An impressive amount of anticipation had been mounting across Tesla fanatics and the industry alike, leading up to Tesla’s new “pickup truck” reveal Thursday night.
Though speculation was rampant, actual knowledge of what was coming was bone dry.
When it was driven on stage, it may be fair to say that the Cybertruck stunned almost everyone. As outlined in the beginning of Elon’s presentation, the Cybertruck embodied a radical departure from the historical design of other pickup trucks. A design which has persevered largely unchanged over the decades.
The focal point of the Cybertruck’s stunning impact stems from its exterior design: metallic, angular, and futuristic. It immediately requires you to make an aesthetic judgement, that often won’t land on the truck-designer’s side - even among the Tesla die-hards who carry large reserves of goodwill for all things Tesla.
[I’m quite the Tesla fan, and last night when it was unveiled, I was stunned, but I didn’t quite get it. I walked by the vehicle a couple times on stage. And still didn’t get it. I waited in line for a couple hours to get a test ride, watching the other passengers get in and out, and I didn’t get it. And unfortunately, the line didn’t move too much, so I bailed out.
And then I went to the oculus VR experience. Here you could see the car pull up in a Blade Runner-esque setting. After climbing aboard, you could see the amazing views through the straight glass forward window. You could turn around and see how roomy the cabin was, and how much space was available in the bed. Then it took you through the desert, then up a mountain over huge rocks. I started to get it. It was an amazing ride. I got back in line for another turn. And then another. And then I got it.]
Behind the veneer of this really strange looking “pickup truck” hides something very different. Something reptilian in nature. And this extends well beyond the characteristic resilient skin that reptiles developed over 300 million years ago. It extends beyond the ability to traverse any terrain with the adeptness of a lizard. Tesla’s Cybertruck borrows its best trick from the DNA of Chameleons, but this has seemingly been genetically altered in such a way, that it doesn’t control its exterior appearance (did I mention that it looks metallic and really strange). But rather the Cybertruck can transform its interior utility.
To the blind observer, the Cybertruck may be recognized as something more closely resembling a full-size Ford Expedition-like “sport utility vehicle” than it does a F-150 pickup in terms of its place on the road. But the magic of the Cybertruck is that depending on the context and intention of its owner, it can become so many things to so many different people.
- So for the family of six, it is a Chevy Suburban, but with more than twice the cargo space. It will fit all the kids and all the coolers, strollers, and luggage needed for the trip to grandma’s, as well as the playpen, a bike, and a crib.
- For the off-roader, it’s a Jeep Wrangler, which will climb higher and faster over coarser terrain.
- For the Landscaping Professional it’s an F-150 that fits all the mowers and blowers and charges them on the way to each job.
- For the big motorboat hauler it’s a Sierra Heavy Duty that backs into water.
- For the adrenaline freak, it’s a sports super-car - capable of drawing exhilaration out of anyone in the car when the accelerator is pushed.
- On a Saturday night, it’s a G50 on Hollywood Blvd.
- For the solar shingle installation contractor is the cheapest way to move tons of roofing across Texas
- On the hills of Malibu it’s a Land Rover.
- For the outdoorsy couple, it’s a Subaru outback.
- For the weekend skier it’s an Audi Q5 Quattro.
- For the hippie it’s a microbus of your eco-conscious camping dreams.
- For the police it’s the coolest police car ever
- In China it will be filled with full nylon bags delivering them to distant villages on gravel roads washed out by rain.
- Cybertruck will be the clear foundation of any self-respecting motorcade of the future (though that may require the upgraded window package)
The versatility of the Cybertruck is unmatched. It can do just about anything any other commonly sold vehicle can do and in most cases better and much cheaper. It is simply the most operationally capable vehicle ever designed.
By the time it’s released, Tesla autopilot will have evolved its feature set to a point where the Cybertruck will drive itself better than most humans through cities and highways across the world. You will arrive at your destination relaxed. After a couple years, you won’t even need to stay awake. The Cybertruck, will keep its passengers, significantly safer than anything else they could ever buy.
But most of them won’t buy it.
CyberTruck Plan B is Plan A
Tesla will build the first alien dreadnought edition Gigafactory to make the Cybertruck. In 2022, they will gear capacity up towards 10,000 units a week with this factory. The scale along with advancing manufacturing automation will enable them to achieve the $39,900 staring price of the base model.
When it’s released, the pent-up demand from the nominal $100 consumer reservations will serve to absorb several months of full-scale production. After those to whom the Cybertruck’s design speaks have purchased theirs, they will never need another one. The vehicle will last a million miles. Cost-benefit analysis will compel an ongoing segment of new car buyers to check their aesthetics at the door, some may even stretch their sensibilities into some kind of cyberhaus design school and start to like it.
But for most, it will be too aesthetically challenging. The Model Y will remain the safe choice for an increasing number of buyers who begin to understand the wide array of benefits associated with Tesla ownership.
And this comes as no surprise. As Elon stated during the recode interview: “You know, I actually don’t know if a lot of people will buy this pickup truck or not, but I don’t care.”
And while this isn’t literally accurate - there’s no doubt Elon would want consumers to love owning this car: his new baby, their latest and greatest. It could be better stated that Elon doesn’t need to care. It won’t matter too much for Tesla how many consumers buy this vehicle.
Because this Chameleon has a few more tricks. One night along with Model 3s and Model Ys, it will download the software-equivalent of a cocoon, and after a few hours, the age of Cybermobility will dawn. This vehicle will transform into the automotive version of a butterfly - the world’s first robo-super-taxi.
It’s the Economics, Stupid
Costing 20 cents per mile to operate at high speeds, the Cybertruck will get anyone anywhere from point A to B, with everything they need. It will be approximately 50% more efficient at this task than the Model 3, which is already 2x better than gas, but with 6 times the cargo space.
It will drive you across New York City for 30 minutes at a cost of $5.
At this rate, the cybertruck will generate $60,000 per year. A figure close to it’s purchase price, which means it will effectively pay for itself within two years, with 800,000 miles of life left on the drivetrain.
Cybertruck will take a grandmother one the three-hour drive from Portland to the Seattle airport for just $60, no extra charge for 5 big suitcases along with even for 5 more grandkids if they want to come.
The winter drive from Denver to Aspen will cost around $50, with the bed full of ski-gear, where winter enthusiasts will experience the beauty of the first snowstorm landing on the metallic glass. The carefree autopiloted handling of the Cybertruck through the curving mountain passes, will let everyone relax and enjoy the scenery - even in the most brutal conditions which has never been possible before.
Today Greyhound from NY to Washington is $40. A cybertruck with just 4 people in it could run for that route twice a day and generate over $200,000 /year revenue.
Delta Airlines will start to buy Cybertrucks in bulk to get millions of people across the Georgia region to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport for their flights across the world.
High schools will soon adopt Cybertrucks into their bus systems, and while the students are in school, these trucks will uber others or even move cargo across town.
Corporations will buy Cybertrucks to move their employees across their facilities, and on weekends, employees can check them out as a perk. These employees will rarely be deterred by the strange aesthetics of the vehicle.
The demand for Cybertrucks to haul heavy loads will be considerable, given that the cost of fuel per mile will be half that of gas.
Add-ons to the bed of all types will be enabled by the onboard electricity. Cold drinks? No problem. Cooking? Sure? Solar charging, of course.
Is your Model 3 out of charge? Just plug it into Cybertruck’s 240-volt outlet for a couple hours.
The beauty of the Cybertruck lies beneath its skin. It is an economic masterpiece of design and engineering centered around personal mobility.
When it is released, the Cybertruck will represent the most efficient, safest, and nearly most comfortable way to move people in the history of transportation. All on a sustainable energy platform that allows everyone to feel good and breath deep. And every year it will get about 10% better, through network optimization, software upgrades and design improvements.
The Cybertruck is the Volkswagen of electro-mobility. The car for the people. A vehicle affordable and practical enough for common people to own - but one they’ll never need to own.
A year of production will enable Tesla to make the Cybertruck as ubiquitous as Model 3s are now. But they’ll offer 24-hour safe, reliable, and low-cost mobility - that anyone can summon with the click of an app. To take them and everything they need across town, or across the state.
What was once strange looking - in the context of personal vehicle ownership - might just become strangely beautiful.
Rahul Sonnad is the founder of Tesloop. Rahul can be reached at [email protected].