Cybertruck Stirs Both Caution and Excitement

Cybertruck Stirs Both Caution and Excitement

Elon Musk, Tesla's charismatic Technoking, has released updates on the company's Cybertruck, which debuted with a bang in 2019, and warned that it may end up being a market flop.

Tesla Owners Online tweeted hype around the Cybertruck prompting a response from Musk:

"To be frank, there is always some chance that Cybertruck will flop, because it is so unlike anything else. I don’t care. I love it so much even if others don’t. Other trucks look like copies of the same thing, but Cybertruck looks like it was made by aliens from the future."

Design Changes

He also shared additional details on the all-electric truck’s design. In his tweet, Musk said:

"In end, we kept production design almost exactly same as show car. Just some small tweaks here & there to make it slightly better. No door handles. Car recognizes you & opens door. Having all four wheels steer is amazing for nimble handling & tight turns!"

Earlier this month, Musk revealed other details on the Cybertruck such as the adding of rear wheel steering, so it can do tight turns and maneuver with high agility.

This is a welcome addition to Cybertruck's impressive list of features. When 4-wheel steering control is added to Cybertruck's outstanding list of characteristics and capabilities, it will be a really groundbreaking American-made pickup truck on the market.

If Musk and his team can demonstrate Cybertruck's 4-wheel steering before the Hummer EV (due out in the fall of 2021), Tesla may once again steal the show. After all, it's only natural for Tesla to provide something like this in order to acquire even another competitive advantage in the hotly contested electric pickup truck industry.

It turns out that Cybertruck's 4-wheel steering capability isn't the only surprise. Tesla just filed for some Cybertruck patents, revealing the EV pickup truck's solar bed cover, redesigned UI, and a range of up to 600 miles. Looks like lots of great things are one their way.

However, the truck's unusual trapezoidal form and yoke instead of a steering wheel received perplexed reactions from analysts and Tesla followers when it first debuted. One reaction from a senior technology research analyst at Bernstein, called the Cybertruck "weird ... like, really weird."

The smashing of the Cybertruck's glass panes with a metal ball by Tesla design head Franz von Halzhausen was the centrepiece of the new vehicles’ unveiling ceremony. Musk claimed that the glass panes could withstand 9mm pistol shots.

However, as with other Tesla items, the public was enthralled and soon placed their $100 pre-orders. Musk, who isn't one to pass up free exposure, boasted about the figures at public events and on Twitter.

During the Q4 2020 earnings call, Musk said the Cybertruck volume production will only happen in 2022 at the new Gigafactory in Texas. The vehicle will go into production later this year, with a starting price of $39,900 for a rear-wheel drive (RWD) model.

What the Data Says

Last year, pickup trucks accounted for 20.1 percent of overall new automobile sales.  Established vehicle manufacturers dominate the pickup truck industry. General Motors led the market with a 36.1 percent share, while Ford came in second with a 33.8 percent market share.

Other vehicle firms are already hot on Tesla's heels as it prepares to construct its truck. Ford plans to release all-electric pickup trucks in the fall of 2022. It expects to deliver an all-electric version of the F-150, the company's best-selling gasoline-powered vehicle, in fall 2022. GM has also joined the market with the GMC Hummer EV, which will be available in 2023. Rivian, a startup, has also joined the all-electric pickup truck market with the R1T, which has a range equivalent to Tesla's Cybertruck and is eligible for a federal tax credit.

Beating the Competition

Given the increased competition and Tesla's historical issues with providing products on schedule, the success of its electric truck is far from certain. While it doesn’t seem to worry the Technoking, but it will have to contend with a market that is fast becoming crowded with startups and established car makers.