Elon Musk is using all of his power and influence to build excitement around the Cybertruck.
This vehicle is the very first pickup/truck developed by its Tesla group. It is destined to become the cash cow of the manufacturer of electric vehicles.
It will mark Tesla's foray into the most profitable segment of the automotive industry, namely SUVs/crossovers and pickups/trucks. Musk is aware that Tesla (TSLA) cannot miss the debut of the Cybertruck, which will be in direct competition with the Ford F-150 Lightning, the electric version of the iconic F-150 pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the United States for many decades.
In addition to the F-150 Lightning, the Cybertruck will also face the Rivian (RIVN) R1T and probably the electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup from General Motors (GM). Suffice to say that the competition is fierce.
But for Musk, the challenge is not only to outclass his rivals, but to change the conception that we have of the pickup/truck in order to herald a new era for these vehicles whose design has also been secondary compared to their abilities.
He therefore bet on the visuals and features of the Cybertruck. When introducing the vehicle during a promotional event in 2019, Musk said at the time that he had been "influenced partly by 'The Spy Who Loved Me'" and the amphibious Lotus Esprit S1 featured in the 1977 James Bond film.
The car presented that day and the various prototypes seen in the streets and videos posted on social networks show a vehicle straight out of Sci-Fi movies. These images clearly indicate that the Cybertruck will be a futuristic vehicle that will command attention on the roads.
"We've pulled people away from their kind of normal comfort zone and brought them something that's just radically different and will be on the street radically different and, you know, if you're not used to attention might be a little tough in the beginning," Chief Vehicle Designer Franz von Holzhausen said mid-January.
The closer we get to the start of production scheduled for "late this year" the more Musk is creating new expectations on this vehicle, which he has promised to drive every day.
Since January 31, a video posted on social networks shows a Tesla Cybertruck circulating in the streets of Palo Alto, California. We can see some changes made to the vehicle compared to the prototypes seen a few months ago. The most eye-catching feature are the mirrors.
On the first prototypes seen, Tesla first integrated huge, rather unsightly black mirrors. This new prototype offers a much more aesthetic solution. The designers took the triangular shape of the vehicle's overall design and applied it to the shape of the mirrors.
The previous prototypes were equipped with mirrors with a rectangular shape. The new prototype appears to be the beta Cybertruck that Musk said on February 1 he reviewed. The billionaire has confirmed that the mirrors will indeed have a triangular shape.
"Here is a video of the Cybertruck!" a Tesla fan account posted on February 2 on Twitter, with the video of the new prototype.
"Yeah," Musk commented. "Still many small tweaks to make it better (and the side mirrors are removable by owner), but this is very close to production design."
Taillights on the Sides
Some of the "many small tweaks" Musk talks about are visible in the video. As the Tesla fan points out there is a new a tail light design. The taillights now are on the sides whereas in the previous seen Cybertrucks they went across the rear of the truck.
To come back to the mirrors, if, as Musk seems to say, this is probably what we will find in the Cybertruck, it means that the vehicle will not have camera mirrors integrated into the vehicle as some fans had hoped. This likely has to do with U.S. regulations: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) has not authorized this new generation of exterior mirrors, unlike Japan, South Korea and Europe.
The triangular shape of the mirrors and their size may also pose a problem in Europe where it is required that the size of the mirrors be proportional to that of the vehicle. The longer a vehicle is, the longer its mirrors should be.
The Cybertruck will also come with Tesla's "Hardware 4" full-self-driving computer, the company's advanced driver-assistance system, Musk said on Jan. 25. The main difference between Hardware 3 and Hardware 4 is in security, Musk has said
There's also a huge possibility of a yoke steering wheel.
The Tesla Cybertruck promises up to 500 miles of electric range, a maximum tow rating of 14,000 pounds, and a base price under $40,000. Buyers will also have to add Tesla driver assistance system Full Self-Driving for $15,000.