Tesla’s intergalactically anticipated Cybertruck has finally poked its pointy beak through the cover it’s been hiding under, and it’s a pickup that looks like no other. In fact, the Tesla truck appears not merely to have broken cover, but to have teleported from a different solar system entirely. However, once you get past the Cybertruck’s initial visual impact—Is it a UFO? A mutant doorstop? A children’s drawing of a vehicle?—there remains several light years’ worth of details that confound and delight. Here are the top 13 things you probably missed after a first glimpse of the Cybertruck seared off your corneas.
It Is Called Cybertruck
Yes, the Tesla pickup really is called “Cybertruck.” Not “Model” anything, like Tesla’s cars and crossovers, the Model 3, Model S, and Model X. Not The Cybertruck, or Cyber Truck, two words—just Cybertruck. While the name is something of a departure from Tesla naming convention and broader car industry naming conventions, the Cybertruck name is refreshingly literal in the same sense as the Tesla Roadster’s: Here is a truck with heavy cybernetic influence, plain and simple.
Any Color You Want . . .
Tesla’s taken a page from Ford’s century-old playbook for the original Model T and is offering Cybertruck in a single color. Well, actually, the Tesla truck is being sold in no color at all. The only available exterior finish is bare, unpainted stainless steel. (Ford’s Model T, famously, was once sold only in the color black to streamline the manufacturing process further so that more could be churned out hour-by-hour.) The stainless finish may enhance the Cybertruck’s edgy, 8-bit-video-game look, but it’s sure to turn off some buyers (those who, you know, aren’t turned off by the way it, um, looks). Those customers will be allowed to vinyl-wrap their Cybertrucks, a move that both increases the vehicles’ color and pattern possibilities and at the same time decreases environmental impacts associated with vehicle painting. Oh, and as was the case with the Model T, the single-color scheme eases manufacturing complexity for already-busy Tesla.
A truck is nothing without its bed, and Tesla’s Cybertruck has an awesome one. Tesla calls it the vault, a corny move that nearly undoes the bed’s inherent coolness. Anyway, the Cybertruck’s bed is finished in the same stainless steel as the rest of the body and measures 6.5 feet long. It suffers no intrusion from the wheel wells, so it is a clean, rectangular volume. Horizontal accessory rails are positioned beneath the diagonal sail panels stretching from the tailgate to the roof peak, and Tesla promises that those panels will even boast their own storage compartments (not unlike Ram’s Rambox bedside compartments). Open the tailgate, and you will find a slide-out loading ramp that allows wheeled things to be rolled up into the bed. Both 120- and 220-volt charging outlets, as well as an air compressor, are built in, too. Oh, and the entire bed can be secured by an integrated roll-up, garage-door-style tonneau cover, which also is said to help aerodynamic efficiency.
Literally (Probably?) Bulletproof
Talk about coming out with a bang! At the Cybertruck’s flashy reveal, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed video of 9-mm bullets being fired at the pickup’s cold-rolled-steel body panels and leaving nary more than a dent behind. Our assumption is that any rounds larger than 9 millimeters will puncture the Cybertruck’s skin. Another reason to leave an asterisk behind Tesla’s “bulletproof” claim? The truck’s so-called Armor Glass windows are supposed to be tough too, but aren’t claimed to be bulletproof. They also didn’t prove as tough as expected when, during the Cybertruck’s reveal, Tesla design boss Franz von Holzhausen heaved a metal ball at them and smeared two—when during an earlier demonstration using Armor Glass panels, the same ball bounced off of them. The lesson? You probably shouldn’t rely on the Cybertruck for trips into hails of gunfire, but for the company that developed the Ludicrous acceleration drive mode and a Biological Defense Mode, bulletproofing somehow isn’t a surprising addition.
Super Long Driving Range
Have an itch for some long-haul truckin’? Worry not, because the Tesla’s electric powertrain shouldn’t hold it back from long-distance trips. Tesla projects Cybertruck’s maximum range at over 500 miles, over a 35-percent increase over the longest-range Model S sedan currently available. An optional stacked battery pack—think of a layer cake of battery packs—is the key to the Cybertruck’s huge range number. (The standard battery provides an estimated 250 miles of range per charge.) Making recharging easier and more accessible beyond America’s coastal areas is Tesla’s planned expansion of Supercharger stations into rural areas. That’ll make long-distance drives even more viable than today’s Supercharger network already allows, and hopefully help Cybertruck’s popularity across the nation.
Built-In Light Bar
There will be no need to modify Cybertruck with a flotilla of auxiliary lights like an old Jeep for better visibility after dark or on off-road trails far from streetlamps’ glow. In addition to the LED mono-headlight spanning the width of the truck’s front end, there is a second, auxiliary light bar installed at the top of the windshield. The combination of that lamp and the headlight bar is pretty sweet, and follows the Cybertruck’s hard edges perfectly.
Seats for Six
Among the Cybertruck’s new-age features sits—pun intended—one very old-school flourish: A front bench seat. There is space for a whole work crew inside, thanks to the six-seat capacity that middle front chair creates. As in other full-size pickups, the Tesla’s front row center armrest can be flipped up to form a backrest for a sixth perch. Whoever rides there will get the best view of Cybertruck’s huge central infotainment screen.
New User Interface
Speaking of that huge infotainment touchscreen, a now-familiar centerpiece of Tesla interiors, Tesla has confirmed that the Cybertruck’s will be a 17-inch unit. That matches the size of the vertically oriented units in the Model S and Model X. (The Model 3 has a smaller, horizontally oriented screen.) More importantly, the Cybertruck’s display runs a new user interface tailored for truck use. Tesla hasn’t elaborated on what exactly that tailoring includes, but it likely involves on-screen controls for autonomous trailer hitching, various pickup bed features, and adjustments for the long-travel air suspension.
Cybertruck has a roof made from transparent Armor Glass. On any other vehicle, this would be referred to as a panoramic sunroof. But, because we’re talking the bonkers Tesla truck here, consider it a fancy viewing portal for watching Space X rockets blast into the sky from inside the cab.
Cybertruck’s shape is, um, unconventional, and we have questions about how its huge rear sail panels and yawning windshield’s supports might impact a driver’s outward visibility. To the rear, in particular, those opaque sail panels mean you can pretty much forget visual checks of your blind spots. Plus, what happens when the Cybertruck’s roll-up tonneau cover is deployed? Goodbye, whatever meager rear visibility there was to begin with! Tesla’s workaround comes in the form of a digital, camera-based rearview mirror setup, similar to what’s in some trucks already on the road, in which a live feed of what’s behind the truck is beamed to a rearview-mirror-shaped screen.
Stone Cold Trim
Tesla already offers leather-free vegan seating surfaces on its vehicles, and is turning to other sustainable resources to trim Cybertruck interiors. The dashboard is decorated with a long slab of something mimicking marble or granite, giving the interior a distinctive, organic look. We only recall seeing actual stone trim on ultra-high-end luxury cars, but it should be mentioned that this material is likely not authentic, given electric vehicles’ stringent weight targets. Plus, on trucks, any extraneous weight added is capacity subtracted from payload ratings and such.
Here is a question: Can the Tesla truck? The answer is a resounding yes, if Tesla’s claims for the Cybertruck are to be believed. The single-motor, rear-wheel-drive base model is said to tow up to 7,500 pounds, a figure that is upgraded to a whopping 14,000 pounds on the triple-motor, four-wheel-drive range-topping model. Every version’s payload is set at 3,500 pounds. For comparison, the Ford F-150‘s towing capacity tops out at 13,200 pounds, while its payload maxes out at 2,309 pounds.
It is by now well established that Teslas are quick—really quick, actually. Electric motors serve up strong torque from essentially zero rpm on, unlike internal-combustion engines, which typically need to spool up a little before making significant power. Tesla also dumps a ton of power into its electric motors, prioritizing effortless, head-snapping acceleration as much as efficiency and driving range. All of these characteristics will be baked into the Cybertruck. Tesla claims the two-wheel-drive model (with its motor in the rear) will zip from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, half a second behind the 450-hp Ford F-150 Raptor. That’s respectable, we suppose, but the real action will be with the triple-motor Tesla, which is claimed to reach 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, a tenth of a second behind the time put down by Chevrolet’s new C8 Corvette in our testing.