Tesla Pickup Truck To Be A Mini Version Of Semi?

Tesla Semi


You are kidding me, right?

The date for the next big Tesla event is now officially set for October 26. That is when the wraps will come off the Semi: the automaker’s electric take on the tractor portion of the ubiquitous tractor-trailer.

As excited as we are about this product reveal — and we are pretty excited about the potential for disruption this vehicle could bring to the freight transport business — we have to admit we’re even more jazzed about the next truck-ish unveiling. If you’re keeping score at home, that should be the Tesla Pickup, a vehicle which will be available for the mass market, and one which won’t require a commercial licence (CDL) to drive. CEO Elon Musk said last April it could happen in 18 to 24 months.

The reason we bring it up now is because Musk  made mention of it on the weekend in reply to a tweet. Asked one Jason Cruickshank, “Can we get a light duty pickup next?”.

Now, Elon probably has a million things to do on any given day, even weekends, but he took the time to respond with, “What if we just made a mini version of the Tesla Semi?”.  So, is this confirmation that the pickup will actually look like a mini version of the Semi, as some have suggested?

No, to our minds, it is not. More likely, we believe, this was a joke. Why? Well, as amusing as the thought of people getting hyped about driving electric mini-Semi trucks is, the teaser image we’ve seen so far (top) indicates, quite strongly, that this design would be impractical for a pickup truck. It is simply too tall to fit in anyone’s garage, among other things.

What will a Tesla pickup actually look like? Well, unlike most of the speculative renders we’ve seen kicking around the internet, it won’t be a pickup truck with the fascia of a Model S or X slapped on it. Sure, it may have some styling elements found in other vehicles in the Tesla lineup, but we think it should really have its own thing going on — an aggressive look that balances capability and efficiency.

How does this jive with your thoughts on Tesla Pickup styling? Let us know in Comments.

Source: Twitter

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33 Comments on "Tesla Pickup Truck To Be A Mini Version Of Semi?"

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Bring it ON!

I like the name: Tesla Pickup. It is plain, true and to the point. Plus its catchy. – “Have you heard about the Tesla Pickup?”

I can’t wait for YouTube videos with the Tesla Pickup beating the pants off Silverados. Why name a truck after Tacoma? Tacoma is a city in my state once known for it’s aroma! No kidding, there was a large smelter in town with this huge smokestack that bellowed smoke 24/7. Because of this, the city had a rather unpleasant telltale smell Washingtonians called, “The Tacoma Aroma”! 🙂 Today, the smelter is gone and the huge smokestack stayed for many years, but now is gone too. Tacoma is a nice town today, having experienced a nice renaissance. There’s a fantastic automobile museum there too.

Should Tesla call it’s pickup, the Tesla Talladega? It starts with T…and would tick off NASCAR fans, ’cause its electric!

End of my random thoughts…

“I can’t wait for YouTube videos with the Tesla Pickup beating the pants off Silverados.”


Me either.
So far the big 3 have been fairly un moved by Tesla. They have their own turf where they turn the best profit:

pick up trucks.

If Tesla get’s into this market with some success and is able to make some in roads into the big 3’s turf heads will roll. They will finally pay the price for dragging their feet in electrics.

if Tesla can come out with a pick-up that has at least 250 MPC (with an option of say 350-400 MPC), has the torque of a F250 or better, can do some serious trailering, and with a base of $50K or lower, then you can bet that it will do a LOT of damage to the ICE based truck industry.

While That would be true, it will never happen. The Model 3 is $50k with significantly less content than a mainstream pickup. Figure $75k+ for an average trim level in a 4×4 crew cab.

Then compare that to an ICE with $10-15k on the hood because that’s the norm.

I want EVs to succeed but this is one market that will be very tough to crack.

Brian, Even with 10-15K on the hood, Ford trucks can get mighty expensive.

Cars.com currently lists 6,844
matches for Ford trucks with a price of 70K and higher, with prices maxing out for a 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor at $163,123. That’s in US dollars. $163K

I’m pretty sure Tesla could bust their way into that market of $70K-163K pickup trucks with a set of Model X based trucks. Just a quick guestimate based on 60 day on-lot industry averages, this might be a 100,000+ unit/year market segment across all the big 3 truck makers that Tesla could break into. If they took the same percent of the truck market as they took of large luxury cars, that could mean another 30K units/year even at that price point.

I agree that 50K is probably a few years off. Maybe a light duty truck based on the Model Y 5 years from now?

Nix said:

“Cars.com currently lists 6,844
matches for Ford trucks with a price of 70K and higher, with prices maxing out for a 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor at $163,123. That’s in US dollars. $163K”

Well said. The insane race among gasmobile makers to make pickups that are bigger and bigger, and more and more expensive, gives Tesla an opening to enter the market segment with something that’s priced less than the top end of the market.

Start with an expensive vehicle, then gradually work down to lower price segments. That’s very much Tesla’s business strategy!

I drove a Toyota Pickup (aka Toyota Truck) for a few years. As a daily driver it was fine, and it was what I needed at the time; but I’m not a fan of bland generic names, and I hope Tesla starts giving individual model names to its cars, instead of just single letters and numbers.

* * * * *

“Tesla Pickup Truck To Be A Mini Version Of Semi? …

“You are kidding me, right?”

As absurd as that is, it’s not as ridiculous as Tesla claiming it is gonna build a semi tractor out of Model 3 parts! At least a pickup and a semi tractor are both trucks…

“Tesla Pickup Truck To Be A Mini Version Of Semi? …

“You are kidding me, right?”


IMO it’s a great idea and was used with great success when Chrysler introduced their newly styled 2nd generation pickup in 1994.

Wiki quote:

“A review by the Dodge pick-up truck studio designers felt that modern pick-ups looked “too flat and sedan like”, while the early 50’s Studebaker pick-up and the 18 wheeler trucks had just the right “macho” look to them.[5] The design featured a big-rig-looking front end and a large grille that was nothing like the current Ford or Chevy/GMC pickups in design.


The Nikola truck looks great and I expect Tesla truck will look just as good.

All they have to do is figure what styling cues to copy and I think it will be a great hit!!

Interesting info, thanks!

So apparently the 1952 Studebaker pickup helped inspire the style of the current trend in “macho pickups”:

Dodge truck sales were in a big slump in the 1980s. Chrysler, then not owned by the Italians, got the big idea to put a huge, square grille on their Ram trucks that looked more at home on a semi than a traditional American pickup truck. Sales went wild! Category leaders Ford and GM took note and their next trucks posessed huge, square air-pushing grilles too. Each year, they seem larger, squarer and even more semi-like. This trend continues to this day. I saw a 2017 Toyota Tundra in my rear view mirror yesterday and I thought I was being followed by a Peterbilt! Evidently, American males like to pretend or fantasize that they drive a big rig. I believe its a macho thing. Its a macho thing that makes it really tough to make these top-selling vehicles be efficient going freeway speeds. Tesla’s semi rendering seem to show their rig is of a cabover design. This seems really tough to replicate in a consumer grade pickup. A Tesla truck need be aerodynamic. With the right sculpting, it can be. Thinking outside the box, would a cabover consumer-sized truck be a home run? Hmmm…Food for thought, and Tesla’s middle name… Read more »

It wasn’t grille size, which was always big due to towing needs. It was the dropped fenders that gave the 2nd gen Ram it’s popular “semi look” (accentuating the grille in the process).

Compare 1st gen to 2nd gen.

I totally agree it’s the visual similarity between these “macho” pickups and heavy trucks, such as a long-nose semi tractor, which have made these pickups-on-steroids so popular, and so desirable among a certain segment of American males. In fact, there’s a 1995 GMC Sierra TV ad which makes this very explicit; a fantasy in which a large truck, a GMC dump truck, is cut in half by a rugged, tough-looking welder using a cutting torch, with the halves falling away to show a pickup underneath.

And that was even before GMC started putting absurdly oversized grilles and ridiculously high front ends on their pickups!

I hope Tesla keeps their Pickup Truck design under wraps much closer to their eventual and actual launch date. The longer the Ford F-150 EV design team is kept in the dark, the better for Tesla Truck sales to seriously cannibalize Fords fledgling attempts at retaining their F- series truck segment market share.

I can’t see GM letting Tesla upstage them in the EV truck segment. At least with the Bolt, GM is showing they don’t want to fall behind. It will be interesting to see how this translates to Chevy/GMC trucks in the MY 2020+ EV realm.

GM, with the Volt & the Bolt EV, have most of what they need for a 4WD or 4X4 Colorado, if not Silverado!

Put the Voltec Drive in the Front, the Bolt EV Drive in the Rear, keep the 60+ kWh Battery, put in a 10 Gallon Tank for Gas: Voila! 200 Mile EV Range EREV, that can go another 300+ Miles on Gas! Give it a 5,000 Pound Tow Rating, Stock, and 1000+ Pounds Capacity in the Box, and they could have Lineups waiting for it! (So long as they put at least 7.2 kW AC + CCS in the Base Model)

No it won’t, because it would have started at $67K for a Chevy pickup trucks and people will be calling it an “overpriced” Chevy pick up trucks and it would fail just like ELR.

Why, oh why, is InsideEVs caught up on styling? It’s like a regular art show here, sometimes. I think what Elon is saying in this comment isn’t about styling, it is about product architecture and manufacturing. My theory about the Tesla Model T (oh, wait, sorry Ford. OMG, you’re such a lawyer-spaz) will essentially have two long-range powertrains of a Model III. That will give it 150 kWh of battery and (we theorize) about 600 hp.
Tesla has a simple idea. They have learned that simple will succeed, so long as it is compelling and elegant. Although a falcon-wing crew cab does strike me as novel…

Towing is the big problem. Everyone I know with a pickup uses it to tow occasionally. Huge 5th wheel campers, boats, horse trailers, car trailers, work trailers, you name it.

EV pickup is great for local towing, but these folks go on trips (or at least imagine they will). How is that going to work?

Fleet pickups are a different story. But those are sold on price and utility, which isn’t Tesla’s game.

“EV pickup is great for local towing, but these folks go on trips…”

I think we will have a better idea when the semi is revealed. It will have to have long range capability.

If you have been watching, you would see that Tesla has been installing Super Chargers at T/A. According to 1 guy that I talked to, he said that they are expecting something else to come there. I would guess a much bigger Ultra Charger for the Semi-Trucks that will go all the way down to regular trucks.

It would be nice to see Tesla also work with pilot/flying J. Between T/A and Pilot/Flying J, they pretty much cover the vast majority of federal highways.

Ultrachargers don’t help. The Semi will be on the road constantly so operating cost savings can, at least in theory, justify a $100K+ battery. But even a $50k battery on a tow-capable pickup won’t fly.

Maybe he just means it will be based on M3 parts, just like the Semi.

How ’bout just’Tesla “T”, not Model T.

Wow, we’re making stories out of precious few tea leaves. “85k” Mission Es, Tesla pick-ups? Both seem like muses.

Any word on how Workhorse intends to use the 12mn it just diluted from its shareholders? That could bring a PHEV pick-up a whole lot sooner.

It better look and feel like a truck (not a Model X with a bed) or it will get destroyed in the market.

Hopefully they will announce it and start reservations at least a year in advance of production to light a fire under the arses of those who know how to built great trucks.

“It better look and feel like a truck (not a Model X with a bed)”

No sh*t Sherlock.

A Tesla “El Camino” will be a big fat flop.

The odd thing is that all the renderings seem to look like that.

If it looks like a truck, then it would have a Cd of 0.35!!! With the larger FA, that would mean that you would be luckily to get 2 miles/kWh cruising at hwy speed. With load, you would be lucky to get 1 miles/kWh at 60mph. Just imagine the size of the battery you would need to make 200 miles. Sure, adding more battery to it would work. But 150 to 200kWh isn’t cheap unless they are aiming for $100K pickup trucks..

I think they could base it off of the Model X chassis, and still make it look like a truck and not like a Chevy Avalanche.

Although you might have a point in that if they are going to base it off the semi, it might be traditional body on frame, and not unibody.

While I agree that Tesla probably won’t make a pickup that looks like somebody welded a pickup bed onto the front half of a Model X, at the same time I don’t at all see Tesla trying to compete with those pickups-on-steroids which use ridiculously high front ends and absurdly large grilles, to appeal to guys who apparently need lots of help to think of themselves as macho. Those guys wouldn’t be caught dead driving something that doesn’t go “VROOM! VROOM!”

Those guys see EVs as being only for wimps and tree-huggers. It seems to me that it would be pointless for Tesla to try to aim for that market segment. Tesla will design a pickup to be as energy-efficient as possible, just as they have with all their vehicles.

High, flat front ends need not apply at Tesla, as I’m sure we’ll see when Tesla shows its BEV semi tractor concept vehicle(s).

I agree with your assessment. I suspect a sculpted low drag cabover design could well be the basis for both the truck and commercial van solutions, with both targeted primarily at commercial operations rather than the consumer, especially the type of US truck consumer you allude to.

Tesla is about worldwide solutions, not just the US truck market, as large as the latter is. The worldwide market for the Ram Promaster/Fiat Ducato, Ford Transit, MB Sprinter class of vehicle is significant. Just a question of how many Model 3 electric motors to use 🙂

The first Tesla electric quarter-ton truck (T150?) should be AWD, 150-200 mile range, with extended range generator (gasoline or propane), extended cab. I’m not worried about style… the designers who created the S and X have their act together and will come up with something cool. I’d be first in line.

Isn’t that what the VIA was supposed to be. Whatever happened to them?

No, Tesla will be true to Tesla. The charging solution will make or break the vehicle.

“Isn’t that what the VIA was supposed to be. Whatever happened to them?” Exactly what any sensible person should think would happen to a company whose business model depends on somebody buying an expensive new oversized gasmobile pickup, or gasmobile delivery van, and giving it to them and paying many thousands of additional dollars to turn it into a conversion EV. That is, it’s not attracting enough customers to make it a success. Looks like Via Motors’ Wikipedia article hasn’t been updated since 2012. What does that tell you? Via Motors has not gone out of business — not yet — but it’s certainly not growing. As I’ve said in the past, conversion vehicles will never be more than a cottage industry. Compelling PEVs are designed from the ground up. “No, Tesla will be true to Tesla. The charging solution will make or break the vehicle.” Yes, Tesla will be true to Tesla. That means no compromising by making a PHEV, or anything that burns fuel as a range extender. I could see Tesla using a metal-air fuel cell as a range extender before they’d give in and resort to one powered by gasoline, diesel, or even natural gas. In… Read more »