Last month Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) unveiled its new Cybertruck concept to a lot of fanfare.
Hot-takes flooded the internet as some critics bashed the car's futuristic design, while others praised it as simply the latest in a long line of innovative masterstrokes from Tesla and its controversial CEO Elon Musk.
In this video from our YouTube channel, we break down what the Cybertruck means for Tesla and why the company pushed design boundaries for its first foray into the truck space.
Narrator: Tesla's new Cybertruck isn't like any other pickup truck ever made. Yes, there's truck a bed, huge tires, and off-road capabilities. But just once glance at Tesla's newest creation proves that Elon Musk is making a huge bet with this vehicle.
In this episode of the bottom line, we're taking a closer look at Tesla's Cybertruck and how it fits into the company's broader electric vehicle plans.
Let's start with the most obvious, uh, we'll say attribute of the Cybertruck: Its design.
Tesla's retro pickup looks a like the truck version of a DeLorean that would feel more at home a 1980's dystopia than in a 21st Century suburban driveway.
Its distinct look comes not only from its hard, angular lines, but also from the truck's exoskeleton, which is made from cold-rolled steel that SpaceX, Musk's other company, is using for its upcoming Starship rocket.
Tesla says the steel is nearly impenetrable and during its unveiling, the Cybertruck's lead designer hit the door panel of the truck with a sledgehammer to show that it won't dent.
Musk said at the event that, "It is literally bulletproof to a nine millimeter handgun."
And then there are the glass windows. Tesla says they're ultra-strong glass with a polymer-layered composite that creates an armor protection, which can absorb and redirect impacts.
The live demonstration of this armor glass didn't go as well as the door demonstration though. When the lead designer threw a metal ball at the window to show its strength, it smashed into the window and created a spiderweb crack. Musk said on Twitter afterwards that the Cybertruck's glass was compromised after they hit the door panel with a sledgehammer.
While the Cybertruck has a very polarizing design, at least one theory helps explain the truck's aesthetic.
And it has to do with the fact that pickup truck owners tend to be very loyal to their truck brand. So if Tesla released a pickup truck that, well, looked more like other traditional trucks... then it probably wouldn't win over many converts.
But by releasing a truck that is so far outside of the box, it might just win over truck fans who are looking for something radically different.
But how well does the Cybertruck's specifications compete with current pickup trucks?
Let's start with the Cybertruck's impressive towing capacity. The base model of Tesla's new truck, with a single electric motor and rear-wheel drive, can tow 7,500 pounds.
But if buyers opt for the dual-motor AWD version, which they probably will because why would you spend money on a truck to ride out the apocalypse and not get all wheel drive? Then you get 10,000 pounds of towing capacity. And finally, the trimotor version, has an insanely impressive towing capacity of 14,000 pounds.
Musk made sure to compare his new truck the 2020 Ford (NYSE:F) F-150, which has a slightly less impressive 13,200-pound towing capacity.
The Cybertruck can also handle a heavier payload, has better approach and departure angles, has more truck bed storage capacity, and has higher ground clearance than Ford's F-150.
Oh, and it's also insanely fast. With three motors, the truck will launch its driver and up to five passengers from 0 to 60 miles per hour in an incomprehensible 2.9 seconds and comes with a range of around 500 miles. That version will set you back $69,900.
The dual motor model will perform the same 0-60 task in a still mind-blowing 4.5 seconds for $20,000 less and the base model accomplishes a 0-60 time in 6.5 seconds and gives buyers a range of about 250 miles.
Putting the truck's controversial aesthetic aside, Tesla's new truck fills an important gap in the company's vehicle lineup. Pickup trucks are one of the most popular vehicles in the U.S. and the Cybertruck will finally allow Tesla to tap into this market.
The big question now is how much demand there is for this electric beast.
Musk has already said that there are 250,000 Cybertruck pre-orders, but that figure might not be the best indicator for eventual sales.
The cost to pre-order a Cybertruck is just $100, but it's hardly a firm commitment to buy the vehicle. It essentially just puts you in line to order the truck when it becomes available.
One optimistic forecast puts the total amount of annual Cybertruck deliveries at 200,000 starting in 2023, but that's just an estimate and only time will tell how that prediction plays out.
The bottom line is that whether or not you love or hate Tesla's Cybertruck, Elon Musk is making a huge bet with this truck.
If it pays off, Tesla will have created a pickup truck like no other and will tap into one of the largest vehicle markets in the U.S. If it fails, well, at least we'll have gotten a glimpse at what trucks look like an alternate dystopian reality.