With an impressive financial quarter under its belt and new factories spinning up vehicle production, Tesla is riding high. So why not keep the good times rolling by once again opening up its design studio in Hawthorne, California to fans and journalists and show off its latest product, the Cybertruck.
CEO Elon Musk took the stage to remind everyone of the company's plan to make the world a greener place, proclaiming we need sustainable energy now. To show off the angular truck's toughness, Musk showed off how tough it is taking a shot from a hammer, ball bearings and a gun (the gunshot was in a video).
The truck didn't fare quite as well with a test of its "Tesla Armor Glass," as those broke when Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen threw an object at it, although Musk said "it didn't go through." The CEO seemed unruffled, and said that during earlier tests, the glass didn't break.
Musk said that the vehicle will do zero to 60 in about 2.9 seconds. But more importantly, it can tow 14,000 pounds. In demo videos, Musk showed it besting an F-150 in a tug of war, and beating a Porsche 911 off the line. He also announced three different battery ranges, with 250+, 300 or 500+ miles per charge, depending on the setup, said the truck will support 250kW charging via Superchargers and pack an air compressor on board.
The design, as you can see, is anything but traditional. Tesla's design language is evident throughout and while it might not appeal to mainstream truck buyers, the Tesla crowd and those looking to haul things while reducing their carbon footprint will probably be happy to drive something that signals to the world they that care about the Earth -- and might be from the future, or at least a movie set in the future.
The starting price for this electric truck is going to be $39,900, and Tesla is taking pre-orders now with just $100 down. The sub-$40k model comes with RWD, a single motor and has the EPA-estimated 250+ miles of range, while a dual-motor AWD option ups the range to 300+ for an extra $10,000, and adding yet another $10k gets you a tri-motor AWD Cybertruck with the max towing capacity and range for just under $70,000. Self-driving features, of course, are a $7,000 option.
Production is scheduled to begin in "late 2021," with the tri-motor option likely waiting until 2022.
In a final bit of showmanship, Musk said Tesla also made an electric ATV. A rider drove it into the truck's bed, showing off both the adaptive suspension's ability to tilt back and ease loading, as well the truck's ability to charge the similarly-styled vehicle. We didn't hear whether or not the ATV will be an option.
Earlier in the day Musk tweeted that the truck's design was inspired by the Lotus Esprit S1 from the James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me. In the movie, the vehicle turned into a submarine. Sadly, the Cybertruck does not have that capability.
Tesla's pickup will enter an oddly crowded field with potential competition coming from startups Rivian and Bollinger. Meanwhile, Ford has hinted at electrified trucks on the horizon, and earlier today GM's CEO confirmed plans to develop an electric truck by 2021. In fact, with every vehicle unveiling, Tesla's competition gets larger as more traditional automakers begin rolling out their own EVs.
Tesla's Cybertruck specs:
Update, 11/22/19 11:50AM ET: This post originally said the person who threw the balls that broke the Cybertruck's windows was a volunteer; it was in fact Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen.