Tesla Announces the Cybertruck

Tesla has just announced the Cybertruck, an electric-powered utility vehicle to be available in three models priced at US$39,900 (single motor rear wheel drive), US$ 49,900 (dual motor all wheel drive), and US$ 69,900 (tri-motor all wheel drive).  The range varies between 250 miles (400 km) for the least expensive model to 500 miles (800 km) for the most expensive.  More details are available on Wikipedia.

The design is…curious.  It reminded me of this.

The Homer (Homer Simpson's dream car)

The name recalls this passage from Rudy Rucker’s 1994 novel, The Hacker and the Ants, in which the villain is modeled on me.

The funny thing about the “cyber” prefix was that it had always meant bulls***.

Back in the 1940s, the story went, MIT doubledome Norbert Weiner had wanted a title for a book he’d written about the electronic control of machines. Claude Shannon, also known as The Father of Information Theory, told Weiner to call his book Cybernetics. The academic justification for the word was that the “cyber” root came from the Greek word for “rudder”.  A “kybernetes” was a steersman, or, by extension, a mechanical governor such as a weight-and-pulley feedback device you might hook to your tiller to keep your sailboat aimed at some fixed angle into the wind. The practical justification for the word was contained in Shannon’s advice to Weiner: “Use the word ‘cybernetics’, Norbert, because nobody knows what it means. This will always put you at an advantage in arguments.”

A Cybertruck model with full-cabin pressurisation is envisioned for use as an amphibious vehicle and for use on Mars.

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Author: John Walker

Founder of Ratburger.org, Autodesk, Inc., and Marinchip Systems. Author of The Hacker's Diet. Creator of www.fourmilab.ch.

34 thoughts on “Tesla Announces the Cybertruck”

  1. Meanwhile, the SpaceX Starship Mk. 1 prototype blows its top, apparently when a weld failed in its propellant tank, “made of the same stainless steel” as the Cybertruck.

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  2. Many things seem nutty about the truck. The exoskeleton aspect has several problems.

    The vehicle would be unlikely to pass a crash test. Likely it is above the light vehicle weight class so that it is exempt. But that exemption can’t be taken for granted in the future.

    The exoskeleton also makes the vehicle more likely to be rendered undriveable or totaled by an accident.

    Having an exoskeleton also makes the vehicle less amenable to being modified.

    Turning to styling, WTF?

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  3. I don’t see how this design will be able to handle oversized things. It looks like a truck designed by people who have not used a truck for work.

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  4. 10 Cents:
    I don’t see how this design will be able to handle oversized things. It looks like a truck designed by people who have not used a truck for work.

    Which unfortunately confirms that Tesla will be very late to the work truck market. It may be shut out.

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  5. Back in the day, Nissan had a series of commercials with the theme “dogs love trucks.” This beast would have dogs vomiting.

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  6. John Walker:
    The design is…curious.  It reminded me of this.

    That is an ugly truck (the Tesla, not Homer’s). No matter what your tech specs might be, looks matter.

    And are these audiences paid? People are way too excited.

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  7. TBH, I think Elon took a bong hit while watching Back to the Future and thought, “Maann, if only that car could carry sheetrock home from the Home Depot!”

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  8. danok1:
    TBH, I think Elon took a bong hit while watching Back to the Future and thought, “Maann, if only that car could carry sheetrock home from the Home Depot!”

    Elon watches many movies:

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  9. Segway, anyone? That was supposed to revolutionize personal transportation. It was interesting but never made a dent. I think the Cybertruck won’t make a dent also but not in the way Elon intended.

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  10. 10 Cents:
    I don’t see how this design will be able to handle oversized things. It looks like a truck designed by people who have not used a truck for work.

    Or for anything. The entire point of a truck is versatility, specifically to do things you never planned on doing. This can carry the special Tesla ATV, but not likely many others.

    How well does it carry several dirt bikes?

    How well does it carry Archie Bunker’s chair?

    How well does it carry a large snowblower?

    How well does it carry a couple of hockey goals?

    How well does it carry a dozen cheerleaders.

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  11. If this thing works at all, I think it will be popular.  It’s never going to take on the F-150 for dominance of the work/personal truck world, but for people without too many real world requirements, this thing looks good enough.  It will be popular with city dwellers whose existing infrastructure and smaller requirements envelope will support it.

    You’ve seen the segment this aims at: people who slow to a crawl before putting a $70,000 Land Rover across a curb.  This thing’s likely fate as a fashion truck is an existing market.

    On the other hand, there may be use cases for the insane torque that electric motors provide but which are currently met only by machines which are not road legal.

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  12. I love the way Musk has to give the last half of his presentation in front of a couple of broken windows on his fabulous useless truck. “We’re going to be offering rides. Don’t mind the glass.”

    Epic fail.

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  13. Haakon Dahl:
    This thing’s likely fate as a fashion truck is an existing market.

    True. Never underestimate the power of fashion and the stupid rich. I can see butches buying this thing.

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  14. Haakon Dahl:
    On the other hand, there may be use cases for the insane torque that electric motors provide but which are currently met only by machines which are not road legal.

    That’s one thing I didn’t get. You can have all the torque you want but the limiting feature is traction (static friction between tire and road). Any self-respecting muscle car can lay rubber in low gear, which means that the torque is more than enough to exceed the static friction force. The only way Musk’s dog-and-pony show works is if the F-150 he used is woefully underpowered, had bad tires, or Musk’s fugly-mobile is much heavier than the F-150 (or some combination). Throw a bunch of bricks into the bed of the F-150 with a decent set of tires and it suddenly would be competitive.

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  15. Once you have a truck, you find out how many of your friends have brush piles that they need moved.

    I don’t think that this truck will suffer from that syndrome.

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  16. Percival:
    Once you have a truck, you find out how many of your friends have brush piles that they need moved.

    I don’t think that this truck will suffer from that syndrome.

    One of the times my Mustang was laid up in warranty service, I was given an F-150 loaner. I ended up helping our office manger transport furniture and a friend clean out his basement and do a run to the transfer station.

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