An angular throwback to the 80s with busted windows. Call Doc Brown from Back to the Future because undoubtedly Tesla CEO Elon Musk would love to go back in time following last night’s cringy debut of his long-anticipated Cybertruck.
The market clearly isn’t impressed either as Tesla’s stock value dropped six percent today following a strange, laser-light reveal in Hawthorne, Calif. punctuated by sledgehammers, metal spheres reminiscent of the old horror film Phantasm and a bumbling Musk that nearly forgot to demo his company’s new four-wheeler which may very well have stolen the limelight.
The unforgettable truck which Musk has likened to Blade Runner may find redemption in its immense torque, an all-wheel-drive option, 16-inch adjustable ground clearance and an impressive starting price of $39,900. But first you have to get past the fractured windows and a current federal investigation that’s examining why Tesla vehicle batteries are catching on fire even without being involved in any collisions.
Beyond that, it’s challenging trying to like this pickup. It would help if it was shown getting airborne while carving up some dunes at Glamis. Plus, I like Blade Runner and DeLorean and admittedly I had a hard time putting down my protractor in middle school, but this thing is a bridge too far.
While it was impressive watching Musk’s video of Cybertruck yanking an F-150 down the road in a towing contest, it wasn’t exactly earth-shattering news because the advantage of immense EV torque has already been clearly established. Plus, the drivetrain of the F-150 wasn’t revealed. Judging by the tire squeal, it appeared to be a two-wheel-drive. Two of the three Cybertruck models are available in all-wheel-drive. Something more compelling would be watching Cybertruck trying to yank an electric F-150—not one powered by internal combustion. Ford recently showed their electric F-150 pulling over a million pounds worth of rail cars so bragging rights on ultimate towing power is far from over.
But onto the memorable demo that might as well left two ‘X eyes’ on the truck’s driver and passenger windows.
Prior to the live streamed fail on Tesla’s website, things had been swimming along pretty well with most of us just trying to get our heads around the strangest looking truck ever.
Musk demo’d just how tough the cold-rolled stainless-steel body was by having Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen repeatedly beat it with a sledgehammer. A tough, but ugly truck I thought. It could even stop 9 mm bullets, Musk said. Who knows? Could come in handy for some dicey grocery runs. Next came the demo showing the strength of Tesla’s Armor Glass.
“Shoot it!” someone yelled in the audience.
That Westworld-like demo wouldn’t come to pass as Musk joked about potential issues with OSHA and the State of California. Instead, the maverick automaker gave the signal for a metal sphere to be dropped onto a piece of conventional auto glass lying flat on the side of the stage. Spider web cracks appeared. Next, the same sphere was dropped onto Armor Glass. No cracks. Impressive. Larger spheres were dropped at greater heights and still the glass would not crack.
But then Musk upped the ante and had Holzhausen throw a metal sphere about the size of billiard ball at the driver’s window. The results weren’t pretty. It looked even worse than the conventional glass that had been broken a few yards away.
“Oh my ****ing god. Well, maybe that was a little hard,” said Musk who then laughed. “It didn’t go through so that was the plus side.”
“Should I try the rear?” Holzhausen then asked.
Musk agreed and this time Holzhausen laid off the gas but still the rear window fractured and looked just as bad as the first.
“Aw, man!” Holzhausen said looking at the ugly result.
“It didn’t go through,” Musk said in response.
Musk told the audience that he wasn’t sure why the glass had fractured. He explained that during prior testing the glass had held up after being struck with a kitchen sink and tools.
So much for antics. Onto the specs…
The single motor rear-wheel drive, which stickers for $39,900, has a range of 250 miles, 7,500 pounds towing capacity and a zero to 60 mph time of 6.5 seconds. The dual motor all-wheel-drive variant has a range of 300 miles, a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds and a zero to 60 time of 4.5 seconds. The $69,900 tri motor all-wheel-drive has a range of 500-plus miles, a towing max of 14,000 pounds and a blistering zero to 60 time of 2.9 seconds. A self-driving package costs another $7,000. Reservations can be made for a refundable $100 deposit. Production is set for late 2022.