Elon Musk’s hyper-cool Tesla electric Cybertruck will transform road trips across the US, thanks to zero-emission journeys and a cargo bed at the back that can be converted into sleeping quarters for campers. Emily Eastman reports
Tesla’s futuristic Cybertruck, which was unveiled in November, is unlike anything seen before. When it is released in 2021/22, the angular, all-electric vehicle will not only have bullet-proof armoured glass windows and an Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin, but will come with an optional camper configuration with a pull-out kitchen, foldable countertop and sleeping quarters beneath a pop-up tent that extends upwards from the back of the truck.
The suggestion of using the Cybertruck for camping emerged in a Twitter exchange between user Lex Acevedo and Musk. When asked if the truck will be able to pump the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) to the cargo bed when the tonneau cover is closed for sleeping, and whether there is access from the second row of seats, Musk replied “Yes, probably and partially”.Since then, images of the prototype being used in camping settings have been posted online. It’s a smart move in a market with growing appetite for overland touring and glamping, especially in the US, and the Cybertruck has already proved popular among the masses – directly after the launch, Musk tweeted that 200,000 Cybertrucks had already been ordered. (If you are into the idea of getting kitted out for life on the road, it’s a good idea to invest in a comfortable chair for camping.)
With a maximum range of 500 miles (the base model will go 250 miles before running out of charge), it will prove popular among those keen on zero-emission road trips. Until the Cybertruck, most electic vehicles can’t go more than about 150 miles between charges. (The Tesla Model S can go the furthest at 375 miles.)
Tesla had been developing the Cybertruck since 2016, creating high expectations for when the vehicle finally launched near Elon Musk’s Space X rocket factory in Los Angeles. The battery-powered pick-up truck has space for six people inside, where a 17-inch touchscreen sits on a dashboard that looks like a smooth slab of marble.Other features include adjustable air suspension and a 6.5ft truck bed, which is covered by a locking tonneau cover that Tesla claims is “strong enough to stand on”. It will also come with an optional solar panel roof that will add an extra 15 miles of driving per day.
The truck bed, under-bed storage, front trunk and sail-pillar compartments together create 100 cubic feet of locked exterior storage and there’s a built-in deployable load ramp for that can be using to drive a Cyberquad all-terrain vehicle up.
Three models will eventually be available (from the end of 2021 at the earliest), with pre-orders available now for a fully refundable deposit of US$100. The base single-motor rear wheel drive version starts at US$39,900 and offers a 250-plus-mile range, towing capacity of more than 7,500 pounds and a speed of zero to 60 mph in under 6.5 seconds.
For US$49,900, the mid-range, dual-motor, all-wheel drive Cybertruck delivers a range of more than 300 miles, 10,000-plus-pounds towing capability, and zero to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds.
The top of the range “Tri Motor” Cybertruck starts from US$69,900 and gives the full whack of more than 500 miles of range, 14,000-plus pounds of towing power (perfect for your luxury mobile home on wheels) and zero to 60 mph in less than 2.9 seconds.
For an additional US$7,000, buyers can opt for Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” option, meaning those behind the wheel can relax and let the onboard computer do all the work.