Automotive > Powertrain, Body, Chassis & Safety Blog

Tesla Cybertruck: “Not for Everyone” - Elon Said It

by Edward Sanchez | Nov 22, 2019

Tesla Cybertruck FrontLike probably many of you reading this now, I sat in rapt anticipation of the Tesla Cybertruck unveil on November 21, 2019. Several teaser tweets went out leading up to the event, the most prominent being the one showing the horizontal LED light bar across what we now know is the front of the truck. All sorts of speculative renderings went out leading up to the official unveil. Ironically none of them were nearly as daring or shocking as the real thing. Before the unveiling, Musk himself said it “won’t be for everyone.”

Three years ago, when I was still working as an automotive journalist, I pitched a speculative feature piece about what the Tesla truck would look like. At the time, a Tesla truck had only been discussed from the standpoint of being on the company’s future product roadmap. Nobody had any idea what it would look like, possibly not even Elon himself. What we came up with, in collaboration with the extremely talented Kris Horton, was a somewhat tame, derivative pickup truck that drew heavily upon Model S and Model X styling cues. It would have been a handsome, but recognizably “Tesla” truck.

But Elon Musk is a serial entrepreneur and billionaire, and I am not, so what do I know? However, I do know, after being immersed in and covering the light truck segment for more than a decade, is that truck buyers tend to be among the most traditional of vehicle buyers. The Cybertruck is the complete antithesis of traditional. You thought the Mustang Mach-E was controversial? That’s nothing compared to the massive grenade Tesla just threw into the pickup segment.
Tesla Cybertruck Left Side

It may take quite a while for buyers to warm up to the Cybertruck. Then again, the market could embrace it beyond anyone’s expectations. Personally, going as edgy and radical as Tesla did with the Cybertruck, leaves a huge opportunity for Ford with the electric F-150. Ford has been the pickup sales leader for nearly as long as I’ve been alive, and you can bet electric or not, the next F-150 isn’t going to stray too far from the script that’s worked for Dearborn for so long. Of course, Ford is no stranger to controversy and risk with the EcoBoost and aluminum body F-Series.

Freed from the architectural and engineering constraints imposed upon it by a conventional internal combustion powertrain, the new F-150 could incorporate any number of useful and fun features, including some announced on the Cybertruck, including on-board 110 and 220 outlets, a tailgate ramp, and even a front “tailgate” in which the hood would serve as a canopy shade for the fold-down front bench. Or one of the favorites I had from my conceptual Tesla truck from a few years ago: an integrated, portable mini-fridge.

Much as Tesla has paved the way for broader consumer acceptance of EV cars, the company may have unwittingly created a huge potential opportunity for Ford or GM to create a more conventionally styled electric pickup. Whether you love it or hate it, the Cybertruck is already raising eyebrows and turning heads.

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