Tesla Cybertruck - California Dreaming
Los Angeles November 22, 2019; Capping off a week of electric vehicle announcements at the LA Auto Show, Elon Musk and Tesla will step into the limelight this evening, away from the show, with the reveal of a much anticipated EV pickup. The new “cybertruck", as Musk has called it, will push the Tesla brand – and the industry – into new territory. As with everything Tesla, it will be a high profile event.
Tesla is hardly the first automaker to consider an EV pickup truck. Ford, long the pickup truck king, has already confirmed plans to launch an electric F-Series, likely in 2021, and start-up Rivian has shown an EV pickup concept and announced plans to take it into production. There are others as well, but all face the same uphill battle of delivering pickup truck performance with an EV powertrain. Yes, the necessary torque will be there, but research from Cox Automotive shows that EV pickups have a particularly low consideration rate, even by EV standards. Also, in the most recent Cox Automotive EV study, consumers indicate they’re still skeptical of range or the availability of charging stations, two obstacles not easily overcome. You can find the latest Cox Automotive EV study, which was released in August, HERE.
Still, new product from Tesla is always an event we will be watching carefully. Below you will find initial thoughts from our team of analysts.
From Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader:
It’s clear the Tesla truck won’t try to appeal to traditional truck buyers. Everything from its styling to its drivetrain will be a major departure from standard pickup trucks. As a technology statement for tech-oriented professionals and fans, this truck’s departures from the norm will be seen as assets, not liabilities.
It will be interesting to see how well this truck addresses range anxiety. The only thing worse than running out of energy is running out of energy far from civilization, which is where traditional trucks are often employed.
Pickup trucks are often the most profitable vehicles in an automaker’s product line. But the Tesla truck no doubt involves a large, expensive battery pack, and it’s long list of cool features raises the obvious question: With a target price of under $50,000, how well will the truck contribute to Tesla’s bottom line?
From Michael Harley, executive editor for Kelley Blue Book:
I don't expect to see a Tesla truck achieve more market penetration than a Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan or Honda Ridgeline, trucks with very specific customers but unable to make even a small dent in the market share of the Detroit Three.
From Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader:
We will be watching to see how this all-American truck – from a true American brand – will be received by traditional truck buyers. Are they loyal to American made things, or loyal only to the familiar, legacy brands from Detroit? Will electric trucks attract honest truck buyers, who prioritize rugged and reliable capability in a variety of conditions? Or will the new Tesla simply turn EV buyers into truck buyers? A Tesla pickup will force the market to rethink every definition we have for pickup truck performance.