In wake of Tesla Cybertruck, what are your priorities in an electric pickup?


The Tesla Cybertruck revealed Thursday night was polarizing and thought-provoking, to say the least. 

It’s radically different than any other pickup truck ever proposed in the sort of volume Tesla’s order numbers—around 150,000 as we write this—are suggesting. Other electric trucks from Rivian, GM, Ford, and Lordstown Motors (née Workhorse), might arrive about the same time as the Cybertruck, but they’re all in some way iterations of the traditional three-box pickup paradigm.

Tesla Cybertruck

The Tesla Cybertruck, on the other hand, looks like it’s been drawn on a version of Trap-a-zoid—yes, that was another ‘80s geek reference, Elon. 

Versus passenger cars, pickups could be ripe for a design revolution as they go electric. Electric trucks don’t need the huge, tall engine bay, and we applaud Tesla in showing a design that visually points that out (as opposed to clearing out space for an especially deep frunk)—even if in production it might not arrive quite like this. If you’re one of the first to drive a fully electric truck, why not flaunt it?

Rivian R1T electric pickup concept

Rivian R1T electric pickup concept

The design aspects, and the freedom afforded by taking the American pickup all electric, made us curious how our readers feel about the following question: What are your priorities as you take your belief in EVs to the world of pickups or trucks?

Or, to put this in a format more conducive to a single poll answer: What do you most value in a fully electric pickup truck?

As Tesla knows, aerodynamics, more than weight or the trickle of a Cybertruck solar roof, will be critical in keeping the brawny electric truck to its range predictions. The company didn’t say anything about the aerodynamic performance of the Cybertruck, but we know not to dismiss the presence of corners, planes, and chamfers to be any indication it’s going to fail in the aero tunnel. Neither should we rush to dismiss the current crop of “conventional-looking” pickups as aerodynamically inferior to the Cybertruck. 

Design is certainly one priority, but in the current EV realm, range is always at the top. Tesla boasts up to a 500-mile range for the Cybertruck, with battery capacities not discussed—but a solar option now confirmed. 

The Lotus Esprit S1 that Elon Musk partly claimed as inspiration for the Cybertruck has a claimed coefficient of drag of 0.376—quite good for that time, but it’s virtually identical to the 0.357 coefficient of drag of the 2019 Ram 1500. The Model S and Model X both post 0.24, while the Model 3 does slightly better at 0.23. 

Actual truck performance isn’t typically gauged in terms of empty 0-60 mph times but in payloads, towing weights, and tongue weights. Towing capacity will rate “more than 14,000 pounds,” according to Tesla, and payload “up to 3,500 pounds.” Based on our readers’ experience towing with a Model X, for instance, we’re curious what kind of range the Cybertruck might return at its full towing capacity. 

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Cybertruck

The dazzle of hammers, bullets, and broken glass aside, Tesla’s information was woefully short on some of the usual expectations for pickup shoppers: Will the Cybertruck’s 6.5-foot bed fit a 4×8 piece of plywood (several trucks with smaller beds do)? Where and how do you secure items sized like the ATV or smaller, and how can long pieces of gear like kayaks be carried? Tesla has so many questions to answer, and if it were serious in winning over traditional truck owners it might have teased out more of these details from the start. 

Another top priority for pickup users relates to the longtime support of the trucks. Put bluntly, pickup owners tend more often to use their vehicles for work rather than for just getting to work. 

Is it an easy fix for the battle wounds that are expected in day-to-day situations where you actually use a truck? Will Tesla make cosmetic repairs to the body and the 30X stainless steel “exoskeleton” from off-roading an easy task? If this is a uni-body design, how is body repair done? And with pickups commonly driven on and around gravel roads, how quickly and easily can windshields be replaced? 

Tesla Cybertruck live unveiling - November 21, 2019

Tesla Cybertruck live unveiling – November 21, 2019

With Tesla staunchly proprietary about repairs, its history regarding delays for replacement parts, and its pushback against independent shops, service networks, and Right to Repair rules, this could be a challenge breaking into the pickup realm. 

On the other hand, Tesla has superb access to one support network: charging. The Tesla truck would have access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, which is second to none. 

We’re curious to hear how you feel about electric-truck priorities, especially after seeing the Cybertruck. If you have a truck or have owned one in the past, did it change the priorities for you? Please vote, then leave your comments below.