The Robb Report Article: Tesla Cybertruck: Everything We Know About Elon Musk’s ‘Bulletproof’ Electric Pickup

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The Tesla Cybertruck: Everything We Know About Elon Musk’s ‘Bulletproof’ Electric Pickup
From design to specs and pricing, here's what you should know about Tesla's eagerly anticipated all-electric pickup.
BY BRYAN HOOD ON OCTOBER 1, 2020
cybertruck01.jpg
Tesla
Overview
It’s hard to think of a vehicle that has received as much fanfare as the Tesla Cybertruck did when it was revealed last fall. Whether you’re an auto enthusiast, a tech obsessive or just an average Joe who happened to be online for a few minutes last November, chances are you’ve now heard about the EV giant’s first truck and you probably have an outsize opinion about it.
Why so much attention for a pickup truck? It could have something to do with the company’s cofounder and CEO, Elon Musk, and his penchant for tweeting about “the coolest car [he’d] ever seen” in the months leading up to the Cybertruck’s debut. The tech titan promised a futuristic vehicle that would look like something out of the sci-fi classic Blade Runner. And while that may have been a bit of a stretch, there’s no denying that the Cybertruck looks like nothing on the road, gas- or battery-powered.
That’s because the all-electric pickup seems to throw almost everything we thought we knew about automotive design out the window. There are no rounded corners or flowing, aerodynamic lines, just sharp edges and dramatic angles. The vehicle’s exterior has more in common with the polygonal vehicles in a primitive video game than it does any other cars currently on the market. But because this is a Tesla, the car promises some mighty impressive performance numbers, including 500 miles of range and the ability to tow up to a whopping 14,000 pounds.
Of course, in what has become a signature practice with the company, the electric truck was also unveiled long before it would actually be ready for production. The time between the Cybertruck’s announcement and planned on-sale date isn’t as bad as the still-unreleased Roadster, but we still have to wait until at least late next year for the pickup to go on sale. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about one of the most hotly anticipated vehicles in recent memory.
cybertruck02.jpg

The Tesla Cybertruck Tesla
Engine, Specs and Performance
While the Cybertruck’s outlandish exterior may be what earned it so much attention last year, the most radical aspect of the vehicle may be its performance. Never one to undersell, especially a vehicle he had spent so much time building up, Musk basically promised that the truck would represent an electric revolution of sorts. And if the pickup delivers, he might not be that far off.
When it eventually goes on sale, the Cybertruck will be available in three different variants. The entry-level pickup features one motor and a rear-wheel drive system, while the two- and three-motor models will both have all-wheel-drive. As you may have guessed, the more motors your Cybertruck has, the better its performance, with the tri-motor version able to zoom from zero to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds, which is basically unheard for a production truck. As of now, Tesla has not released any information about the Cybertruck’s horsepower, but we would expect each model to offer progressively more grunt. What we do know is that more motors will equal more range, with the top-of-the-line truck able to go the aforementioned 500 miles on a single charge. At the time it was announced, the vehicle’s range would have been a record for an EV, and while it’s since been eclipsed by the Lucid Air and the Tesla Model S Plaid, it’s still likely to be one of the longest-range vehicles on the market when it debuts.
The truck also promises the kind of towing capacity normally associated with the most powerful gas-powered trucks on the road. At the unveiling, Musk claimed that the single-motor model will be able to tow 7,500 pounds, the dual-motor 10,000 pounds and the tri-motor 14,000 pounds, which is almost twice as much as the top-selling truck in the US, the Ford F-150. Tesla has yet to demonstrate these claims, or address how a giant payload will affect the vehicles’s performance in other ways, but those are enticing numbers.
cybertruck05.jpg

The Tesla Cybertruck Tesla
Sci-Fi-Inspired Styling
Any conversation about the Cybertruck will likely start with its exterior—and rightly so. The pickup looks like nothing on the road today, or at any time in the past for that matter. And even with at least a full year to go before its release, it’s hard to imagine that changing.
Almost from the moment it was revealed, the Cybertruck became a meme. The angular design is nothing if not bold. While other automakers obsess about smooth curves and flowing aerodynamic lines, the pickup is all sharp angles and flat planes. And that doesn’t just apply to its general body shape, but elements like its striking strip-like LED headlights, geometric windows and chunky wheel fenders. In fact, the designers seem to have been so dedicated to its geometric shape that they decided to do away with side-view mirrors entirely.
The vehicle’s out-there design does raise some questions, though. One reason why cars and trucks embrace shared design elements is because they help the car withstand the rigors of daily use and potential collisions. But this isn’t the case with the Cybertruck. For example, the vehicle lacks a “crumple zone,” the area meant to absorb the force of a crash. Two of its more striking design elements—the headlight strip and the absence of side-view mirrors—aren’t even technically street-legal at the moment. Oh, and unless the concept edition is reduced in size, the truck may not fit inside a standard-size garage.
Is the Cybertruck a thing of beauty? No. Are there some questions about whether or not its design is even feasible? Yes. But Tesla and Musk deserve credit for designing a pickup that few can look away from. Not only does the EV look markedly different from other trucks on the market, it completely breaks from the design language of the rest of the brand’s roster. Love it or hate it, you have to admit that the road will be a more interesting place with it in action.
cybertruck03.jpg

The Cybertruck’s stark interior promises room for six. Tesla
The Interior
Nearly as unique as the truck’s body is its interior. The exterior’s design language has been carried over, meaning there are lots of sharp angles, especially in the dashboard area, which looks like a flat ledge with a steering wheel and massive 17-inch touchscreen protruding out of it. It’s all a bit spartan, as are the seats. There’s some padding visible, but they don’t exactly scream comfort.
Yet, the interior does look roomy. The marque claims that the Cybertruck, regardless of the version, can comfortably sit six adults and has 100 cubic feet of exterior storage. This will make sense to anyone who’s seen the Cybertruck up close; it’s 6.4-foot truck bed, or cargo bay as some are calling it, looks genuinely massive. But exterior storage isn’t just about the bed; the vehicle also offers lockable storage, including a vault, trunk and sailing pillars.
Add-Ons and Accessories Galore
Musk has promised that the Cybertruck will be so much more than a normal pickup. Late last year, the CEO said that the vehicle would be available with some “sick attachments.” And the burgeoning industry of add-ons suggests that he could be right. A stainless steel, Airstream-like trailer and a camper configuration will allow you to turn the truck’s bed into a mobile living space. Also in the works is the Cyberquad, a four-wheel, electric ATV that fits right into the truck bed.
And those are just the official, first-party accessories. Other companies are already trying to get in on the action. The 10 months since the truck’s public debut has seen a slew of Cybertruck-inspired projects pop up around the globe. Perhaps most notable among these is a huge compound called the Cyberhouse that was very clearly inspired by the vehicle—and offers a garage that can actually house the pickup.
tesla-cybertruck-camper.png

This optional configuration would turn the Cybertruck into a camper, with a tented bed and a pop-out stove for outdoor cooking. Courtesy of Tesla
Pricing: Is the Cybertruck Worth It?
What might be most surprising about the Cybertruck—and could be its most appealing feature—is its price. According to Tesla, the vehicle will be remarkably accessible. Despite its cutting-edge features and beefy performance, the single-motor model starts at an affordable $39,900, while the dual-motor and tri-motor editions will sell for $49,900 and $69,900, respectively. You can also add Tesla’s self-driving technology, Autopilot, to the vehicle for $8,000, though the brand warns that cost may increase over time. It’s also worth noting that Tesla’s Autopilot does not yet offer true autonomous driving; rather, it serves as an enhanced driver-assist feature for the vehicle.
There is a lot to be intrigued by with the Cybertruck, but its price may be most responsible for the wild preorder numbers. Within a week of its announcement, 200,000 people had reserved one of the trucks, and that number has grown more than three-fold since. Of course, it only costs $100 to preorder a Cybertruck, and that fee is completely refundable if you choose not to buy it. Still, those pre-orders offer proof that the vehicle is stirring excitement and anticipation ahead of its release.
More stories about the Cybertruck from Robb Report:
 
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Frank W

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I completely understand that however I thought that the bigger picture was the fact that a pretty prestigious magazine had a article on it. The items that they usually showcase cost big big $$$$ which usually go along with their target audience so this is just another reason why Tesla doesn’t need to advertise.


Interesting Engineering also had a article back in August:

https://apple.news/AX3lfgWBCR02ZTVgYJR8MDQ
 
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For example, the vehicle lacks a “crumple zone,” the area meant to absorb the force of a crash.
It probably does. If it doesn't, it will. Assuming something won't crumple because it's flat is silly. All Tesla vehicles have better crumple zones due to lack of engine. These guys need to watch Sandy Munro.

Oh, and unless the concept edition is reduced in size, the truck may not fit inside a standard-size garage.
Neither do full-size Fords? I mean, they're like within 2" of each other in every dimension. This isn't something most full-size truck buyers consider, though I do believe CT is appealing to a wider market.

I do love the coverage, though. Excellent to see more publications openly praising this marvelous vehicle.
 
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I didn’t say any of that and I realize that most articles about the truck have erroneous info.
 

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Frank W

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Could you please provide a direct link? Apple.news doesn't always forward properly.

-Crissa
Will Cybertruck Really Start at $39,000?


The controversy around the Cybertruck doesn’t end at the styling. Assuming Tesla follows through with the pricing Elon Musk announced in November, the Cybertruck will be one of Tesla’s cheapest vehicles yet.


Currently, the cheapest vehicle that Tesla offers is the Model 3, which is priced at $37,990. Meanwhile, Musk announced that the single motor Cybertruck would start at $39,900. That’s just $2,000 more than the Model 3, and a whopping $10,000 cheaper than the Model Y, which is currently priced at $49,990.


Sure, the Cybertruck will have less range than the Model Y, but it still has a fairly reasonable 250 miles, which is more than the industry average. However, the Cybertruck has many extra features that are absent on the Model 3 such as:


Bulletproof body


Adaptive air suspension


Digital rear view mirror


Towing capacity of 3400 kg


6 seats


17 inch touchscreen


It seems like for the amount of truck you are getting, the Cybertruck should be much more expensive than its current expected price. Let’s explore how the Cybertruck will be one of Tesla’s cheapest car’s yet, costing just $39,900.


TLDR; Tesla will reduce the manufacturing cost of the Cybertruck by streamlining the production process. This is mainly down to the angular exoskeleton body, which can be manufactured using a press brake, which is much simpler than a stamping die. Furthermore, the Cybertruck won’t be painted, which is a costly part of Tesla’s manufacturing process.


The Cybertruck’s Unusual Structure


The Design of The Cybertruck


Clearly, the Cybertruck is one of the most unconventional automobile designs of this year, or maybe even all time. What makes it so unconventional is the planar design. Musk says that this is because it’s not currently possible to stamp the 30X stainless steel that the Cybertruck is using.


To be clear, 30X cold rolled stainless steel is not stainless steel that has been cold rolled 30 times. Instead, it refers to a certain mixture of steel called the 300 series. Some members in this series include 301, 302, 304 etc… Tesla and SpaceX have formulated their own special type of this steel, which is part of the 300 series, and they have named it 30X, where X is an unknown variable.


This material was originally developed by SpaceX for use in the stainless steel Starship made for transporting cargo and humans to Mars. Since the Cybertruck was released, SpaceX has slightly altered this alloy, meaning the alloy the Cybertruck is made from will be altered to match this.


According to Sandy Munro, who tears down vehicles and sells their schematics to manufacturers, Tesla will most likely use press brakes to press the body panels into shape. Musk says the prototype was bent into shape, which required a deep score on the inside of the bend.


A press brake should be capable of performing all of the necessary bends to make the exoskeleton, another slightly controversial aspect of the Cybertruck. Despite this, there are several advantages of such a design choice, especially for an electric vehicle.


The Exoskeleton


An exoskeleton, which is also known as a monocoque or unibody, is a external frameless structure that supports the components of the vehicle.


In advance of the 1940s, almost all vehicles were designed based on a frame, which hosted all of the main components of the vehicle, and a body placed on top of it, which provided doors, windows, and a roof.


Bolted to the frame were things like the powertrain, drivertrain, and shafts, providing a strong foundation to place the body on top of. Think of it like a remote control car. All of the components are attached to a frame, then different ‘shells’ or bodies can be placed on top to protect and cover all of the components on the frame.


During the 1940s, some vehicles started using an exoskeleton based design. Proceeding the 1940s, most saloons and small cars were using the new design technique. At the time, SUVs and other large vehicles preferred the body-on-frame system due to its better handling of payload.


Eventually, many SUVs switched to the exoskeleton based system, leaving just pickup trucks and large transport vehicles like vans. Recently, some pickup trucks are emerging that use exoskeletons, such as the Honda Ridgeline, but exoskeletons are virtually non existent in the pickup truck market, and many ‘truckers’ don’t even consider exoskeleton based trucks real trucks.


In an interview with Jalopnik, Mike Sweers, who is the chief engineer of the Toyota Tacoma highlighted some reasons for this.


Towing


Regarding towing, Sweers stated the following:


Although this statement is true, it’s not really valid. Despite a body-on-frame truck being stronger for towing, unibody trucks, especially small to mid-size, are more than strong enough to tow the loads that anyone would find themselves towing. Furthermore, many truck owners don’t even use their car for towing anyway.


According to Tesla, the maximum towing capacity of the tri-motor Cybertruck is at least 6 tonnes, which is far higher than what the vast majority of people would be towing. Clearly, strength isn’t an issue for the exoskeleton. Perhaps with a weaker exoskeleton, rather than thick stainless steel, there would be strength issues, but Tesla really seems to have gone above and beyond in terms of towing.


Weight


In general, one of the main benefits of a unibody design is that it can be lighter than its body-on-frame counterpart, whilst offering a higher stiffness. However, pickup trucks are heavy duty vehicles, and have to be built to withstand heavy stresses.


Consequently, manufacturers often end up strengthening certain parts of the exoskeleton to handle these stresses, which adds weight. Despite starting with a lighter pickup truck, manufacturers usually end up with a truck that’s just as heavy as the body-on-frame models.


However, there’s benefits of having a greater mass. For example, a heavier car is generally considered better for towing, and the frictional force between the tires and the ground is increased, leading to more traction.


It’s fairly obvious that Tesla wasn’t particularly bothered about being ‘too heavy’ when designing the Cybertruck. Tesla has told California regulators that the Cybertruck will “likely” be classified as a class-2B or class-3 heavy duty truck.


If that’s the case, it would mean the Cybertruck’s minimum weight is 8,500 lbs (3.9 tonnes), and its maximum weight is 14,000 lbs (6.3 tonnes). Yeah, doesn’t look like the weight was a consideration in the design!


Off-Roading


Here, the body on frame does have some tangible benefits, but only in certain cases, which only occur in a small percentage of the population.


Much like a bike frame or aircraft wing, a steel car frame can flex slightly, giving it compliance to handle the high stresses of off-road driving. This flexibility helps prevent fracturing.


This all sounds good, but it’s time to throw a spanner in the works. Seemingly, this is only beneficial when doing hardcore off-roading in a large truck. Sure, Cybertruck ticks the ‘large’ box, but what about the ‘hardcore off-roading box.


Firstly, a large portion of truck owners, particularly in the US, don’t actually use their pickup trucks for off-roading.


Sometimes people drive them for status, sometimes for their size, and sometimes for carrying things, but often not for off-roading, never mind hardcore off-roading.


Tesla does seem to be pitching the Cybertruck as something that performs well off-road, which suggests they are confident in the performance of SpaceX’s new alloy, but only time will tell.


How Will the Cybertruck Be One of the Cheapest Tesla’s Yet?


Manufacturing


Almost all consumer vehicles on the road are extremely detailed. The main body is littered with curves, edges, and angles. Let’s take the Chrysler Ram 1500 2020:


Many of the body panels in the Ram are constructed from high-strength steel and manufactured using stamping dies. These can pump out large body panels consistently and efficiently. However, they can only stamp thin body panels. When Tesla wanted to make a stainless steel pickup truck with 30kg, 3mm thick stainless steel door panels, Elon said that the stamping die would break when trying to produce the door.


Furthermore, stamping is expensive, and requires many complex robots to pull off. On the 3rd Row Tesla Podcast, Musk made it clear that an efficient production line must contain as few robots as possible.


By using press brakes, Tesla will be able to simplify the production line, using fewer and less complex robots. As a consequence, the manufacturing cost will be driven down, leading to a reduction in cost to the consumer.


Paint


Typically, trucks are painted for two reasons; appearance and corrosion resistance. Cybertruck is made from stainless steel, which is highly corrosion resistant. Furthermore, once its polished, it looks appealing unlike many other materials.


Tesla has had numerous issues with painting in the past, especially during the Model 3 production ramp, in which owners reported areas of some panels which were left completely unpainted.


Paint shops are one of the most expensive components of a car factory. Hence, without the paint shop, not only will Tesla have more space to produce other parts, but it will make the production process considerably cheaper. Once again, this will most likely contribute to the low cost of the Cybertruck.


Repairability


There’s no point in a truck being cheap to buy if its extremely expensive to maintain. Fortunately, it seems Tesla have pulled this one out of the bag too.


Musk suggested on the Third Row Tesla podcast that any scratches in the car could simply be buffed out by the owner, costing nothing. Further to this, since there is no paint, the truck wouldn’t need repainting either.


However, some have suggested that stainless steel vehicles are very difficult to repair if they are dented. This is because the panels are very hard to pop back out, especially with 3mm thick stainless steel. Saying that, unless the Cybertruck is involved in a big crash, I can’t see it getting dented anytime soon. At the unveil, Franz was able to hit it with a sledgehammer without causing any damage.


Traditionally, the other problem with painted body panels is chips due to gravel or grit on the road. In colder climates where the roads are gritted daily, this can cause lots of damage to body panels and glass.


Looks like Tesla has solved this one too. Their almost shatterproof glass should make the windscreen resistant to breaking when hit by light (or even some heavy) objects.


Aerodynamics


If the Cybertruck ends up having a drag coefficient of 0.3, it would be in line with the upgraded Tesla Roadster with Aero Kit. For reference, the Ford F150 has a drag coefficient of 0.56, whilst a Dodge Ram has a coefficient of 0.59.


As you can tell, a drag coefficient of 0.3 would be a big deal, especially for an EV where efficiency is of fundamental importance to range.


Finally, due to the car being electric, customers would benefit from both incentives and fuel savings on top of the low price tag.


Will the Price Really Be Less Than $40,000?


If you had interviewed people before the Cybertruck unveiling last November, you’d be lucky to find many people who genuinely believed that the price would be less than $40,000. I don’t think even Musk was expecting this price.


With Tesla’s current pricing strategy, a sub $40,000 price tag could spark some problems with the rest of the lineup. Not only would it most likely cannibalise many Model Y sales, but it would most likely reduce the Model 3 sales too.


Hence, by the time Cybertruck rolls around to production, Model 3 and Y will most likely be considerably cheaper than they are now. It wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see both Model 3 and Y below the $40,000 mark.


So far, Tesla hasn’t failed to deliver on an announced price, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t. Just like the Model 3, Cybertruck may have a cheap model which is difficult to find on Tesla’s website in the hope that they don’t sell many of them. As with all their cars, the more expensive variants will have considerably higher profit margins, so there will most likely be a push to sell as many dual and tri motor variants as possible.
 
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Could you please provide a direct link? Apple.news doesn't always forward properly.

-Crissa
I looked for the article on their website and couldn’t find it. Written by Josh Pine
 

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Will Cybertruck Really Start at $39,000?


The controversy around the Cybertruck doesn’t end at the styling. Assuming Tesla follows through with the pricing Elon Musk announced in November, the Cybertruck will be one of Tesla’s cheapest vehicles yet.


Currently, the cheapest vehicle that Tesla offers is the Model 3, which is priced at $37,990. Meanwhile, Musk announced that the single motor Cybertruck would start at $39,900. That’s just $2,000 more than the Model 3, and a whopping $10,000 cheaper than the Model Y, which is currently priced at $49,990.


Sure, the Cybertruck will have less range than the Model Y, but it still has a fairly reasonable 250 miles, which is more than the industry average. However, the Cybertruck has many extra features that are absent on the Model 3 such as:


Bulletproof body


Adaptive air suspension


Digital rear view mirror


Towing capacity of 3400 kg


6 seats


17 inch touchscreen


It seems like for the amount of truck you are getting, the Cybertruck should be much more expensive than its current expected price. Let’s explore how the Cybertruck will be one of Tesla’s cheapest car’s yet, costing just $39,900.


TLDR; Tesla will reduce the manufacturing cost of the Cybertruck by streamlining the production process. This is mainly down to the angular exoskeleton body, which can be manufactured using a press brake, which is much simpler than a stamping die. Furthermore, the Cybertruck won’t be painted, which is a costly part of Tesla’s manufacturing process.


The Cybertruck’s Unusual Structure


The Design of The Cybertruck


Clearly, the Cybertruck is one of the most unconventional automobile designs of this year, or maybe even all time. What makes it so unconventional is the planar design. Musk says that this is because it’s not currently possible to stamp the 30X stainless steel that the Cybertruck is using.


To be clear, 30X cold rolled stainless steel is not stainless steel that has been cold rolled 30 times. Instead, it refers to a certain mixture of steel called the 300 series. Some members in this series include 301, 302, 304 etc… Tesla and SpaceX have formulated their own special type of this steel, which is part of the 300 series, and they have named it 30X, where X is an unknown variable.


This material was originally developed by SpaceX for use in the stainless steel Starship made for transporting cargo and humans to Mars. Since the Cybertruck was released, SpaceX has slightly altered this alloy, meaning the alloy the Cybertruck is made from will be altered to match this.


According to Sandy Munro, who tears down vehicles and sells their schematics to manufacturers, Tesla will most likely use press brakes to press the body panels into shape. Musk says the prototype was bent into shape, which required a deep score on the inside of the bend.


A press brake should be capable of performing all of the necessary bends to make the exoskeleton, another slightly controversial aspect of the Cybertruck. Despite this, there are several advantages of such a design choice, especially for an electric vehicle.


The Exoskeleton


An exoskeleton, which is also known as a monocoque or unibody, is a external frameless structure that supports the components of the vehicle.


In advance of the 1940s, almost all vehicles were designed based on a frame, which hosted all of the main components of the vehicle, and a body placed on top of it, which provided doors, windows, and a roof.


Bolted to the frame were things like the powertrain, drivertrain, and shafts, providing a strong foundation to place the body on top of. Think of it like a remote control car. All of the components are attached to a frame, then different ‘shells’ or bodies can be placed on top to protect and cover all of the components on the frame.


During the 1940s, some vehicles started using an exoskeleton based design. Proceeding the 1940s, most saloons and small cars were using the new design technique. At the time, SUVs and other large vehicles preferred the body-on-frame system due to its better handling of payload.


Eventually, many SUVs switched to the exoskeleton based system, leaving just pickup trucks and large transport vehicles like vans. Recently, some pickup trucks are emerging that use exoskeletons, such as the Honda Ridgeline, but exoskeletons are virtually non existent in the pickup truck market, and many ‘truckers’ don’t even consider exoskeleton based trucks real trucks.


In an interview with Jalopnik, Mike Sweers, who is the chief engineer of the Toyota Tacoma highlighted some reasons for this.


Towing


Regarding towing, Sweers stated the following:


Although this statement is true, it’s not really valid. Despite a body-on-frame truck being stronger for towing, unibody trucks, especially small to mid-size, are more than strong enough to tow the loads that anyone would find themselves towing. Furthermore, many truck owners don’t even use their car for towing anyway.


According to Tesla, the maximum towing capacity of the tri-motor Cybertruck is at least 6 tonnes, which is far higher than what the vast majority of people would be towing. Clearly, strength isn’t an issue for the exoskeleton. Perhaps with a weaker exoskeleton, rather than thick stainless steel, there would be strength issues, but Tesla really seems to have gone above and beyond in terms of towing.


Weight


In general, one of the main benefits of a unibody design is that it can be lighter than its body-on-frame counterpart, whilst offering a higher stiffness. However, pickup trucks are heavy duty vehicles, and have to be built to withstand heavy stresses.


Consequently, manufacturers often end up strengthening certain parts of the exoskeleton to handle these stresses, which adds weight. Despite starting with a lighter pickup truck, manufacturers usually end up with a truck that’s just as heavy as the body-on-frame models.


However, there’s benefits of having a greater mass. For example, a heavier car is generally considered better for towing, and the frictional force between the tires and the ground is increased, leading to more traction.


It’s fairly obvious that Tesla wasn’t particularly bothered about being ‘too heavy’ when designing the Cybertruck. Tesla has told California regulators that the Cybertruck will “likely” be classified as a class-2B or class-3 heavy duty truck.


If that’s the case, it would mean the Cybertruck’s minimum weight is 8,500 lbs (3.9 tonnes), and its maximum weight is 14,000 lbs (6.3 tonnes). Yeah, doesn’t look like the weight was a consideration in the design!


Off-Roading


Here, the body on frame does have some tangible benefits, but only in certain cases, which only occur in a small percentage of the population.


Much like a bike frame or aircraft wing, a steel car frame can flex slightly, giving it compliance to handle the high stresses of off-road driving. This flexibility helps prevent fracturing.


This all sounds good, but it’s time to throw a spanner in the works. Seemingly, this is only beneficial when doing hardcore off-roading in a large truck. Sure, Cybertruck ticks the ‘large’ box, but what about the ‘hardcore off-roading box.


Firstly, a large portion of truck owners, particularly in the US, don’t actually use their pickup trucks for off-roading.


Sometimes people drive them for status, sometimes for their size, and sometimes for carrying things, but often not for off-roading, never mind hardcore off-roading.


Tesla does seem to be pitching the Cybertruck as something that performs well off-road, which suggests they are confident in the performance of SpaceX’s new alloy, but only time will tell.


How Will the Cybertruck Be One of the Cheapest Tesla’s Yet?


Manufacturing


Almost all consumer vehicles on the road are extremely detailed. The main body is littered with curves, edges, and angles. Let’s take the Chrysler Ram 1500 2020:


Many of the body panels in the Ram are constructed from high-strength steel and manufactured using stamping dies. These can pump out large body panels consistently and efficiently. However, they can only stamp thin body panels. When Tesla wanted to make a stainless steel pickup truck with 30kg, 3mm thick stainless steel door panels, Elon said that the stamping die would break when trying to produce the door.


Furthermore, stamping is expensive, and requires many complex robots to pull off. On the 3rd Row Tesla Podcast, Musk made it clear that an efficient production line must contain as few robots as possible.


By using press brakes, Tesla will be able to simplify the production line, using fewer and less complex robots. As a consequence, the manufacturing cost will be driven down, leading to a reduction in cost to the consumer.


Paint


Typically, trucks are painted for two reasons; appearance and corrosion resistance. Cybertruck is made from stainless steel, which is highly corrosion resistant. Furthermore, once its polished, it looks appealing unlike many other materials.


Tesla has had numerous issues with painting in the past, especially during the Model 3 production ramp, in which owners reported areas of some panels which were left completely unpainted.


Paint shops are one of the most expensive components of a car factory. Hence, without the paint shop, not only will Tesla have more space to produce other parts, but it will make the production process considerably cheaper. Once again, this will most likely contribute to the low cost of the Cybertruck.


Repairability


There’s no point in a truck being cheap to buy if its extremely expensive to maintain. Fortunately, it seems Tesla have pulled this one out of the bag too.


Musk suggested on the Third Row Tesla podcast that any scratches in the car could simply be buffed out by the owner, costing nothing. Further to this, since there is no paint, the truck wouldn’t need repainting either.


However, some have suggested that stainless steel vehicles are very difficult to repair if they are dented. This is because the panels are very hard to pop back out, especially with 3mm thick stainless steel. Saying that, unless the Cybertruck is involved in a big crash, I can’t see it getting dented anytime soon. At the unveil, Franz was able to hit it with a sledgehammer without causing any damage.


Traditionally, the other problem with painted body panels is chips due to gravel or grit on the road. In colder climates where the roads are gritted daily, this can cause lots of damage to body panels and glass.


Looks like Tesla has solved this one too. Their almost shatterproof glass should make the windscreen resistant to breaking when hit by light (or even some heavy) objects.


Aerodynamics


If the Cybertruck ends up having a drag coefficient of 0.3, it would be in line with the upgraded Tesla Roadster with Aero Kit. For reference, the Ford F150 has a drag coefficient of 0.56, whilst a Dodge Ram has a coefficient of 0.59.


As you can tell, a drag coefficient of 0.3 would be a big deal, especially for an EV where efficiency is of fundamental importance to range.


Finally, due to the car being electric, customers would benefit from both incentives and fuel savings on top of the low price tag.


Will the Price Really Be Less Than $40,000?


If you had interviewed people before the Cybertruck unveiling last November, you’d be lucky to find many people who genuinely believed that the price would be less than $40,000. I don’t think even Musk was expecting this price.


With Tesla’s current pricing strategy, a sub $40,000 price tag could spark some problems with the rest of the lineup. Not only would it most likely cannibalise many Model Y sales, but it would most likely reduce the Model 3 sales too.


Hence, by the time Cybertruck rolls around to production, Model 3 and Y will most likely be considerably cheaper than they are now. It wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see both Model 3 and Y below the $40,000 mark.


So far, Tesla hasn’t failed to deliver on an announced price, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t. Just like the Model 3, Cybertruck may have a cheap model which is difficult to find on Tesla’s website in the hope that they don’t sell many of them. As with all their cars, the more expensive variants will have considerably higher profit margins, so there will most likely be a push to sell as many dual and tri motor variants as possible.
Now that Elon Musk has declared the new baseline mileage to be 300 miles there may be changes to the CT lineup, but to address your primary question, to some the CT is much too large for them, and some people don’t like trucks let alone pickup-type trucks, and a lot of people don’t care for off-roading, and a lot of people would rather have paint than stainless. Not me, but many.
 

Feathermerchant

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With no paint, the assembly line will be cheaper and shorter to build. The new 4680 batteries and pack construction should save a lot on=f money too.

If you don't like the stainless look, you can always get a wrap.
 

Crissa

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If they get the cost down, it will change everything.

It already has... So many new startups trying their electric truck. Ford pushing theirs. GM investing.

There wouldn't be this without the Cybertruck. So many big companies still dragging their feet while investments pump into electric trucks.

If Tesla does it again, they'll change the world.

-Crissa
 

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Wow! I didn't know Robb Report was still around... I used to read them as a kid dreaming about all the cars.
 
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They are still around and they must spend lots of money on their magazines because of the high quality!
 

egandalf

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I didn’t say any of that and I realize that most articles about the truck have erroneous info.
I was merely quoting what you posted. I realize you didn't actually author those words. Sorry for the misunderstanding caused by the quote system. Really appreciate the share.
 
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Frank W

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Ah! No problem at all. I certainly didn’t want to be spreading wrong news when most of us that are following Tesla/Cybertruck have a better understanding. The website Prizeo had a Cybertruck raffle or at least $50k towards one and they didn’t even have the correct specifications and after emailing them regarding them they still didn’t correct the info. Oh well.
 

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