Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Tesla Pickup
The Tesla pickup should be here this year and we have the low-down on itby Andrei Nedelea, on
Tesla is about to take the pickup world by storm with an all-electric truck that will most likely be revealed this year. The vehicle that’s set to be shown this year won’t be the final production-spec model, though, as we’ve come to expect from Tesla, but it will be a very close preview of that model.
Tesla pickup Price, Range, and Features
Information on this Tesla pickup is not very clear as of yet - we’re mostly going on Elon Musk’s tweets which we’ve seen aren’t always reliable. We do know that the cheapest version of it will cost “$49,000 or less” (a base Ford F-150 crew cab starts at about $36,000 and a Toyota Tundra can be had from $35,500).
This means it would cost about as much as a well equipped traditional truck, although it may offer cool features that its more conventional rivals won't be able to match.
There will most likely be different versions with different battery packs available, and there will undoubtedly be more expensive variants with more power and even more features.
It will apparently come with 360-degree surround view cameras, dynamic self-leveling suspension (picture something like the very cool optional suspension setup that you can get on a 2020 Audi A8) and even 240-volt power sockets in the bed area so that you can run power tools straight from the truck’s battery pack. It will probably have yet more features, but this is all we know right now.
It is also believed the vehicle will be able to carry up to six people (the driver plus five passengers) and that it will have a range of between 400 to 500 miles (or around 640 to 800 km), maybe even more than that. This impressive range will be made possible by a battery pack with a capacity of over 100-kWh. We believe Tesla will offer different battery pack options, as it does for all other vehicles it sells, and that the aforementioned range would only be possible with the biggest of the available packs.
How much power will the Tesla pickup have?
All models of the Tesla Pickup will likely feature a dual-motor setup and therefore be all-wheel drive. Since the battery pack will be integrated into the floor of the truck, it will have a very low center of gravity for a vehicle of its type. So, it will probably be quite stable and great for off-road hooning where it will feel stable and not prone to tipping over (like some conventional trucks tend to feel when pushed to make hard turns).
We can't really estimate actual power levels, because there's nothing we can go on as of right now, but the base version of the Tesla truck should still put out around 400 horsepower.
Elon Musk said in a tweet that the pickup could tow up to 300,000 pounds (136,000 kg), but he gave no further details - that’s about as much as two Boeing 737 airliners. We, therefore, have to extrapolate to explain it somehow, and our best guess is that it will have enough torque to move this much mass, but that it won’t be able to do so for very long because its batteries will be depleted rather quickly under that much load.
It may very well be that Tesla is designing this pickup so that it can taxi heavy spacecraft around runways, to and from the launch pad. We’re sure there’s a catch to that ridiculous 300,000-pound claim, but either wither way, the pickup will have a greater towing rating than all other conventional pickups - maybe this is what Elon was trying to suggest.
The Tesla Pickup’s Performance will Match the Porsche 911
The Tesla boss also mentioned that the pickup would not only be at least as capable as a Ford F-150 but will offer on-road performance on par with a Porsche 911. That is a very bold claim given that these two vehicles couldn’t be more different. Both are very good at doing what they were designed to do: the Porsche is a great sports car that accelerates to 62 mph (100 km/h) in around 4 seconds and has unrivaled cornering capability, while the F-150 is the most popular vehicle in the U.S. because it is a solid all-rounder.
We imagine Elon meant that the Tesla pickup would be as fast as a 911 in a straight line.
Trying to make a tall, heavy pickup truck handle like one of the most iconic sports cars in the world seems right on impossible. Maybe between its massive power and torque figures and the aforementioned active suspension whose job may not only be to adjust the ride height based on load, but also help the truck corner flat, it will be the best handling truck ever made; beating a Porsche around corners seems like a far less likely scenario, though.
What will the Tesla pickup look like?
Regarding the look of the Tesla pickup, we have very little to go on in terms of speculating what it might look like. The automaker recently released a teaser showing a light bar that runs the width of the vehicle, but we don’t know if it shows the front or the rear of the vehicle (just like the Rivian R1T pickup). If it’s the rear, then the bed has a lid that completely closes it off and turns it into a trunk. If it’s the front, then the truck will have a single LED strip catering for all front end illumination needs.
Rivian R1T versus Tesla pickup
The Tesla pickup will have one serious rival right off the bat - the Rivian R1T all-electric pickup. Rivian is a new (Michigan-based) company that calls itself a manufacturer of premium electric vehicles designed for people with a penchant for the outdoors, and the R1T perfectly reflects that. It has 800 pound-feet of torque, it can carry an 1,800-pound payload, and tow up to 11,000 pounds. Its one-charge range is rated at 400 miles (around 700 km).
And, unlike the Tesla pickup which we’ve not even seen yet, even in prototype or concept form, you can already pre-order the Rivian R1T, and its starting price is $69,000; deliveries for both it and the R1S (an SUV version of the R1T) are pegged to start in 2020, so Tesla needs to pick up the pace and catch up to Rivian.
Ford recently announced it will invest $500-million in Rivian and the Blue Oval intends to use the platform that underpins the R1T for one of its own vehicles (it could be an all-electric pickup or utility vehicle). However, Ford has already announced it is developing a battery-powered version of the F-150 on its own, so we’ll have to see what vehicle this joint venture with Rivian will end up spawning.
Basically, Rivian is gaining money and credibility and it is asserting itself as an increasingly credible rival for Tesla’s electric pickup ambitions.
What’s next for Tesla after the electric pickup?
Finally, we also need to mention the fact that this Tesla pickup truck will spawn the first ever Tesla van, according to Elon Musk. This is not to be confused with the so-called Tesla Minibus that will be underpinned by the same platform as the Model X. Musk made the statement about the Tesla van after he received comments on one of his tweets that pickups aren’t really that big in Europe and that smaller vans, like the Ford Transit, dominate the commercial vehicle segment. Musk also mentioned that a partnership to make all-electric Mercedes Sprinter vans is also a possibility.
Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Pickup.