What Is the Tesla Cybertruck (and What’s The Point of It?)

July 6, 2020 • Devin Partida


With the launch of the company’s Model S, Tesla shot ahead of the competition to become one of the best-known electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers on the market. Then, last year, the company made one of its biggest announcements yet — one of the first fully electric pickup truck, dubbed the Tesla Cybertruck. 

Reactions to the announcement were mixed, with 71% of Americans unsure or outright disliking the vehicle. The Cybertruck’s electric engine and unique design led some to wonder what the point of the new truck was.

Here is everything experts know about the Cybertruck right now and who Tesla is likely targeting with this new car.

What Is the Tesla Cybertruck?

The Tesla Cybertruck is a fully electric pickup truck, one of the first to be announced. It can tow up to 14,000 pounds and has an estimated driving range of more than 500 miles. The model is unparalleled among pickups. Tesla Cybertruck pictures show an immediately recognizable angular design with a scratch- and dent-resistant stainless steel construction that has led some to describe it as “Blade Runner-esque.” 

The Tesla Cybertruck interior is extremely spacious and can fit up to six people. The bed — referred to as “the vault” by Tesla — is similarly large and features a unique roller shutter cover. The vault also has LED lights that run along each side, a compressed air outlet for pneumatic tools and a set of powered outlets. The air suspension on the truck is adjustable and allows for up to 16 inches of ground clearance.

The vehicle seems to address common complaints about electric trucks — like that they aren’t as powerful as standard gas or diesel options. Single- and dual-motor Cybertrucks can tow 7,500 and 10,000 pounds, respectively. The triple-motor model can tow an incredible 14,000 pounds — more than a Ford F-150 or 2020 RAM 1500. All three will also have a payload capacity of 3,500 pounds. 

The Cybertruck boasts speedy acceleration. Tesla says the vehicle can go from zero to 60 in just 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 130 miles per hour. Each truck will come with Tesla’s self-driving Autopilot tech, and buyers can upgrade to a fully self-driving model for another $7,000.

The truck’s design may likely target those on the fence about electric pickups. While many startups and big-name manufacturers plan to roll out electric models, there’s not a lot of evidence that truck owners are interested in electric vehicles. The power, utility and speed that the Cybertruck offers, plus its sturdy design, may be enough to entice customers who would usually overlook electric.

Despite mixed reactions to the truck’s announcement and a few advertising gaffes from Tesla — like a demonstration of the Cybertruck’s bulletproof windows that ended with shattered glass — pre-order data suggests that the vehicle is on track to be another success for Tesla. According to current estimates, as many as 600,000 people have already pre-ordered the truck in the months since its announcement.

How Much Will the Cybertruck Cost?

Tesla has said that the cheapest Cybertruck model, the single-motor option, will cost around $39,900. While that’s the norm for a new pickup truck, it is much less expensive than many of the electric models that will hit the market soon — like the Rivian R1T, which experts expect to start at around $69,000.

More expensive models will come with more powerful engines. The dual-motor Cybertruck will start at $49,9000, while the triple-motor truck will start at $69,900.

Production on the single- and dual-motor Cybertrucks will begin towards the end of 2021. The more powerful triple-motor truck will go into production in 2022.

What to Expect From Tesla’s Electric Cybertruck

While there is still a lot people don’t know about the Tesla Cybertruck — the EPA hasn’t rated the truck yet, so there’s only Tesla’s driving range estimate to go off of — enthusiasts know most of the basics. This vehicle will be one of the first electric trucks to market, as well as one of the least expensive and most powerful. 

If it can appeal to truck drivers and electric vehicle enthusiasts, the Cybertruck could propel Tesla ahead of the competition and further cement the company as the leader of the EV market.