Tesla is entering the pickup truck game with a revolutionary hauler

The 2021 Cybertruck is the first pickup truck built by Tesla and is the oddest-looking pickup truck to ever hit the market. Unveiled at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2022 Cybertruck will go into production in 2021. As one of the first production electric trucks, the Cybertruck is also one of the most advanced utility vehicles ever built. Much like it did with the Model X and Model 3, Tesla didn’t unveil a lot of details during the launch event, so the 2021 Cybertruck still hides mysteries. But let’s have a closer look at what we already know about it in the review below.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Exterior

  • Outlandish design
  • Polygonal body
  • Simple fascias
  • Looks different compared to any truck
  • Functional body
  • Cold-rolled steel construction
  • Armored windows
  • Plenty of exterior storage room
  • Unconventional bed
  • As big as the Ford F-150
The Cybertruck's exterior design is decidedly weird for a modern vehicle.

It’s actually difficult to describe it with just one word. While some greeted the truck with "wow!," others think it has "ewww!" written all over it. And I can’t blame either side. The Cybertruck is of the "love it or hate it" variety. There’s no other alternative. You either love it for what it is or drown it in gasoline and set it on fire. It sparks the same emotions as classic cars like the Lamborghini Espada, Aston Martin Lagonda, and the DeLorean DMC-12.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck
- image 873875

All this commotion comes from the fact that the Cybertruck doesn’t look like a truck in the traditional sense. All trucks available right now, including the iconic Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado, feature a body design with a long nose, a rectangular cabin, and bed in the rear. The beds are so similar on these trucks that you could probably exchange them like on a Lego model.

The Cybertruck, on the other hand, sports a polygonal look with angular lines, clean surfaces, and a roof and bed shape that have nothing in common with regular trucks.

It looks more like a lunar rover, even when compared to outlandish concept cars.

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Arguably the most notable feature up front is the extremely simple front fascia. Granted, Tesla vehicles are famous for lacking any kind of grille.

While the Model S and Model X looks pleasantly organic, the Cybertruck is just a collection of geometric shapes up front.

The fascia is defined by a rectangular center section flanked by two squares angled toward the fenders. But the bumper is as simple as they get, while the headlamps were reduced to a thin LED light bar at the top. While light bars have become popular on production models in the rear, a headlamps bar is a new idea on a production truck.

The front hood is just as simple, while the windshield is longer than usual. The interesting detail here is that the hood looks like a natural extension of the windscreen with no changes in angle from the front section of the roof to the nose.

The basic design continues onto the sides. The profile appears split in two by the almost straight beltline. The lower section is just as clean as the front fascia, disturbed only by the massive wheel arches and the thick wheels. The latter feature closed-off rims for improved aerodynamics. The upper section is essentially a triangle with the longer edge being the beltline. The second edge is essentially the windshield and front hood, while the third edge is the line that descends from the top of the windscreen to the upper edge of the rear tailgate.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
- image 873122

The doors are also very simple, defined only by straight lines below the windows. The windows follow the shape of the cabin, but the triangle is incomplete due to the vertical line that ends the rear door window at the C-pillar. Speaking of pillars, the Cybertruck doesn’t have a B-pillar, so the side windows look like a large polygon made from glass.

The profile reminds me of sports cars from the 1970s, when wedge-shaped designs were a thing.

The Lamborghini Countach is the first car that comes to mind, since it also features squared-off wheel arches. I have no idea if Elon Musk actually used the Countach as inspiration, but I think it’s cool for a pickup to remind me of an iconic supercar.

Musk actually said that the Cybertruck was party inspired by the submarine car from James Bond - The Spy Who Loved Me film, which is based on the first-generation Lotus Esprit.

This British sports car from the 1970s also boasts a wedge-shape design.

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The rear fascia is even simpler than the front: it’s just a rectangular body panel with a thin, red LED lightbar at the top. The panel itself is the tailgate that provide access into the bed. The bumper looks simple and utilitarian. But where’s the bed and why are the side walls shaped like the edges of supercar’s engine hood?

Well, the bed is covered with a "magic" tonneau cover that retracts into the tailgate.

It’s mostly a hard-top for the bed and Tesla says it’s strong enough for you to stand on. It obviously provides more protection than the usual tonneau and it opens and closes automatically when you open the tailgate. Of course, the tonneau will remain folded inside the tailgate if you’re transporting taller items or, as shown by Tesla, an ATV.

The tall walls, a weird feature on a truck, remain in place when the tonneau disappears into the tailgate. They don’t have a specific use outside their aerodynamic function when the truck is on the move, but they don’t affect practicality either. Actually, the increasingly taller sides toward the cabin allow you to store taller items in that specific area, so it’s actually a useful feature to have. Tesla has yet to reveal how much you can store in the bed alone, so we can’t compare the Cybertruck to the competition just yet.

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However, Tesla did say that the truck provides 100 cubic-feet of lockable storage, including under-bed space, front trunk, and pillars. The Ford F-150 with the eight-foot bed, the largest you can order, offers a total cargo volume of 81.3 cubic-feet. Assuming that total under-bed and front storage isn’t more than 20 cubic-feet, the Cybertruck should be on par with the most capable F-150.

Getting back to the weird exterior, it’s more than just a design meant to set the Cybertruck apart from other trucks. It wasn’t created to shock audiences either. It’s actually part of a clever design centered around functionality, ridigity, and aerodynamics.

The body is made from ultra-hard, cold-rolled stainless steel, an alloy that Tesla claims to be the best available for durability and passenger protection.

While traditional steel is heated up to high temperatures to make it more malleable, cold-rolled steel is rolled at room temperature. This process allows production of thinner, flat sheets of steel with reduced grain size. This results in a smoother, stronger surface, and eliminates the risk of shrinking. Cold-rolled stainless steel is also lighter and can be modeled into high-precision parts. Called an exoskeleton, the body is impenetrable according to Tesla. This was tested during the unveiling event, when a Tesla employee hit the front door with a sledgehammer. Despite the heavy blow, the door looked like new, with no dents whatsoever. Tesla also claims that cold-rolled stainless steel provides enhanced resistance to corrosion compared to traditional steel.

Tesla Shocks and Awes with Cybertruck Pricing Details
- image 873191

Another industry-first feature on the Cybertruck is the polymer-layered composite used for the windows. This ultra-strong glass can absorb and redirect impact force to prevent damage and cracks. Elon Musk said it’s as strong as an armored truck as 9mm bullets won’t penetrate, however, the door windows cracked when hit with a steel ball at the official unveiling. While this wasn’t supposed to happen, it seems that Tesla pulled some sort of marketing stunt by drawing jokes and memes about the Cybertruck following the incident. It remains to be seen if the truck’s glass is indestructible in upcoming tests.

Size-wise, the Tesla Cybertruck is a large truck that competes with the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 1500.

The Cybertruck is 231.7 inches long, 79.8 inches wide, and 75 inches tall. Its wheelbase measures 149.9 inches. The Tesla truck is just as long as the F-150 in SuperCab with 6.5-inch bed or SuperCrew with 5.5-inch bed configurations and some 19 inches shorter than the longest F-150, the SuperCab with the eight-inch bed. It’s just as wide as the F-150, while the wheelbase is a bit longer than SuperCab and SuperCrew models with the shorter beds.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Interior

  • Very simple design
  • Rectangular dash
  • 17-inch display
  • New infotainment system
  • Over-the-air updates
  • Race-inspired steering wheel
  • Optional seating for six
  • This might be just a pre-production cabin
Tesla Cybertruck Photo Gallery Interior
- image 873130

Tesla unveiled just one photo of the cabin and things look incredibly spartan.

Granted, all Tesla interiors have a clean, no-nonsense layout, but the Cybertruck's cabin barely has any stylish features to talk about.

The dashboard is just a big rectangular block from one corner to the other. And I don’t know what material is it wrapped in, but it looks like the table in my yard. Not exactly appealing.

Only two features prevent the dashboard from looking completely useless: the infotainment display and the steering wheel.

The latter is a massive, 17-inch screen that sits right in the center. Tesla says it provides access to an all-new, customized user interface, but it doesn’t provide additional details. All we know right now is that the Autopilot function comes standard on all models. The new infotainment system will also stay up to date via over-the-air updates, like all the other Tesla models.

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The steering wheel also looks pretty simple. The big news here is that it doesn’t have an upper rim section. Just grip areas on the sides and a flat bottom. The door panels are equally simple. They feature a clean design on the upper section and beefy armrests with what appear to be a couple of buttons.

The seats seem to offer solid lateral support for both front and rear passengers. A small, foldable seat between the front seats expands seating capacity from the standard five to six people. This feature will like be offered as an option. Rear legroom seems ample and rear headroom seems on par with the competition, despite the shape of the roof. Tesla says there’s extra storage space under the second-row seats, but there are no specific figures to run by.

While spartan, this interior layout looks fitting for a rugged truck.

However, since this is actually a pre-production model, expect some things to change before the Cybertruck arrives in dealerships. I’m betting on a different dashboard with extra features and A/C vents.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Drivetrain

  • Three drivetrains
  • Range-topping model with 3 motors
  • Up to 800 horsepower
  • Range up to 500 miles
  • Quickest model hits 60 mph in 2.9 seconds
  • Top speed at up to 130 mph
  • Towing up to 14,000 pounds
  • Payload up to 3,500 pounds
  • Outstanding performance
  • Trumps gasoline trucks
2021 Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
- image 873122

The Cybertruck is obviously an all-electric vehicle, like all other Teslas out there, so it features electric motors and batteries. There’s no specific information about the drivetrain or how much power the electric motors make, but we do know that the Cybertruck will come in three powertrain configurations. There will be a base single-motor truck, a mid-range dual-motor version, and a range-topping model with no fewer than three motors.

The electric motors will be shared with existing Tesla vehicles, but they will feature specific upgrades for truck duty.

The base single-motor version will most likely feature a revised version of the rear motor found in the Model S Long Range AWD. The unit will pump at least 400 horsepower, but don’t expect it to generate more than 500 horses. Tesla says that the base model will hit 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, top out at 110 mph, and run for at least 250 miles on a single charge. This rear-wheel-drive truck also has a tow rating of up to 7,500 pounds.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
- image 873114

Next up is the Dual-Motor AWD model, powered by two electric motors. This version will debut Tesla’s new Raven drivetrain, which will apparently pair the rear motor from the Model S Performance and the rear motor from the Model 3 Performance. According to recent reports, these motors will generate a total output of around 690 horsepower and 824 pound-feet of torque. This version will hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, a top speed of 120 mph, and will tow up to 10,000 pounds. All three figures are quite impressive, even though the towing rating is inferior to some versions of the Ford F-150. Range is estimated at more than 300 miles.

Finally, Tesla will offer a range-topping version with three motors and all-wheel drive.

This tri-motor layout is actually Tesla's highly anticipated Plaid drivetrain with one motor to at the front axle and two in the rear.

Estimated output for the Cybertruck in this configuration is at more than 800 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque. The tri-motor model will be the most impressive in terms of performance. It will hit 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, 2.2 seconds quicker than the fastest Ford F-150 out there, and top out at 130 mph, at least 10 mph more than its Ford-badged competitor.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck
- image 873199

But by far its most impressive feature is the range, which is estimated at more than 500 miles. That’s at least 200 miles more than any other Tesla on the market right now, and it should set a new benchmark for the industry. The Tri-Motor Cybertruck will also deliver best-in-class towing capacity. Rated at 14,000 pounds, it will 800 pounds more than the most capable Ford F-150.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck specifications
Single-motor RWD Dual-motor AWD Tri-motor AWD
Horsepower: >400 HP 690 HP 800 HP
Torque: TBA 824 LB-FT 1,000 LB-FT
Range: 250+ miles 300+ miles 500+ miles
0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds 4.5 seconds 2.9 seconds
Top Speed: 110 mph 120 mph 130 mph
Payload Capacity: 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds
Towing Capacity: 7,500 pounds 10,000 pounds 14,000 pounds

Payload capacity is estimated at 3,500 pounds for all three models, 230 pounds more than the Ford F-150, yet another best-in-class figure. It remains to be seen if the Cybertruck won’t be matched by a new-generation truck in 2021 though. Tesla also says that the Cybertruck has the ability "to pull near infinite mass," but we’re not quite sure what that is supposed to mean.

Suspension details are slim, but Tesla did say that the Cybertruck will be very capable in off-road terrain. It will feature an active suspension that can be raised and lowered by four inches in either direction and a self-leveling system. Approach angle is rated at 35 degrees, while departure angle at 28 degrees. That’s almost 10 and one degree more than the Ford F-150, respectively. Maximum ground clearance is 16 inches, almost seven inches higher compared to the F-150 truck.

Prices

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
- image 873113

Pricing for the Tesla Cybertruck will start at $39,900, which is surprisingly affordable given the technology and capability. However, this sticker might include Tesla’s "potential savings," which shaves some $7,000 off the Model S’ price. In this case, the Cybertruck will actually start from around $47,000. But let’s talk about the official figures for now. At $39,900, the Cybertruck is around $7,000 more expensive than the base Ford F-150, but the SuperCrew version of this truck, which matches the Tesla for passenger space, is actually only $3,500 more affordable.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck prices
Tesla Cybertruck Single Motor RWD $39,900
Tesla Cybertruck Dual Motor AWD $49,900
Tesla Cybertruck Tri Motor AWD $69,900

The dual-motor version is obviously more expensive at $49,900, which is $4,000 more than the F-150 SuperCrew Lariat or $4,000 more affordable than the Raptor. Finally, the tri-motor AWD version comes in at $69,000, or a whopping $14,000 more than the range-topping F-150 Platinum. If these preliminary stickers don’t include Tesla’s "potential savings," expect the dual-motor to starts from around $57,000 and the tri-motor truck to fetch around $77,000 before options.

Competition

Ford F-150

2018 Ford F-150 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 700453

As a gasoline-only model, the F-150 isn’t an ideal truck for this comparison, but it’s the vehicle that Tesla wants to go against with the Cybertruck. And that’s not surprising, because the F-150 is the best selling truck in the United States. A more traditional approach design-wise, the latest F-150 was quite an innovative truck when it arrived in 2014, mostly because Ford ditched the steel body in favor of aluminum. Five years later and the F-150 soldiers on thanks to a mild facelift. Engine options include V-6 and V-8 gasoline engines with power ranging from 290 horses and 265 pound-feet to 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet. Ford also offers a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel rated at 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of twist. We know for a fact that Ford is also working on an electric version of the F-150. It could arrive in 2021 and feature a drivetrain based on that unveiled in the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover. Don’t expect it to be as wild as the Cybertruck performance-wise, but look for at least 400 horsepower and a range of around 300 miles per charge. Pricing for the current F-150 starts from $32,580, but an electric version will probably cost around $40,000 before options.

Read our full story on the 2020 Ford F-150

Rivian R1T

The 2020 Rivian R1T Electric Truck Middle Fingers Tesla with a 3-Second Sprint to 60 mph and 400 Mile Range Exterior
- image 806409

Rivian is a new company that was established in 2009 and focuses on electric vehicle development. After 10 years of testing and building prototypes, Rivian is finally ready to unleash production models and the first batch will include a truck called the R1T. Shown in prototype form at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the R1T will arrive with a choice of three electric drivetrains. There will be a base model with around 400 horsepower and a range of 230 miles, a mid-range version with 750 horsepower and 300 miles, and a range-topping model with 700 horses and around 400 miles. The quicker R1T will hit 60 mph in around three seconds, only a tenth-second slower than the Tesla Cybertruck. Production of the R1T is scheduled to begin in 2020.

Read our full review of the 2020 Rivian R1T

Other Options

Bollinger Finally Reveals Its B1 and B2 Off-Roaders! Exterior
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The electric truck market is really tiny right now, but several automakers are planning to join in on the fun starting 2021. Bollinger and Atlis also announced plans to built electric trucks, but Chevrolet and Ram will also roll out EV haulers by 2024. Companies like Workhorse, Dongfeng, Kreisel, Neuron, and Lordstown also have similar plans.

Conclusion

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Exterior
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Announced a couple of years ago, the Tesla pickup truck seemed like a fantastic next step for Musk’s adventurous company. Now that the Cybertruck is here, we can see that it’s even more than that. Sure, pickup truck sales are booming, the “active lifestyle” is trendy, and there’s no telling what gas prices will be in two years, but the Cybertruck surpassed our expectations in almost every department. The design is rather outlandish, the construction is innovative, while performance is simply outstanding. With a range of more than 500 miles for the range-topping model, the Cybertruck trumps every other Tesla available right now and will be hard to beat no matter the competition. The output, the towing ratings, and the acceleration are also outstanding for this segment and unless the Rivian R1T lives up to its promise, the Cybertruck will dominate this segment in every single aspect. Sure, the Cybertrack is not yet ready to into production and we still don’t know all that much about it, but based on what we have right now, it’s the most revolutionary truck every created.

  • Leave it
    • Some might not like the design
    • Solid competition underway

The Official Cybertruck Logo Can Be Arranged to Make a Silhouette of the Truck

2021 Tesla Cybertruck
- image 872561

That’s right - if you rearrange (and flip around) all of the letters in the official logo, it actually creates a damn-good silhouette representation of the truck.

The Tesla Cybertruck is the Most Anticipated Tesla Reveal Ever

Tesla Cybertruck Is All The Rage Right Now; Even Google Trends Data Confirms It
- image 872996

If you think you’ve seen the Cybertruck in the news a lot lately, I’m happy to tell you that you’re not crazy. It’s been reported on, speculated on, and googled so much that there’s evidence that it’s the most-anticipated Tesla model ever.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

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