Wild statement, I know, but let's start at the beginning. When most car manufacturer's reveal a concept car, it looks cool at the time but once it finally makes it to production the car has usually been neutered and is a creative husk of its former self. This is not the case with the Cybertruck, as Tesla has delivered a truck that is nearly identical to the one that was revealed about four years ago in November of 2019. While barely changing since that initial reveal, the truck introduces various technologies that are totally new to the industry. The importance of this is huge, and when we look back at the Cybertruck we will point to it as a indicator of the future.
Talking about Elon Musk is not the purpose of this article. A divisive character, I respect his goals and ability to deliver products that traditional companies are jealous of. Just like Henry Ford, he is pushing boundaries and pissing people off along the way.
The Exterior is The Least Crazy Part
This truck, much like the CEO of Tesla, has the automotive community divided. Some people like the look, some don't. I appreciate how unique it is, and admire a world where you can buy a vehicle that looks like nothing else on the road. Pretty much every journalist that has gotten their hands on one of these agrees that it gets more attention on the road than anything else... including Italy's finest Ferrari's and Lamborghini's. People simply don't know what it is. Everyone will be scrambling to get their phone camera out to take a picture and post it on social media... just to have a piece of the "coolness."
Quick Stats: Cybertruck by the Numbers
- The Cybertruck, despite being 7 inches longer, 4 inches wider, and having way more horsepower than a Rivian R1T electric truck... weighs 60 pounds less.
- The Cybertruck ran a quarter mile in 11 seconds flat at 119 mph, hitting 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. This beat the R1T quad motor's 11.7 second @ 110 mph time. It also handily beat the 1000HP Hummer EV which ran the quarter mile in 11.9 seconds.
- The Cybertruck managed to repeatedly run drag racing attempts while only losing about 0.3 seconds to 60 from full charge to 30%. This consistency is new to EV's.
- The Cybertruck weighs 2,599 pounds less than the GMC Hummer EV. This means you'd have to put an original Tesla Roadster in the bed of the Cybertruck for the weight to be equal.
- The Cybertruck has a battery pack that is about half the size of the Hummer's. The EPA says the Hummer is about 50% as efficient as the Cybertruck.
- Range of 250-340 miles, available towing capacity of 11,000 pounds, and weight of 6603 or 6843 pounds depending on configuration.
The exterior of this truck is made of what Tesla calls "HFS" which means Hard Fu**ing Steel. On a traditional car, the exterior panels are somewhat bendable metal. The Cybertruck adopts a design that is from the insect world called an Exoskeleton where the body is part of the structure. The skin is so tough that the truck doesn't even need side impact door panels. Seem crazy? It is.
"The apocalypse could come along at any moment, and here at Tesla we have the finest in apocalypse technology." - Elon Musk
A crash test video shows that a 3100 pound cart going 33.5 mph barely deformed the stainless steel exoskeleton. It didn't even break the truck's door glass. This is the same company that built the Model S, a car that was so strong it broke the crash test cart.
Tesla has had to delay the Cybertruck many times. This gets a lot of attention in the media, but this makes sense when considering how new the design is. The original concept Cybertruck shown back in 2019 was about 5% larger than the production one, and had about 25% more drag. Reducing this drag coefficient figure by 25% is roughly like starting with a Lexus SUV and getting it down to a McLaren F1. This is all while retaining the general shape of the original concept.
The 4680 battery cells that are used in the Cybertruck are much more efficient than the 2170 battery cells developed with Panasonic that are used in the Model 3/Y and the off-the-shelf 18650 cells used in the Model S/X. The 4680 cells can store more energy and release power more consistently. Tesla builds these 4680 cells themselves, making them cheaper during a time where everything else is getting more expensive. Vertical integration is treating Tesla well.
Most Important Vehicle of the Decade
Yes, I stand by that. This vehicle sets a new standard. As GM and Ford fail to sell EV's at the volume they want, Tesla is repeatedly increasing their yearly sales. This truck utilizes a 48 volt architecture, as opposed to the otherwise industry standard of 12 volts (whether it is an EV or ICE car). This switch cuts the electrical current needs by 75%, meaning the Cybertruck only needs a quarter as much copper as it would had it used the old 12 volt architecture. This saves money, weight, and reduces complexity. The last time the industry bumped up voltage was from 6 to 12 volts, and this happened 70 years ago. Consider the electrical demands on a car from the 1960's to one made today. We were long overdue for an upgrade.
The hilarious part about this little story is that Tesla literally sent a folder to the CEO of every other major car company titled "How to Design a 48-Volt Vehicle."
This car is also steer by wire, which means the Cybertruck has a steering wheel that is not physically connected to the wheels, something made possible thanks to the 48 volt architecture. Nobody else has been able to put a system like this into production until now... even though the industry has been wanting to do this for decades. This unique approach to steering means that all four wheels of the Cybertruck will turn without having to take your hands off of the wheel at any point, including a three point turn, because the steering motor will output more steering at lower speeds.
If this makes you nervous, remember fly by wire has been used in planes since the early 1970s. Have you ever heard of an air disaster caused by this? Me neither. The technology is been proven, but until now the industry lacked the initiative to deliver. Tesla takes risks.
One last thing... the exoskeleton is bulletproof. The video below shows a test of this.
Thanks for reading, and please subscribe if you want quality, ad-free automotive journalism delivered to your inbox. Contact me with questions or comments. My email is on the website's "about" page. - JWK