In defence of Tesla Cybertruck, or why I’ve already placed a pre-order.

Weirdly, for someone who’s followed the automotive industry for as long as I have, I was quite looking forward to last week’s reveal of the new Tesla pick-up truck. You’d think I’d be blasé by now, particularly in this monotonous era of truckified hatchbacks at the low-end of the market and uselessly fast (merely usefully expensive) hypercars at the high-end.

But no, for some reason I had high hopes for Elon’s latest — his brave foray into the hyper-competitive market that is the bread and butter of his fellow American manufacturers. This is particularly strange given that I hardly like any of the current Tesla models enough to recommend them, much less buy one for myself. So why was my spidey sense tingling ?

And then it came out! Gleaming silver exoskeleton, massive light bars, broken windows, and all.

Immediate feedback from “the people” ? Not exactly universal in its praise. Quite unlike other recent “exciting” releases, such as the new Audi RS6, which received almost universal adoration when it was revealed in September,i or the new Ferrari Roma, which excited a few terribly uninteresting people and mostly put everyone else to sleep, Elon’s latest creation immediately polarized public opinion like nothing since DJ Trump called every Mexican a rapist. Should it come as a surprise, then, that I couldn’t be more impressed with Cybertruck ? To the point that, from the moment it rolled out onto the stage and the range/acceleration specs were announced, I knew that the tri-motor variant would be the only thing I could currently imagine kicking the seventh letter of the alphabet out of the Contravex Garage ?ii I mean seriously, 500 miles of range is more than a Rangie!iii It’s a trip to the mountains and back without a refill (rejuice?). It’s a full week of city driving, and then some!

But more than just the industry-leading driving range, what impressed, and impresses, me most about Cybertruck is the rugged simplicity (read: masculinity) of it. I mean, what’s one of the biggest gripes of would-be pick-up truck buyers ? That the new generation of trucks are too fussyiv and too complicated.v Not only are F-150/Silverado/Sierra/Ram infotainment systems pandering contrivances, often for their own sakes, or even worse for the sake of “progress,” but they’re designed by “legacy” firms for whom software is an afterthought and whose design is to be resolved by suppliers over whom little or no control can be exerted.vi

Then there’s the exterior design of “normal” trucks, which are so over-styled with creases, bends, and flares that the things are damned-near impossible to keep clean, not to mention that every little knick or ding immediately turns into a multi-thousand-dollar repair bill. All-in-all, the general fussiness of new gas-powered trucks is, well, urbanly feminising at best, which is obviously antithetical to the whole product segment, a segment that also happens to be the leading one in North America. So Elon, as only he can, listened to what his audience was really asking for even though they frequently struggled to articulate it, then he reframed his limitations,vii and cut the bullshit like no other product entrepreneur since Steve Jobs by providing attractively lit, muscularly styled (almost brutally masculine),viii intuitive, bold, brash, long-range, fast,ix flexible, and relatively affordable personal transportation with Cybertruck.

Pre-orders, although only secured by USD$ 100 deposits, already number 187k as of Sunday, only two-and-a-half days after the reveal, equating to >3k pre-orders per hour.x Indeed, after the initial barrage of disparaging and almost derogatory memes,xi the all-mighty market is now forcing popular sentiment to bend from “shocked” to deservedly impressed. Funny how money talks and bullshit walks innit!xii As the dust settles, the rest of the world is figuring out what I realized in the first 10 seconds of looking at it : Cybertruck is a huge fucking deal.

Coming from a kid in Truck Country who knows a thing or two about desirable trucks, you’d be unwise to ignore this 2022 Tesla. It’s not just another far-flung concept car, it’s the road-bound future.

I’m betting on it.
___ ___ ___

  1. The RS6 is still almost certain to be a milquetoast sales success, at best, for the simple reason that the superb E63 AMG already exists for those of us so compromised with children and only room for a single car in our garages. The RS6 will have a few conquest sales from Mercedes, to be sure, but there aren’t so many of us minted papas who were specifically waiting for the four-ringed brand to fill this void in our lives. The people who’re really most excited about the RS6 simply can’t afford it. The hype around the RS6 is all too reminiscent of the #savethemanuals bullshit perpetuated by broke-ass journalists who don’t have the dosh for the good shit in the first place and really have no business telling manufacturers “what enthusiasts really want.” Enthusiasts who actually buy new vehicles have never been better represented. We have voices. It’s called the Internet! And the Audi RS6 utterly fails to raise the pulse. At least my pulse. Now Cybertruck on the other hand…
  2. That gives me three more years in the G, which should really be plenty.
  3. Or a G! “Rangie” just sounded more rhyme-y with “range”, but either way the G obviously has all the aerodynamic svelteness of a buttressed cathedral, so no surprise that it can barely muster 17L/100km on the highway, giving the 100L tank a maximum range of just 588km, or 365mi. Lame!
  4. C&D article archived.
  5. Edmunds article archived.
  6. Compare this with Tesla, which is a software first company that also manages to manufacture every component and sub-assembly that it can, striving for complete vertical integration in an era when other manufacturers think they can just focus on branding and leave the rest of Bosch et al. Who’s your bet on come 2050 ?
  7. The biggest gripe that Tesla owners currently have is the quality of the paint. It chips/cracks far too easily and it just generally looks like absolutely shit the minute you start using it in the real world. For all of Tesla’s strengths, paint quality is absolutely one of their biggest shortcomings. Solution ? No paint! Straight-up stainless steel body from the SpaceX rockets! Fuck me if this isn’t a brilliant workaround to one of Tesla’s biggest customer issues. No one listens to their customers quite like Elon, and it shows! Yes, he reframes the “problem” but my goodness his products are better for it. Fellow entrepreneurs, take note. And PPE installers, good riddance.
  8. Masculinity matters ? Sure does, buckaroo, and this point really can’t be emphasized enough given that it’s arguably a first for any electric vehicle to be so considered. SLS Electric Drive style icon, Mustang E-Mach whorehouse, and Rivian vapourware included. Only Schwarzenegger’s Kreisel G-Wagon even comes close.
  9. 0-60 in 2.9 seconds for the USD$ 69`000 tri-motor Cybertruck. That’s Blackzilla fast with twice Blackzilla’s range, 50% more seating capacity, 4x more ground clearance, 10x more storage capacity, 14x more towing capacity, much lower operating costs, and all for about the same capital outlay! Fuuuuuck!!1
  10. As of Nov 26, the number of pre-orders sits at 250k, so a little over 2k/hr since launch, indicating a slightly tapering demand on an hourly basis, but this is all two years (plus!) from delivery! There are 17`500 hours to go until production starts!!!!
  11. Eg.

    Tesla Cybertruck meme - 4 Tesla Cybertruck meme - 3 Tesla Cybertruck meme - 2 Tesla Cybertruck meme - 1

  12. Though it must be said that the armchair analyst bullshit definitely varied by platform. The medium is the message! Instagram and blog comments leaned towards initial negativity, disapproving of the stark polygonal silhouette, whereas YouTube comments were far more positive.

    Since we all have freedom of platform when post-rationalising our decisions, for those of you looking for social licence to buy this truck, stick with the most important internet property in the world : YT!

3 thoughts on “In defence of Tesla Cybertruck, or why I’ve already placed a pre-order.

  1. Pete D. says:

    Lightly updated. Can’t get this thing out of my head!

  2. Mitchell says:

    Great piece, Pete. I couldn’t agree more. I am curious how many of the pre-orders will complete to purchase. For $100, the Tesla was finally “within reach” for a lot of people.

    • Pete D. says:

      $100 doesn’t seem like much but it’s 1) enough skin in the game to convert the majority of pre-orders into purchases, and 2) demonstrates to the company’s investors that Tesla isn’t as desperate for cash today as it was when the Model 3 launched in March 2016. The company has matured immensely in the last 3.5 years to the point that I’d say they’ve reached a critical mass in terms of production capacity to ensure long-term viability. Things are looking very bright in Palo Alto.

      And thank you. Very glad to hear you liked the piece!

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