As the Tesla Cybertruck rolled up onto the stage, my first impression was...not great. Although I had predicted it would resemble a wingless F-117 Nighthawk, I had expected a few more creases for added character. I'm not opposed to radical designs like this but some points (no pun) especially bothered me at first. Mostly the peak of the roof and the visual heaviness of the bed ahead of the wheels. The wheels also seemed a tad undersized, but that was probably a function of the size of the thing.
I like the design of the bed. It's a bit longer than that of my Ford Ranger, nicely lit and features an integrated L-track tiedown system. No wheels well intrusion is really freaking awesome. I love the ramp in the tailgate, making the loading of power sport vehicles easier and safer. The rear tonneau cover was also pretty nifty and I like the solar option, though doubt it can add 15 miles of range per day.
The interior seems a bit spartan and I think they could improve utility somewhat. But I do very much like the downward slant of the hood. This is a huge improvement over conventional design because it increases visibility, making it easier to maneuver in tight spots.
I saw some grousing online that the bed's sides are too high, but anyone who's ever tried to load something heavy over the side of a modern pickup knows this is an issue with "normal" trucks too.
It's been a few days now and the design is definitely growing on me, not that I'm in the market for a new truck. It sure does make conventional trucks look sort of boring now. I have a feeling I'm eventually going to be all about this thing. But, I still have some questions about manufacturability, repairability, homologation and crash safety - how are the crumple zones engineered?
I really hope Tesla makes a demo vehicle for the overlander crowd. There are some pretty interesting opportunities, aside from the camping setup they showed off with a rendering (above).
To sum up, the performance – range, hauling ability – for the price is really what sells this. At least at first. As we become accustomed to the aesthetic and it becomes normalized by our brains, the brashness of it will create deeper emotional connections.
Vehicle purchases have a large emotional component and I think this radical design will win over more and more hearts with time. Seeing as pre-orders have quickly soared past 250 thousand, it looks like that's already happening.