musk himself has already said, as recently as October this year, that Tesla has “dug its own grave” with the Cybertruck, while also admitting that the giant EV won’t be a significant cashflow contributor to the company for another 18 months at least.
However, with both the livestreamed event and the early reviews coming in, firm details about the truck’s astonishing specification have now become known.
There will be three models of Cybertruck available, with the more powerful versions available from the off. These are the dual-motor All-Wheel Drive (DM AWD) and the tri-motor Cyberbeast taking its powertrain inspiration from the Tesla Model S Plaid.
The DM AWD has a combined 599bhp from its twin motors, while a simply colossal torque figure of 7,439lb ft was cited. This is expected to be wheel torque, rather than motor torque, but it’s still a massive number — especially when you consider that a Bentley Bentayga Speed, for instance, with its 6-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 petrol engine, delivers a ‘mere’ 664lb ft.
Tesla claims the DM AWD will do up to 340 miles on a charge, while being capable of 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 112mph.
The numbers of the Cyberbeast
The Cyberbeast, though, trumps even these numbers. Its three-motor arrangement outputs a combined 844bhp, while the torque is said to be 10,302lb ft. Again, this is a wheel figure rather than motor output.
Despite weighing a goliath 3,107kg, the Cyberbeast is claimed to have a top speed of 130mph, while it will do 0-62mph in just 2.7 seconds and a standing quarter-mile in less than 11 seconds.
At the launch event, Musk showed a video of the Cyberbeast towing a Porsche 911 on a trailer and beating another Porsche 911 in a drag race while doing so.
Despite all this power, and also despite the fact that Tesla has once again refused to say exactly how big the battery pack is, the 844bhp model can still do up to 320 miles on a single charge.
To get anywhere near the 500 miles-plus range from the Cybertruck Musk claimed it would achieve back in 2019, buyers will need to opt for the “range extender”. This is basically another battery pack that is mounted in the load bed of the truck, taking the range up to 469 miles.
A single-motor Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) model will follow on in 2025, and specs for that are thinner on the ground. All we know at this stage is that it will do 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds and 112mph flat out, while the range is limited to just 250 miles.
Impressive off-road spec
Every Cybertruck will run on electronically controlled air suspension, which has 305mm of travel and can provide up to 432mm of ground clearance for the vehicle.
It’s claimed to be formidable off-road, as it runs on 20in wheels with 35in all-terrain tyres fitted to it, while its locking differentials underneath do not protrude beneath the flat floor — meaning they’re less likely to ground out or be damaged on rough ground.
An optional light bar can be fitted, with lights powerful enough to throw illumination up to 480 metres down the road.
The Cybertruck is also capable of towing up to 4,990kg, although in the UK drivers can only tow up to 3,500kg of braked trailer without needing a special licence.
Measuring 5,683mm long, 2,201mm wide and 1,791mm tall, this Tesla is no shrinking violet – its form is simply huge. That said, with a clever steer-by-wire system and rear-wheel steering, the Cybertruck’s turning circle is smaller than that of the Model S saloon according to Musk.
In that giant body, the 1,820mm long and 1,220mm wide loadbed is actually not that impressive by the standards of most European pick-up trucks. But it’s said to carry up to 1,134kg of payload, while it also features 1,897 litres of lockable load space beneath a rollover cover.
For those needing more room, the Cybertruck’s rear seats fold down and add another 1,530 litres of cargo capacity to the truck. There’s also storage space under the bonnet in the nose, but the capacity of that has not yet been specified.
Touchscreens dominate interior
The Cybertruck’s idiosyncratic stainless-steel body is a super-alloy that requires no paint. Musk says its construction is so strong that the Cybertruck has greater torsional stiffness than that of the McLaren P1 hypercar.
Despite its high and blocky form, the Cybertruck has a relatively good (for a pick-up) coefficient of drag of 0.335. This makes it about as aerodynamic as a current Range Rover.
Equipment for the US cars includes a panoramic sunroof, a 15-speaker sound system, two wireless smartphone charging pads, USB-C outlets capable of outputting an impressive 65 watts and an inbuilt high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filter that’s said to be hospital-grade.
The dashboard, meanwhile, is dominated by the impressive 18.5in “Infinity” touchscreen infotainment. Rear-seat Cybertruck passengers need not feel left out, though, as they get their own corresponding 9.4in item in the back to play with.
For its electrical architecture, this is the first Tesla product to move to an advanced 800-volt system, bringing it to parity with such EVs as the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT and various Hyundais and Kias.
This means the Cybertruck can add 128 miles of range in just 15 minutes when hooked up to a Tesla Supercharger at 250kW. There was some talk of it taking a megawatt (1,000kW DC) charging rate, like the Tesla Semi lorry, but official company websites say the current limit is 250kW.
Throughout the cabin and the loadbed, there are 120- and 240-volt power outlets which can be used for various devices and tools, while the Cybertruck can even output 11.5kW vehicle-to-grid — which Tesla says means you can “keep the lights on at home in the event of a grid outage”.
No UK confirmation as yet
A rival for the likes of the Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T and GM’s Hummer EV, the Tesla Cybertruck is now priced at $60,990 — 50 per cent more than Musk originally promised — on the company’s US website. That’s equivalent to £48,215 in the UK, though Tesla has not yet confirmed whether the truck will be sold outside of its home US market.
Even so, on the Tesla UK website, the Cybertruck is pictured alongside the Model 3 and Model Y cars, which are the only right-hand-drive Teslas customers can presently order in this country.
The Model S and Model X are now left-hand drive and special order only, and are not seen on the UK Tesla website in the same way the Cybertruck is.
There is no order option for UK customers wanting a Cybertruck, though; simply a ‘Learn’ button which gives full details on the long-awaited Tesla pick-up.
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