Update: Lars Moravy, Tesla's Vice President of Vehicle Engineering, confirmed for TopGear Netherlands that the Cybertruck will likely never make it to Europe.
"First of all, the market for pickups in America is huge, and that is different with you," Moravy told TopGear. "And two: European regulations require a rounding of 3.2 millimeters on protruding parts. Unfortunately, it is impossible to make a rounding of 3.2 millimeters on a 1.4 millimeter sheet of stainless steel," he added.
The original story follows below.
The first production-spec Tesla Cybertruck units were finally delivered last week after four years of delays, rumors, and all sorts of weird remarks from CEO Elon Musk on what seems to be his preferred way of communicating with the world, the social media platform X.
But while American customers who placed an order for the angular all-electric pickup can expect to get their hands on the EV sometime next year, European reservation holders shouldn’t get their hopes up.
Gallery: Tesla Cybertruck
With up to 845 horsepower on tap and a zero to 60 miles per hour sprint in just 2.6 seconds, the Cybertruck is a quick truck, but it’s also a heavy one. Tipping the scales at 6,843 pounds for the top-of-the-line Cyberbeast model with three electric motors and a battery that has about 123 kilowatt-hours (according to Carwow), the Cybertruck is simply too heavy to be driven with a regular car license in Europe.
In this part of the world, people with a so-called category B license (for regular passenger cars) can drive a vehicle that has a maximum gross weight rating of 3.5 tonnes, which is 7,716 lbs. While the Cybertruck’s weight is under the limit, the 6,843 lbs number doesn’t take the 2,500 lbs payload into account. Add that up and you get 9,343 lbs or 4,237 kg. And that’s without taking into account the weight of the passengers.
According to the official VIN decoder that was submitted to regulators earlier this year, the Cybertruck has two possible gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR):
- Class G – Greater than 3,629 kg to 4,082 kg. (8,001-9,000 lbs);
- Class H – Greater than 4,082 kg to 4,536 kg. (9,001-10,000 lbs).
As you can see, the lowest rating is already above the European limit. This would mean that–if it were to be sold in Europe–a Cybertruck customer would need to have a category C license which is meant for vehicles that have a GVWR of over 3.5 tonnes or 7,716 lbs.
In other words, a truck license. Speaking as a European myself, I know it costs more to get such a license compared to a regular B-type license and fewer people go to the trouble of getting one–why would they, if they don’t plan on driving a truck? So, not ideal for a vehicle that’s meant to be mass-produced and sold in high numbers.
Another factor that might make the Cybertruck an American-only affair is the limited appeal big pickups have had over the years in Europe. Smaller trucks like the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 (also known as the Triton), Volkswagen Amarok, and Ford Ranger rule the segment on the Old Continent, so a truck as big as Tesla’s would have a hard time making a name for itself in this part of the world.
"Pickup trucks are somewhat small in terms of market adoption in comparison to what you see in the U.S. market," said Pedro Pacheco, vice president of research at Gartner for Business Insider.
"For a vehicle in the category of the Cybertruck, there's not a huge market in Europe, because pickup trucks generally are not very common," he added.
And lastly, there’s the issue of the charging port. While Tesla’s so-called North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector is on the brink of becoming the de facto choice among EVs that are destined for the U.S. and Canadian markets, Europe has embraced the CCS2 plug. Even the European Tesla Superchargers come with a CCS2 connector.
So, to sell the Cybertruck in this neck of the woods, the Austin-based carmaker would have to somehow implement the CCS2 plug on the Cybertruck. That means hardware and software tweaks that Tesla might consider too big of a bother in the grand scheme of things.
Hard numbers are hard to come by because pickups are usually bundled with other light commercial vehicles like vans, but in 2020, just 116,280 pickups were sold in Europe, according to this Automotive News piece from two years ago.
That’s a far cry from the roughly three million pickups that were sold in the United States in 2020, making it an even less appealing market for Tesla, which wants to sell as many as 250,000 Cybertrucks per year by 2025.