Tesla's $50K+ 340-mile Cybertruck is ready to survive the apocalypse

Tesla's $50K+ 340-mile Cybertruck is ready to survive the apocalypse
By: New Atlas Posted On: November 30, 2023 View: 131

Some people have been on tenterhooks since the last speck of light vanished from the Tesla Design Studio on the evening of November 21, 2019. Some hoped it would never happen at all. It's been just over four years, and the wait is officially over. The Tesla Cybertruck is here and it's already headed out onto Texas roadways in the sweaty, shaking hands of the very first buyers. It's still big, and aggressive, and weird like nothing else out there ... and it sort of manages to outdo the 2019 hype while falling short on a few key specs. Discover how this beast is "more truck than truck while also being a better sports car than a sports car."

"The apocalypse could come along at any moment," Elon Musk said jokingly this afternoon at the Cybertruck delivery event in Austin, Texas. More than ever, those words seemed to linger in the shadows beyond the stage, seemingly the exact place from whence the Cybertruck idea and final production specification came.

The production Cybertruck is a bit shinier and less raw than the original but still an imposing, forward-set wedge with a sharp center crease slicing it into upper and lower halves built from panels so flat you could iron a shirt on them. That's Tesla-designed stainless steel alloy Musk says didn't exist prior to the Cybertruck and can't be stamped because it would break the stamping machine (hence the rough, angular shape). Musk claims the steel exoskeleton gives the truck more torsional stiffness than a McLaren P1.

Battered but not full of holes
Battered but not full of holes

Tesla

Rather than just telling us it's bulletproof, he showed video of it taking rounds from several machine guns, including a classic Capone-style Tommy gun – CT flanks severely dented, but not pierced through.

As for the infamous "impact-resistant" glass that didn't resist anything last go-round, Tesla was able to side-skirt its image-shattering blunders of 2019. The ball that design chief Franz von Holzhausen tossed did in fact bounce off the glass without leaving any impact craters or spidering. It looked the part of a baseball but seemed to bounce suspiciously high on the first throw that accidentally hit the metal edge below the window ... a training ball, maybe?

To put more specifics to it, Tesla's website says the "armor" glass can handle a baseball thrown at 70 mph (113 km/h) or Class 4 hail, while delivering ride-enhancing acoustic isolation around the cabin. We don't suggest you try hurling anything too hard at it, though.

We've learned people are going to love or hate Tesla's first-of-its-kind take on pickup truck styling, and we don't see anything different enough with the production design to sway many from one camp to the other. The shimmering stainless steel body stands atop larger front and rear bumpers and has a slightly smoother, curvier face, but overall, it's still the brash, brutalist monolith of metal you've probably come to love or hate.

The Tesla Cybertruck braves the cold
The Tesla Cybertruck braves the cold

Tesla

Tesla didn't get too far into the meaty buffet of specs at today's event, instead skipping straight to dessert in highlighting just how ready the truck is for both all-out adrenaline-spiking performance and nuts-and-bolts utility. It followed up with more info on its website, detailing three planned specs. The entry-level rear-wheel-drive variant will offer up to 250 miles (402 km) per charge, debuting in 2025 at a target price of US$60,990, which Tesla estimates will drop just under $50K with government EV incentives ($49,890 is that exact estimate).

Moving up the ladder, the two all-wheel-drive variants start with a basic model that will roam up to 340 miles (547 km) a charge while putting out up to 600 hp and sprinting from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 4.1 seconds. Delivery is planned for a 2024 start at a base price of $79,990 ($68,890 after incentives).

The all-wheel-drive 'Cyberbeast' will offer line-topping specs in all but driving range, offering 845 hp, scorching the 0-60 mph in a mere 2.6 seconds (down from the 2.9-sec estimate of 2019), and continuing on to an equally impressive sub-11 quarter-mile sprint. The 'beast, which will offer up to 320 miles (515 km) of driving per charge, will cost a cool $99,990, or $96,390 if you enjoy the IRS incentive package Tesla has in mind.

For journeys like this, you'll probably want to add the range-extender option
For journeys like this, you'll probably want to add the range-extender option

Tesla

Those looking for more range on either of the two AWD Cybertrucks will be able to opt for a range-extender battery pack that rides in the pickup bed like a toolbox. Tesla estimates a top range up to 470 miles (756 km) with this option.

Both AWD variants boast a Rivian-matching 11,000-lb (4,990-kg) towing capacity, and Tesla estimates a F-150 Lightning-besting 2,500-lb (1,134-kg) payload. Potential work customers may not love how the triangular box walls prevent them from quick-grabbing tools from the left or right side, but they should respond approvingly to those bottom-line figures.

The Cybertruck cleans up its mess
The Cybertruck cleans up its mess

Tesla

Hard-working prospective buyers should also like the 6 x 4-foot (1.8 x 1.2-m) composite bed with 67 total cubic feet (1,897 L) of space lockable via the retractable tonneau and the 120/240-V outlets ready to output up to 11.5 kW of power for tools, equipment or home backup.

At today's delivery event, Tesla showed video of the Cybertruck out-towing not only EV competitors in the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T but even a Ford F-350 HD. And that was just moments before it showed a separate video of the Cybertruck outpacing a 2023 Porsche 911 in the quarter-mile ... while towing a second 911 on a trailer.

The Cybertruck boasts plenty of advantages when leaving race track for rally dirt, too. Its four-corner adaptive air suspension can adjust ride height for up to 17 inches (43 cm) of clean ground clearance, besting the 16 it mentioned in 2016 and beating out Rivian's 15 inches (38 cm) to take the market lead for factory vehicles, electric or not.

Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla

Tesla also adds that the truck has locking differentials, rear torque vectoring, four-wheel steering and a steer-by-wire system that adjusts ratios for precise low-speed maneuvering and high speed stability.

While the Cybertruck will attract gawkers from outside, its interior will calm those who enter, with a neat, simple cockpit focused around an 18.5-in touch widescreen infotainment display. A 9.4-in rear central display delivers entertainment to the passengers in back, and a 15-speaker surround sound system dials in the acoustics. Or, all passengers are free to enjoy the show above through the glass roof.

Super clean, simple cockpit with 18.5-in infotainment screen
Super clean, simple cockpit with 18.5-in infotainment screen

Tesla

We'll undoubtedly have more Cybertruck content in the coming days. In the meantime, you can decide if the Cybertruck design supports Elon's contention that, "The future will look like the future."

Source: Tesla

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