The term pickup is of unknown origin, but was first used by Studebaker in 1913 and by the 1930s had become a generic term for a light-duty truck having an enclosed cab and an open cargo area with low sides and tailgate. In North America, the pickup is mostly used as a passenger car and accounts for about 18% of total American vehicle sales, in part because it benefits from lower fuel and emission control regulations, and tax breaks from the IRS. Full-sized pickups and SUVs account for more than two-thirds of their global pretax earnings of GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler, because of their high prices and profit margins.
Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s first pickup, the Cybertruck, in Los Angeles 2019-11-21. It is battery-powered. Tesla’s stated goal is to displace a large portion of fossil fueled light trucks sold.
Cybertruck’s styling is anything but charming, and many commented that the presentation setting, in both time and place. was that of the original Blade Runner. However, the Cybertruck has many positive characteristics including a durable exterior shell made of a light-weight titanium alloy, for passenger protection. It is also claimed that every component is designed for strength and endurance. These are important considerations in a truck.
Specifications, both estimated and revealed: Vehicle mass = 2 700 kg/ 6 000 lbs; payload = 1 600 kg/ 3 500 lbs; power = 570 kW/ 775 HP; storage space = 2 830 litres/ 100 ft3 ; vault aka bed length = 2 meters/ 6.5 feet; ground clearance = up to 410 mm/ 16 “; approach angle = 35 degrees; departure angle = 28 degrees; seating = 6 in two rows.
Characteristics that vary, depending on the model, are included in the table below.
|Range km/ miles||400/ 250||500/ 300||800 / 500|
|0 -100 kph; 0 – 60 mph in s||< 6.5||< 4.5||< 2.9|
|Top speed kph/ mph||177/ 110||193/ 120||209/ 130|
|Towing capacity kg/ lb||3 400/ 7 500||4 500/ 10 000||6 350/ 14 000|
|Price (to closest US$ 1 000)||40 000||50 000||70 000|
Compressed air is an important feature of the Cybertruck. It allows for a self-levelling suspension which compensates for variable load. In addition it provides power for pneumatic tools. On-board power inverters supply both 110 and 220-Volt electricity, for electrically powered tools.
At the presentation, Tesla’s armoured glass failed to work as intended, when a steel ball thrown by design chief Franz von Holzhausen shattered two windows in two attempts. The presentation ended with a Tesla Cyberquad electric ATV being loaded onto the truck vault, using built-in tailgate ramps. The Cyberquad was then plugged into the Cybertruck’s onboard power outlet, to charge it.
My hope is that many people currently buying Ford F-150s, Chevrolet Silverados, Rams and other ICE pickups, will be encouraged to buy either a Cybertruck, or a more conventional looking Rivian R1T, or other suitable electric vehicles. Personally, I am not part of the pickup culture. My Brenderup 4310S utility trailer meets almost all of my freight transport needs, and should do so for the rest of my life.