Cybertruck update: A tidbit

Find the Cybertruck! Photo: Found on

There has been a lot of media content produced about the Tesla Cybertruck. Here are some comments.

  1. Alasdair McLellan noted that the window damage to the Cybertruck was, if not deliberate, at least expected. How else could Musk ensure that every newspaper, magazine, blog and any other source on or off the web, publish a photo of the Cybertruck, so that everyone in the universe knows what a Cybertruck looks like?
  2. Adrián Esper Cárdenas, Mayor of Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosí, Mexico, saw the electric truck as having great potential as a local police and municipal vehicle. He reserved 15 Tesla Cybertrucks!
  3. Mike Gastin described the Cybertruck as a branding masterstroke. At 6:05 into the video he says (and writes) that Tesla is Delivering the Future – Today!
  4. Robert Llewellyn’s recent edition of Fully Charged News is full of the usual rants, this time about the Cybertruck as well as the Mustang Mach-E.
  5. Jameson Dow, writing in Electrek, is claiming that the Cybertruck is popular in markets where other Tesla products have failed to capture interest. “The Tesla Cybertruck is the first time we’ve gotten a chance to compare data between a sedan launch and a pickup launch from the same company. And it turns out that, despite Tesla’s brand appeal on the coasts, the Cybertruck is breaking new ground and doing quite well in the “heartland” – where pickup trucks are traditionally more popular than sedans.”
  6. Here is a reference to Matt Ferrell’s Undecided, who asks: Why do we hate something viscerally at first, and then come to love it a little while later?
  7. There are even more details at Design Prototype Test. It provides some engineering concepts missing in other sources, but there are also misunderstandings. For example, EVs do not have engines, they have motors.

A major challenge with many YouTube videos/ channels is that they are one-person operations, without sufficient quality control. Rants are very easy and cheap to produce. Quality, fact-based information is a little more difficult and expensive to produce. They also requires thought, in addition to emotion.

Tesla Cybertruck: A tidbit

Visitors to the Tesla Cybertruck webpage are greeted with an elongated version of this photo of the Cybertruck ptototype. (Photo: Tesla)

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.

1- motor 2-motor3-motor
Drive wheelsRWDAWDAWD
Range km/ miles400/ 250500/ 300 800 / 500
0 -100 kph; 0 – 60 mph in s< 6.5< 4.5< 2.9
Top speed kph/ mph177/ 110193/ 120209/ 130
Towing capacity kg/ lb3 400/ 7 5004 500/ 10 0006 350/ 14 000
Price (to closest US$ 1 000)40 00050 00070 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.

Kaiyun Pickman

The Kaiyun Pickman is a Low Speed Electric Vehicle, aka Neigbourhood Electric Vehicle.

Wang Chao is an optimist. The founder of Kaiyun Motors hopes to transition owners of Ford F-150 pickups over to a Kaiyun Pickman. The Pickman is now NHTSA-approved for sale in USA and equivalently approved in Europe, where it is being sold in Germany and Italy.

While reports on the vehicle in January 2019, stated that it would cost $5 000 in USA and €5 000 in Europe, the American price had escalated to $9 000 by the middle of February, for a street-legal version; about $6 000 for a farm version.

While there must be caveats about the lack of safety features, the Pickman is undoubtedly an appropriate farm vehicle in rural environments, and a suitable vehicle for urban tradespeople. It is inappropriate for a daily commute involving any form of highway driving.

The Pickman is an example of a Low Speed Electric Vehicle, ususally referred to as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (USA) or Quadricycle (Europe). These are defined by limitations in terms of mass (weight), power and speed. All quadricycles must have a top speed of 45 km/h or less. In USA the limit is usually 25 mph or 40 km/h. In Europe, there are two categories: light quadricycles (L6e) and heavy quadricycles (L7e). A L6e EV must have a curb weight of 425 kg or less, and an electric motor producing 4 kW or less. A L7e EV must have a curb weight of 450 kg or less (passenger vehicles) or 600 kg or less (goods vehicles), The load capacity must be 200 kg or less (passenger vehicle) or 1000 kg or less (goods vehicle), with a maximum net engine power of 15 kW or less. .

The Pickman is powered by a 4 kW permanent magnet based electric motor with an asynchronization intelligent controller, mated to a 72V lead-acid battery pack providing 100 Ah or 7.2 kWh (26 MJ) of energy. Top speed is 45 km/h and range is 120 kilometers. There is some discussion about the load capacity. Some figures, in the table below are taken from a Chinese version, which appears to have a load capacity of 300 kg. The accuracy of the figures below is not guaranteed!

Specifications for base 2019 modelsPickmanF-150
Length/ mm3 2455 316
Width/ mm (excluding mirrors)1 3202 029
Height/ mm1 4601 918
Wheel Base/ mm2 0783 109
Ground clearance/ mm150 224
Load capacity (including driver/ passengers)/ kg500846
Curb weight/ kg6802 008

Note: Curb weight is the total weight of a vehicle with standard equipment, all necessary operating consumables such as motor oil, transmission oil, coolant, air conditioning refrigerant, and a full tank of fuel, while not loaded with either passengers or cargo. Note: In Europe, the mass of the batteries is excluded when determining vehicle curb weight.

The Charm of a Bison

In a recent market survey undertaken by members of my immediate family, I discovered that not all aesthetic values are genetically inherited. Rather than being sad, this insight has given me the opportunity to explore new vistas. If people are not interested in revisiting sardine roles, sitting in a mini-van for days or weeks at a time, meditating on the spruce trees of Northern Sweden, I too can abandon the mini-van, and opt for something that reflects my new essence – the workshop activist.

So it is going to be, Au revoir, Berlingo! Hi, Bison! (or if I follow up what I wrote a few weeks ago, Hallo, StreetScooter Work!)

I have had relationships with pickups before. The very first vehicle I drove, in the very early 1960s, aged about twelve, was a Chevrolet Pickup belonging to Harry Raymer, in some fields in Okanagan Mission, near Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Later, in the early 1970s, I drove Ernie Jickles – whose eyesight was failing and was not allowed to drive – around in his wife’s Ford Courier pickup, so we could  photograph. The Courier was a rebadged Mazda B-1800. In the late 1980s, in Inderøy, I drove a Nissan pickup working on a lafted house project out in Malm.

A 1972 Ford Courier, a rebadged Mazda B-1800. The one I drove was light blue in colour, and belonged to the Jickles family, of New Westminster. (photo: Mr.choppers, 2014)

Forget the past. Today’s story is set in the future, about the Bison, a Dutch-Canadian electric pickup. The primary characteristic it attempts to portray is rugged durability. That’s almost how I describe myself, as do about 90% of the adult male population.

I’m not sure if it is a corporate, or a product motto, but LEADING THE CHARGE™ has both electrical, and military connotations. It also describes itself in terms of three other characteristics: power, precision, strength.

Characteristics of the Bison pickup, I think I understand:
1300 liters of exterior cargo space and 510 liters of lockable storage. Safest truck with carbon fibre reinforced steel space frame. Full electric AWD built for severe weather conditions. High-current power socket for all your tools. Advanced vehicle intelligence and connectivity. Zero emission driving and zero pollution. Dual-motor electric powertrain. Advanced telemetry.

Characteristics, I know nothing about:
Rugged off-road capabilities with 54% hill start and 21% hill climb. I guess this is important, because I live on a hill, but have no idea what it means beyond being able to start off on a hill. Yes, I am too lazy to google it.

Somewhere in between: Class-leading torsional stiffness for enhanced durability and handling. I know what stiffness is, but I thought one invested in a suspension system in trucks to softened up that stiffness.

I would like a person, or even a designer, to read the following paragraph, and tell me that it actually means something that I can use to impress friends: “The Bison speaks a bold design language, punctuated with angular cladding and wedge profiles. An evolutionary leap forward from traditional pickups, the Bison delivers a more modern and provocative approach. With short overhangs and tires pushed to the corners, the stance conveys stability and confidence allowing for aggressive approach and departure angles.”

Included for your visual enjoyment are photographs from the Bison website: