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Tesla Unveiled its New 'Cybertruck' Last Night in California to Mixed Reviews

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【Summary】Tesla unveiled its futuristic “Cybertruck” at a special event last night in California to a mixture of surprise and disappointment. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been saying for the past year that the truck would be like no other pickup ever made and he was right about that.

Eric Walz    Nov 22, 2019 9:25 AM PT
Tesla Unveiled its New 'Cybertruck' Last Night in California to Mixed Reviews

Tesla unveiled its futuristic "Cybertruck" at a special event last night in California to a mixture of surprise and disappointment. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been saying for the past year that the truck would be like no other pickup ever made, referring to it something that looks like it could be from the set of the 1982 science fiction movie Blade Runner

The truck sports a steel body and an angular, radical design and looks nothing like the rest of Tesla's electric lineup, which drew the most reactions at the unveil. Tesla's is marketing the truck as having more utility than a typical pickup truck and the performance of a sports car.

Cybertruck is built with a smooth monochrome exterior "exoskeleton" made from Cold-Rolled stainless steel for durability and passenger protection. Tesla demonstrated the strength of the body by having someone hit the door with a sledgehammer without leaving a dent, impressing some in the audience.

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Despite its unique design, the inside is fairly large. The Cybertruck can comfortably  seat six, with additional storage under the second-row seats. Like the Tesla's other models, the Cybertruck comes with an advanced 17" touchscreen with an all-new customized user interface. 

With up to 3,500 pounds of payload capacity and adjustable air suspension, the Cybertruck includes 100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage, so there is plenty of room to store equipment or tools. There is lockable storage compartments under the bed, in the front storage area or "frunk" as Tesla calls it, or in the sail pillars.

The truck includes a rear tonneau cover that Tesla claims is strong enough to stand on.

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The Cybertruck with its rear tonneau cover.

The base version of the Cybertruck has a 250 mile range and can tow over 7,500 pounds, putting on par with the Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado, which are some of the most popular pickup models with U.S. truck consumers. 

Elon Musk is looking to lure these customers away with a more utilitarian and more powerful electric truck.

The tri-motor all-wheel drive version can accelerate from 0-60 mph in as little as 2.9 seconds and has a range of up to 500 miles. With the three-motor all-wheel-drive configuration, the Cybertruck can tow near infinite mass Tesla says, with a rated towing capability of over 14,000 pounds. The truck also includes on-board power and compressed air.

The dual-motor all-wheel drive model, which will most likely to appeal to traditional truck customers can hit 0-60 mph is just 4.5 seconds and has an electric range of over 300 miles. All three versions of the Cybertruck feature a low center of gravity providing additional traction, control and torque. 

Equipped with dual electric motors, towing capacity is rated at over 10,000 pounds. The dual-motor all-wheel drive model also comes with adaptive air suspension standard, offering a ground clearance of 16 inches for off-road adventures. 

The adaptive air suspension can raise or lower four inches in either direction for easy access to the Cybertruck or the storage vault, while self-leveling capabilities adapt to any road condition.

The truck also features "Tesla armor glass." Tesla claims the ultra-strong glass and polymer-layered composite can absorb and redirect impact force for improved performance and damage tolerance. 

However, the glass didn't fare so well when Tesla attempted to test its strength. A blow to the driver side window with a steel ball cracked it during the live streamed event. Although the glass didn't shatter, it surprised Elon Musk as it wasn't supposed to happen.

The Cybertruck is being marketed as adaptable for many uses. For example, Tesla's website shows a camping version equipped with grill and a pop-up screened tent for outdoor adventures. Most likely Tesla will offer various add-on accessories so buyers can customize the truck to their needs. 

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Tesla says the Cybertruck will be capable of self-driving like Tesla's other models. The company's Full-Self Driving options costs $7,000 extra,  but Tesla warns that this price may increase by the time the Cybertruck enters production. Customer reserving a Cybertruck can lock in that price now.

Tesla is already facing competition in the electric truck segment from three electric truck startups. Rivals Rivian, Bollinger Motors, and Workhorse are all working on their own fully-electric utilitarian trucks.

Given the Cybertruck's radical design, Tesla might find it difficult to lure customers away from from traditional-looking Chevy, Ford and Dodge pickups, as truck owners are fiercely loyal to their favorite brands and models. 

The Ford F-150 pickup has been the number one selling truck in the U.S. for over 40 years and it too is marketed as rugged and powerful. Tesla is entering new territory with its futuristic-looking electric Cybertruck. However, the market potential is huge if Tesla can lure away buyers of traditional pickup models here in the U.S., but for that we'll have to wait and see.

The Cybertruck is available in three configurations starting at $39,900 for the Single Motor rear-wheel-drive model. The Dual-Motor all wheel drive costs $49,900 while the top of the line Tri-Motor is priced at $69,900.

Customer can reserve a Cybertruck with just a $100 refundable deposit. Production of the single motor RWD version is scheduled to begin in late 2021, followed by the all-wheel-drive, dual-motor model in late 2022.

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