Instantly recognizable thanks to its faceted, futuristic, almost alien design, the Tesla Cybertruck has seen its release postponed several times since its initial 2019 debut. The six-occupant pickup truck appears designed to blend a luxury EV interior, powerful, sporty performance including a 2.9-second zero to sixty for some trims, and the utility of a standard pickup into a single package.
Features and specs are still in flux as the Cybertruck advances slowly closer to a possible release within the next two years. Three or possibly four trims are currently planned, matching the three trim levels of other Tesla EVs. The base model features a single electric motor and is rear-wheel drive (RWD) only. The mid-range variant has dual-motor propulsion and is all-wheel drive (AWD). The top trim level, also AWD, is a tri-motor model, but Tesla has since revealed plans for a quad-motor variant. It’s still uncertain if this will replace the tri-motor trim or be in addition to it.
Tesla Cybertruck: Specs
Leaked prototype photos from early 2022 reveal the Tesla Cybertruck design has been polished and tweaked since its 2019 unveiling, adding side mirrors and other features needed for street legality. Reports also indicate a smaller variant of the Cybertruck is being designed to meet European EV and passenger vehicle standards. The only current dimensional information comes from the 2019 reveal, however, when the Cybertruck’s length was given as 251.7 inches, its width as 79.8 inches, and its height as 75 inches.
The Cybertruck’s doors have no visible external handles, leading to speculation it will require the use of a smartphone app to enter the vehicle, or possibly touch panels. The enormous windshield has a single windshield wiper mounted at one corner, designed to telescope in and out to different lengths as it sweeps the glass clear of rain.
The interior, which seats five passengers in addition to the driver, is designed to be roomy and offer ample leg space to all occupants. The seats are well-padded and feature leather upholstery. Extra storage compartments are located under the back seating row. The dashboard features a single 17-inch control screen that handles everything from controlling and displaying various vehicle functions to the sound system and other comfort or entertainment features.
With no exact details available yet and the Cybertruck still in advanced prototyping, a full comparison of pros and cons is not yet possible.
As a pickup truck, the Cybertruck is designed for potential use as a working vehicle as well as a passenger truck. All trims feature a 6.5-foot (78-inch) bed with a 3,500 lb payload capacity. Adaptive air suspension will enable dropping the rear four inches (or alternately raising it, or the front, by a similar amount) to make it easier to move items into or out of the bed.
Tesla describes the Cybertruck’s bed as a “vault.” Total exterior storage should be 100 cubic feet, with all storage areas lockable. The bed is sheltered under a “magic” tonneau cover Tesla says is “strong enough to stand on.” To provide access to the bed, the tonneau cover rolls up out of the way using a motorized system.
Tesla is promising the EV industry’s best pickup towing capacity to go along with the Cybertruck’s benchmark-setting acceleration, range, and robustness. The company claims the base trim (single-motor, RWD) can tow 7,500 lbs, the dual-motor trim can haul 10,000 lbs, and the towing capacity of the tri-motor or quad-motor top-end model will reach 14,000 lbs. If realized, this will enable the Cybertruck’s high-end variant to pull almost double the Lordstown Endurance’s projected 7,500-pound towing capacity.
Tesla Cybertruck: Range and Performance
Tesla claims a maximum 500-mile range for the Cybertruck both on its website and in various presentations and announcements. The baseline one-motor trim will have a range of 250 miles, according to the latest information, increasing slightly to 300 miles for the two-motor AWD mid-level option. The full 500-mile range is offered only by the tri-motor version, though with a quad-motor trim now promised, it’s unclear if this new setup will provide an even greater range or simply replace the tri-motor as the 500-mile Cybertruck.
The 500-mile range, if achieved, will put the Cybertruck firmly ahead of most, if not all, of its current competition. The planned 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV is one rival that comes close to the Cybertruck with an expected 400-mile range, sustained by its advanced lithium-ion, large-cell battery the Ultium. The 2023 GMC Sierra EV could have a similar range to the all-electric Chevy Silverado.
Other EV pickups and SUVs fall short of the 400-mile mark, leaving the Cybertruck at least speculatively in the lead. The Ford F-150 Lightning’s range is 230 miles to 300 miles depending on the battery option. The gargantuan 2022 GMC Hummer Edition 1 EV pickup truck will be able to haul its multi-ton bulk 329 miles on a full charge. The Lordstown Motors Endurance pickup will have a theoretical range of 250 miles.
While technically built as a workhorse vehicle like other pickup trucks, the Tesla Cybertruck may also manage some sporty performance, at least in its tri-motor or quad-motor incarnations. Tesla currently claims the truck will blast from a standstill to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. Given the high torque generated by EV electric motors, this acceleration may be possible despite the Cybertruck’s heft. The GMC Hummer EV is expected to basically match this performance by taking just three seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.
Rapid acceleration isn’t the only performance trick within the Cybertruck’s capabilities. Though not unique to the vehicle, it will be able to “CrabWalk,” according to Elon Musk’s tweets, along with turning in place like a tank.
The CrabWalk feature debuted on the GMC Hummer EV allows low-speed diagonal driving by turning the rear wheels at the same angle as the front wheels. The feature is intended for maneuvering in confined spaces, such as edging around a boulder or hairpin canyon turn while off-roading or slipping more easily into a parallel parking space in the city. In Hummer’s case, CrabWalk is only usable under 20 mph.
Turning 360° in place should also be within the capabilities of the Cybertruck according to Musk. Featured on the Rivian R1T pickup truck, this so-called “tank turn” requires a few feet of forwarding space to be initiated, but then enables pivoting the truck in place without otherwise moving forward or backward. The feature is believed to need a fairly slick, loose surface under the EV to work, such as mud, sand, or possibly soft dirt.
The following range and performance summary are preliminary and subject to change:
- Single motor trim: 250 miles range, tows 7,500 lbs, 0-60 6.5 seconds.
- Dual-motor trim: 300 miles range, tows 10,000 lbs, 0-60 4.5 seconds.
- Tri-motor (quad-motor?) trim: 500 miles range, tows 14,000 lbs, 0-60 2.9 seconds.
Tesla Cybertruck Safety
The Tesla Cybertruck doesn’t just turn like a tank, it is very nearly built like one, too. Eschewing body over frame construction, the Cybertruck will feature what Tesla describes as a “nearly impenetrable exoskeleton” fabricated from stainless steel. This massive, rigid outer box, forming a single, apparently welded casing making up much of the structure and fully surrounding the passenger cabin, should provide heavy-duty armor for the vehicle’s occupants against crashes and impacts from any direction.
The cold-rolling process used in manufacturing the “ultra-hard” stainless steel for the Cybertruck explains the vehicle’s faceted shape, given the problems of cold-rolling curves or bends in the metal. Tesla hasn’t revealed exactly what its stainless steel alloy contains, describing it as “30X” stainless steel, with typical steels designated by numbers such as 301, 304, and so forth.
Cold rolled steel has high tensile strength and a smooth surface. Besides the protection theoretically given to the passengers, the Cybertruck’s steel carapace is intended to stubbornly resist rusting, dents, dings, and gouges.
To fill the gaps in its stainless steel exoskeleton the Tesla Cybertruck will include a windshield and windows made from the company’s Armor Glass. Tesla Armor Glass was originally developed to make the Tesla Semi truck’s windshield better able to withstand the rigors of long-range trucking. While the glass famously broke when Elon Musk attempted to demonstrate its toughness during the Cybertruck’s unveiling, the company says its layering of polymer and reinforced glass shows good resistance to impacts.
Tesla Cybertruck Price
With the Tesla Cybertruck’s price removed from the official website, all pricing figures should be viewed as guesswork. Prices listed on the website earlier are as follows:
- Single motor RWD: $39,900
- Dual-motor AWD: $49.900
- Tri-motor AWD: $69,900
A Cybertruck can currently be reserved for a fully refundable $100. With reservations now estimated at 1.5 million vehicles, Tesla has ended reservation availability for Europe and Asia, with only North American customers still allowed to reserve the electric pickup.