Tesla Cybertruck: What we know about the wild electric truck

We continue to follow Musk's zany electric pickup truck closely. Here's a recap of the EV so far.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
6 min read
Tesla Cybertruck
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Tesla Cybertruck

Will the production truck remain this angled?


The Tesla Cybertruck. Even those who don't follow the auto industry closely probably know about this wild electric truck, which CEO Elon Musk revealed back in November 2019. It's a polarizing machine, that's for sure. But beyond what everyone thinks about the truck, what do we actually know about it, two years later?

While production remains a long way out, we're still learning more about the ambitious new truck. Read on below for everything we know about the Cybertruck. More and more as it draws closer to production, as it turns out: In July, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the new Cybertruck will be built in Austin, Texas, alongside the company's forthcoming electric Semi, which has itself been delayed until 2022.

The Tesla Cybertruck puts an ATV in its bed

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Design and engineering

We know the Tesla Cybertruck has a thick, unfinished stainless steel body. Stainless steel looks cool, but could present several problems, based on other companies' attempts at making it work on a production vehicle -- namely DeLorean with the DMC-12. The material is tough and resistant to corrosion, but it's also difficult to repair and almost impossible to paint. Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims that the body of the Cybertruck is capable of withstanding sledgehammers and certain types of small-arms fire. The vehicle's glass, though? Not so much. It'll need some mirrors, too, as Musk whacking a traffic pylon on the road seemed to highlight visibility issues. Those mirrors, by the way, will be detachable, according to the CEO. As it stands, it sounds like Tesla hasn't quite finalized what the Cybertruck's skin alloy will be made of. Back in July 2020, Musk telegraphed that there were metallurgical changes afoot for the new truck.

How does the public feel about this futuristic doorstop of a pickup? Depends on who you ask. One early survey had the majority of Americans saying it didn't impress them or they hadn't even seen the electric pickup.

The Cybertruck's dimensions put it in line with other full-size trucks on sale today such as the , and . Specifically, the Cybertruck is 231.7 inches long, 79.8 inches wide and 75 inches tall, with seating for six adults. Off-road performance looks decent too, with a 35-degree approach angle, a 28-degree departure angle and up to 16 inches of ground clearance.

Those dimensions may cause headaches for future owners, though. An augmented-reality app showed the Cybertruck will likely have a tough time squeezing into typical US garages. It's not really a problem unique to the Cybertruck, but nevertheless, the electric pickup will need a big space. Despite earlier reports to the contrary, it appears that Tesla won't alter the dimensions of the original concept truck to make it more wieldy. However, a second, smaller model is possible... eventually.

Perhaps a Cybunker will be of interest to house the pickup. Yes, the Cybertruck is getting a companion housing unit, supposedly ready for construction sometime next year.

Also interesting is that, while the Cybertruck's body may look like it would slice through the air with all the efficiency of a piece of farm equipment, it may not be that aerodynamically inefficient, according to some computer modeling done by an independent aerospace engineer. 

Naturally, Musk piled onto that claim with more hype, saying that the Cybertruck could have a coefficient of drag of around 0.30 -- around the same as a ST and much better than most trucks. Going back the year the Cybertruck broke cover, a 2019 Silverado 1500, for example, claims a drag coefficient of 0.38 and while that 0.08 difference doesn't seem like a lot, it is. It's unclear how dramatically adding an actual windshield wiper would affect that 0.30 figure.

An essential part of any truck is its bed, and how effective that bed is at carrying stuff. The Cybertruck takes the traditional truck bed concept and adds some features that are both cool and likely very functional. The first is that the Cybertruck's bed comes with a sliding, metal tonneau cover that's lockable -- making the cargo area much more secure than an open bed.

The Cybertruck's bed also features a built-in ramp and multiple charging outlets for things like electric ATVs (which seem to use an awful lot of Yamaha parts). Tesla claims a payload capacity of 3,500 pounds, which puts it ahead of best-specced F-150.

Yet, the Cybertruck may not be classified as a light-duty pickup truck. Documents Tesla filed in California in December put the automaker on the record saying the pickup will "likely" boast medium-duty truck specs. That would make the Cybertruck an F-250 competitor, which far outpaces the Tesla's pickup. It also may explain why the Cybertruck walked an F-150 away in a tug-of-war match up.

Inside, the Cybertruck is more spartan than even Tesla's -- a vehicle which was considered incredibly minimalistic when it was introduced back in 2016. Like the Model 3, the Cybertruck has a large, centrally mounted touchscreen. It's also sporting a not-at-all-wheel-like steering wheel, something we'd be shocked to see make it through to production.

Finally, Musk has claimed that the Cybertruck will be available with built-in solar charging. The system, he says, will be able to add between 15 and 40 miles of range depending on conditions, but he declined to state whether the system will be included with the truck, or available as an option.

Tesla Cybertruck is like nothing else, and it'll be built in Austin

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Performance, prices and production

Tesla's Cybertruck will be offered in four different trim levels, each with a different powertrain. The base model will feature a single motor and a range of around 250 miles. This version will be rear-wheel drive only, and Tesla claims it'll tow approximately 7,500 pounds. The single-motor version will make the 0-to-60 sprint in a respectable but slow-for-Tesla 6.5-ish seconds. Tesla plans to offer this version for $39,900 before any incentives, according to the company.

The next rung up is the dual-motor trim, which starts at $49,900 and features all-wheel drive. Tesla claims this midtier model will have a range of better than 300 miles and will be able to tow around 10,000 pounds. The dual-motor's 0-to-60 time drops to around 4.5 seconds. We'd expect that this would be the trim level that most people opt for. It's right in the price-to-performance sweet spot that other trucks currently occupy.

A tri-motor all-wheel drive Cybertruck previously sat at the top of the model range. This version will set buyers back just a shade under $70,000 -- $69,900 to be exact -- but for that money, you'll get a range of around 500 miles and the advertised towing capacity of 14,000 pounds. That range claim is a big deal, and we're not 100% sure how Tesla plans to make it a reality in such a heavy vehicle with three motors, but we'll see. The tri-motor trim's 0-to-60 time will hover at or around 2.9 seconds.

On Dec. 3, Musk revealed there will be a four-motor variant. In fact, this will be the first truck set for production sometime in 2022. The CEO didn't divulge many other details, but it will feature "independent, ultra fast response torque control of each wheel." It's not clear if this four-motor variant replaces the tri-motor truck, but those with reservations for other powertrain types will be able to upgrade their order to the four-motor Cybertruck.

This being Tesla, the options list is basically nonexistent, except for the Full Self-Driving option, which the company presently sells for $10,000. Other than that, who knows what kind of gear Tesla may offer with the pickup truck.

Prospective buyers can plunk down a $100 refundable deposit for their dystopian dream vehicle now, but Tesla swapped production priority around in early December. Originally, the cheapest Cybertrucks (single- and dual-motor) were planned for production in late 2021. Then, Tesla flat-out delayed the truck this year. The company plans to test beta vehicles by the end of 2021, with production now happening sometime in 2022. That should effectively shift production of the lesser Cybertrucks by a year as well. That also assumes the carmaker doesn't run into any other issues along the way.

Watch this: Top 5 ways Tesla's Cybertruck made our jaws drop