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Dec 31, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Tesla: Elon Musk shows off his fully electric pick-up truck at a futuristic show

The pick-up truck will come in three different models, with a payload of 1.5 tonnes and towing capacity of 7 tonnes according to the head of the company.

Credit: YouTube's screenshot/Tesla/CNET

Elon Musk was once again the centre of attention in the tech sphere on Thursday 21 November when he unveiled Tesla’s 100% electric future pick-up truck, which has what can only be described as an unconventional design. "It looks like nothing else," the head of the company said with a smile, showing off the angular design of the "Cybertruck" at a show held at Tesla’s design centre in Hawthorne, California.

The carefully orchestrated proceedings went off the rails, however, when Musk began talking about the solidity of the truck and got one of his employees to throw a lump of steel at one of the windows of the vehicle. When it buckled on impact, this elicited some colourful language from Musk. The same thing happened when the experiment was repeated, but it should be noted that the window never fully gave way.

Three models to be available

The future Tesla pick-up truck will be a six-seater, with a payload of 1.5 tonnes and a towing capacity of 7 tonnes, Musk said. The "Cybertruck" will also be available in three models.

The entry-level version will cost 39,900 US dollars and have a range of 400 km, while the most expensive model will cost 69,900 US dollars and have a range of 800 km, as well as being capable of going from zero to 100 km/h in around three seconds, the head of Tesla announced. Musk had already promised that his pick-up truck would cost less than 50,000 US dollars which is an average price for that category of vehicle, and that it would outperform the Ford F-150, which has long been the market leader in the USA in that particular segment.

Atypical model may lack public appeal

The model unveiled last Thursday was certainly no classic pick-up truck, as Musk himself pointed out, talking of "futuristic" and "cyberpunk" styles inspired by the Blade Runner science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, whose opening scene is set in November 2019. The Tesla boss also referred on Twitter to the famous amphibious Lotus Esprit in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.

Certain experts believe that the Tesla electric pick-up truck will struggle to attract the traditional clientele of this type of vehicle. However, as Jessica Caldwell, Executive Director of Industry Analysis for automotive guide Edmunds, explains: "Even if it does not win over the usual fans of the F-150, it may not have to. If the Tesla pick-up truck weren’t a little bit controversial, it wouldn’t be a Tesla," she said. "The fact that this pick-up truck stands out from the crowd will be seen as an advantage, not a drawback" for Tesla fans and for those who like technology, added Karl Brauer, who heads specialist websites Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader.

On the market from early 2022?

No exact date has been given for when the truck will be available to purchase, but analysts believe that it will not be ready before the end of 2021 at the earliest. It will therefore not be the first vehicle of its kind to hit the streets in the USA, as a start-up by the name of Rivian (in which Ford and also Amazon have made significant investments) is likely to steal a march on it with what the company is calling the R1T.

Pick-up trucks and SUVs are among the most popular vehicles in the USA in terms of sales, with the hefty margins that these models have enabling manufacturers to compensate for rising steel and aluminium costs, the expected plateauing of sales and the decline in compact cars (sedans and hatchbacks). Pick-up trucks are faring particularly well in the USA at the moment, with their market share rising from 13% in 2012 to around 17.5% this year.

 

Allianz Partners

 

Cover image: Blomst/Pixabay

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