Consumer Reports reviews the Cybertruck

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Preview: Edgy Electric Tesla Cybertruck Boasts Rapid Acceleration, Long Range

Tesla storms into an electric pickup segment as a futuristic, high-performance vehicle that can tow up to 14,000 pounds

By Jeff S. Bartlett
Last updated: August 11, 2021

CR-Cars-InlineHero-Tesla-Cybertruck-f-driving-8-21.jpg

PHOTO: TESLA

The Tesla Cybertruck rocked the automotive world when the prototype was unveiled in November 2019. Its brash, edgy design is unlike any vehicle that has been produced, seeming to draw inspiration from children’s building blocks and the DeLorean DMC-12. It boasts big numbers, with sports car–like acceleration, heavy-duty-truck-grade tow capacity, massive 500-mile range, and the overpromising Full Self-Driving driver-assistance features.

The company said the truck would begin production by the end of 2021, but as Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared on a recent earnings call, production will be pushed back into 2022. Tesla.com indicates 2022, without pointing to a season or portion of the year. Our guess is late 2022 at the earliest because the company has several major barriers to overcome first.

Musk repeated a now-familiar saying during the earnings call: “It is easy to make prototypes, hard to do mass production.” He did state that engineering is complete, and the Cybertruck is moving into a beta phase this year. It will be built at a new facility in Texas that is still under construction, and the Cybertruck assembly line will start after the updated Model Y begins production there.

Among the challenges Tesla faces is solving its chip shortage. Company officials stated that this hurdle affects when the Cybertruck and Semi tractor-trailer truck will begin production. Another roadblock is getting its next-generation 4680 batteries built at a sufficient volume. Tesla’s own descriptions of the challenges in doing so point to these promising batteries being a real factor with timing.

Musk has indicated that the production Cybertruck will be a hint smaller than the prototype, whose key dimensions were a near-match for the Ford F-150 crew cab, making it more compatible with the subterranean tunnels created by the related Boring Company to help vehicles move under busy cities.
It is still hard to believe that the company truly intends to produce such an angular product, but the U.S. Design Patents filed this July show a design that very much resembles the Cybertruck prototype. Clearly the styling and specifications have garnered a large following, with reports pointing to more than a million refundable deposits made on the Cybertruck. Even a fraction of that would be stunning, given the radical design and how little is known about the final product.

More details will emerge as the countdown to production continues. Here is what we know so far.
What it competes with: Chevrolet Silverado Electric, GMC Hummer EV, Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T
What it looks like: A sci-fi movie extra, designed as a cross between a DeLorean and a door stop.
Powertrains: Single-motor, rear-wheel drive; dual- and tri-motor with all-wheel drive.
Price: $39,900-$69,900
On sale: Available for preorder now. Delivery estimated to be late 2022 at the earliest.

CR's Take
It’s hard to believe this is a production-intent vehicle, given its unconventional design. The shape and structure raise all kinds of questions that will eventually be answered, including outward visibility, pedestrian compatibility, and most important, whether it is just a prank.

The performance claims are shocking. About 18 months after the 500-mile range and 2.9-second 0-to-60-mph time were announced, we learned about the production challenges, including getting the crucial, next-generation batteries built. Living up to those promises will be difficult, and the engineering challenge to fulfill the headline-grabbing boasts will ultimately play a role in the rollout timing. Tesla does have a history of making stunning claims, then taking the time necessary to fulfill them. To its credit, the company does make good on its power and range targets.

We are very interested to see how it performs in crash tests. Other Teslas have done extremely well, but the boasts about the solid steel body, tough glass, and the sharp angles and planar surfaces have us curious about its ability to absorb crash energy.

Whatever happens with the production Cybertruck, it will be interesting, and we will test it.

Outside
CR-Cars-Inline-Tesla-Cybertruck-r-bed-open-8-21.jpg

PHOTO: TESLA

The head-turning styling uses a hard stainless steel “exoskeleton,” similar to airplane design. Musk showed off the strength of the truck’s body panels at the unveiling, with an onstage demonstration of a sledgehammer swung hard at the door panels. Each time, the sledgehammer bounced off of the panels without leaving a mark. The glass is likewise said to be much tougher than what is commonly used in the industry.

The 6.5-foot bed has a large, hidden storage compartment. The tailgate on the prototype folds down like on most trucks; we hope the production model will have a gate that is also side-hinged, like on the Honda Ridgeline, to allow access to that underfloor bin. The tailgate, at least on the prototype, does have a neat trick: It can tilt down and extend to become a ramp for loading a motorcycle, an all-terrain vehicle, a lawn mower, a grill, or other wheeled items.

The prototype has a retractable tonneau cover that seals the bed with a smooth top that makes for a single, angled surface that extends over the roof, contributing to the defining wedge shape. Tesla has shown a potential cap design for the bed that could be used for camping.

The Cybertruck has been shown only with bare metal, reminiscent of the DeLorean. It is unknown whether the futuristic pickup will be offered in colors.

Inside
CR-Cars-Inline-Tesla-Cybertruck-int-8-21.jpg

ILLUSTRATION: TESLA

The interior has a minimalist design, with a large, dominant center screen—like current production models. The illustrations from Tesla show a yoke in place of a round steering wheel, as is now available on the Model S.

There are two seating configurations: Five seats, with two front seats flanking a large center armrest with storage and two cupholders, and six seats with a front bench.
The illustrations reveal a glass top, giving the cabin an open feeling akin to the Model X.

What Drives It
The Tesla truck will come in three variations, with one, two, or three motors. Specific output hasn’t been released yet, but Tesla has published key performance figures as outlined in the chart below.

Tesla Cybertruck Versions
SINGLE-MOTOR RWDDUAL-MOTOR AWDTRI-MOTOR AWD
Price$39,900$49,900$69,900
Range (miles)250+300+500+
0-60 mph (seconds)<6.5<4.5<2.9
Tow capacity (lb.)7,500+10,00014,000+
Payload (lb.)3,5003,5003,500

Safety and Driver Assistance Systems
No details on safety systems have been released, but it is reasonable to assume the Cybertruck will include at least the features that are found on the Model 3, Model S, and Model X.
Those Tesla models come standard with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. However, they do not include blind spot warning or rear cross traffic warning.

Full Self-Driving Capability is offered for $10,000. The website says that “selecting Full Self-Driving today will secure your price as it increases in the future.” Last month, Tesla introduced a new subscription plan for the driver assistance package at $199 per month. The automaker describes FSD as a “suite of more advanced driver assistance features” that are designed to work under a driver’s active supervision, including automatic lane changes, active parking assistance, and traffic light and stop sign recognition. To be clear: Despite the feature’s name, no commercially available self-driving cars currently exist.
CR-Cars-Inline-Tesla-Cybertruck-r-driving-8-21.jpg

PHOTO: TESLA

Electric Cars 101
Electric cars are bringing some of the biggest changes the auto industry has seen in years. On the “Consumer 101” TV show, Consumer Reports expert Jake Fisher explains to host Jack Rico why these vehicles might not be as newfangled as you think.


https://www.consumerreports.org/hybrids-evs/tesla-cybertruck-electric-pickup-review/
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SSonnentag

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I counted only one error and one good point.

Error 1: " There are two seating configurations: Five seats, with two front seats flanking a large center armrest with storage and two cupholders, and six seats with a front bench."

This is the first I've heard of this, and I'm pretty sure they're wrong. The front center seatback folds down to form a center console/armrest, but there is only one configuration available, unless CR defines flipping a seatback up/down as two configurations.


Good Point 1: "We hope the production model will have a gate that is also side-hinged, like on the Honda Ridgeline, to allow access to that underfloor bin."

Indeed, it could prove difficult to access the under-bed bin with the tailgate in the way.
 

Ogre

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It’s hard to believe this is a production-intent vehicle, given its unconventional design. The shape and structure raise all kinds of questions that will eventually be answered, including outward visibility, pedestrian compatibility, and most important, whether it is just a prank.
Is this amateur hour at CR?

This is the sort of story which was published in the first couple of days after it was released, but at this point there are easy answers to almost all of this.

Also, why isn't the Cybertruck getting lauded for it's pedestrian *friendly* design compared to normal pickup trucks. The hood on this and the lower suspension in city traffic, puts pedestrians at damn near eye level and it's almost impossible to not see a pedestrian in front of you (save the littler ones). Compared to so many trucks with similar capabilities, the Cybertruck is amazing.

That, plus the fact that it's going to be super quiet eliminates two of the most annoying things about trucks in city driving. But CR is silent on that...
 

jhogan2424

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Is this amateur hour at CR?

This is the sort of story which was published in the first couple of days after it was released, but at this point there are easy answers to almost all of this.

Also, why isn't the Cybertruck getting lauded for it's pedestrian *friendly* design compared to normal pickup trucks. The hood on this and the lower suspension in city traffic, puts pedestrians at damn near eye level and it's almost impossible to not see a pedestrian in front of you (save the littler ones). Compared to so many trucks with similar capabilities, the Cybertruck is amazing.

That, plus the fact that it's going to be super quiet eliminates two of the most annoying things about trucks in city driving. But CR is silent on that...
Yeah it looks like they were low on material to write about and pulled this out of their December 2019 notes for some clickbait. And I’ll be glad to see the day when an annoyingly loud truck, import, or motorcycle is just a distant memory.
 

Ogre

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Looks like the author is not partial to the design.
I can actually understand this. I don't agree, but lots of people do. It's just a weird time to do a "Review" on a truck which was announced over 2 years ago but isn't to be released for 5 months or more.

Yeah it looks like they were low on material to write about and pulled this out of their December 2019 notes for some clickbait.
It just strikes me as being super lazy that they rehashed this gibberish without thinking.

Also, "and most important, whether it is just a prank", give me a break, my respect for CR seems to drop a little more each year.
 

Jamessmooth007

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Boy is this article trash.
"...but as Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared on a recent earnings call, production will be pushed back into 2022." - He never said this. Production was delayed via a quite Saturday update on the CT website.
"Delivery estimated to be late 2022 at the earliest." - Said who?
"The shape and structure raise all kinds of questions that will eventually be answered, including outward visibility, pedestrian compatibility, and most important, whether it is just a prank." - ok I'm done with you CR.
 

Ogre

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Good Point 1: "We hope the production model will have a gate that is also side-hinged, like on the Honda Ridgeline, to allow access to that underfloor bin."

Indeed, it could prove difficult to access the under-bed bin with the tailgate in the way.
I don't see how they could have the pull out ramps and side hinged vault door.

The vault storage is going to be limited access. It's hard to complain too much, we have the frunk and the sail pillar, plus the vault itself, and under the back seats... I don't think we're going to be running out of options here.
 

Jamessmooth007

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I don't see how they could have the pull out ramps and side hinged vault door.

The vault storage is going to be limited access. It's hard to complain too much, we have the frunk and the sail pillar, plus the vault itself, and under the back seats... I don't think we're going to be running out of options here.
I'd really like to see the size of that frunk...
 

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Is this amateur hour at CR?

This is the sort of story which was published in the first couple of days after it was released, but at this point there are easy answers to almost all of this.

Also, why isn't the Cybertruck getting lauded for it's pedestrian *friendly* design compared to normal pickup trucks. The hood on this and the lower suspension in city traffic, puts pedestrians at damn near eye level and it's almost impossible to not see a pedestrian in front of you (save the littler ones). Compared to so many trucks with similar capabilities, the Cybertruck is amazing.

That, plus the fact that it's going to be super quiet eliminates two of the most annoying things about trucks in city driving. But CR is silent on that...
CR has declined significantly IMO.

Their reporting on overriding the driver detection mechanisms for Autopilot was a prime example of their desire for click bait articles, especially given how it was timed right after a crash and fire that killed all occupants of a Model S. This article was just more of the same. Ooooh, let's make up some ridiculous article because anything with Cybertruck in it will spike traffic.

No respect for that rag anymore.

Also sponsored by the Ford Foundation, no connection with Ford Motor Co anymore apparently (although one of it's Board of Trustees is Henry Ford III)... oh another contributor is linked to big oil.

Suuuuure CR, you are completely unbiased and for the people. 🤣
 
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Ogre

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I think I finally figured out why the press coverage of Electric Trucks is so weird

Consumer Reports said:
It’s hard to believe this is a production-intent vehicle, given its unconventional design. The shape and structure raise all kinds of questions that will eventually be answered, including outward visibility, pedestrian compatibility, and most important, whether it is just a prank.
Consumer Reports is being literal here. They don't actually believe Tesla is going to deliver the truck with the features they promised at the price they promised.

This isn't just CR. The automotive media in general treats Ford's announcement as if it is a product release sheet and Tesla's as if it's some kind of promotional concept vehicle and the actual vehicle is going to be announced later. Nobody compares the Ford to the Tesla because you don't bother comparing a "Production" vehicle to a concept vehicle.

So even though Tesla announced their truck first and pricing first, "Ford" is changing the Electric truck market with their revolutionary pricing, etc etc. Tesla... has a concept truck. Nobody in the media has suggested Ford won't release a $39k F150. Tesla on the other hand? No chance they will ship for $39k.

It sounds stupid, but when you view the coverage like that, it all makes a lot more sense.
 
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