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Tesla Cybertruck electrifies the truck segment

Tesla's next entry isn't a car at all, it's a pickup truck, and it's unlike any trucks we've seen before.

Tim Stevens Former editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Tim Stevens
Andrew Krok
3 min read
Tesla Cybertruck Invite
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Tesla Cybertruck Invite

Here it is, in all its cyberpunk glory.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

What started off as a casual comment by Elon Musk in 2012 about wanting to build a truck has evolved into what you see here, Tesla's first production pickup truck. Called the Cybertruck (or "Cybrtrk" if you're of the dark trench coat persuasion), it's built to fulfill a lot of familiar tasks but, beyond that, is anything but familiar.

Let's start with the basic stuff. The Cybertruck is 231.7 inches long, 79.8 inches wide and 75 inches tall, with seating for six. Let's compare that to the , which measures between 209 and 250 inches long, 80 and 86 inches wide and between 75 and 78.5 inches tall. That puts it in pretty much the same company as every other pickup out there.

Read more: How to order Tesla's insane new Cybertruck

Watch this: Tesla Cybertruck: First ride in the pickup of the future

And then there are the performance figures, which sound too good to be true. Musk claims the Cybertruck will reach 60 mph in 2.9 seconds before continuing through the quarter-mile marker in under 11 seconds. Yet, at the same time, its off-road numbers are commendable, offering a 35-degree approach angle, a 28-degree departure angle and up to 16 inches of ground clearance. Three ranges will be on offer, with "250-plus" miles at the low end and an astounding "500-plus" miles at the top.

At the Cybertruck's premiere on Thursday, Musk also showed off an ATV that can fit (and charge) inside the truck's bed.

Musk claims the stainless steel alloy on the Cybertruck's body is strong, and it appears to be the case. Not only did he and his team hit the body with a sledgehammer to no effect, Musk even claims it can withstand certain types of small arms fire.

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On the towing front, Musk estimates the truck will be capable of towing 14,000 pounds. According to a video played at the debut, the Cybertruck out-pulled the F-150 in a tug of war.

It's difficult to compare Cybertruck to much of anything on the road, but it isn't the only electric pickup coming to market. Rivian made waves with its R1T, promising more than 400 miles of range and 700 horsepower, with a 0-to-60 time of 3.2 seconds, 11,000 pounds of towing and 1,764 pounds of payload. Starting price? $69,000.

And don't forget Bollinger, which is taking a similar concept to ruggedized, electrified pick-up, but with a decidedly more up-market Bollinger B2. That truck, with 614 hp and 668 pound-foot of torque, tows 7,500 pounds and hauls 5,201 pounds. Impressive numbers, but also impressive is the price: $125,000.

Compare that to the Cybertruck's claimed price, which is... far lower, frankly. In its least expensive guise, the 250-plus-mile Cybertruck will cost $39,900. The midrange Cybertruck tacks on an extra $10,000, while the top-range, "tri-motor" variant comes in at $69,900. Cybertruck preorders are now open.

Given its relative performance and price, the Cybertruck could be a massive success for Tesla as it enters into the largest segment in the US market. Almost 3 million pickups were sold to consumers in 2018. If Tesla can carve off a tiny sliver of that, it'll go a long way toward taking Tesla's annual sales to the next level. 

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

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