Tesla’s bakkie is supercar fast
It looks like no other double-cab and has the performance to shame most supercars. This is the bakkie that could change everything.
The most keenly anticipated vehicle of 2019 has been revealed in California.South African born Elon Musk introduced the world to his Tesla Cybertruck this week, Tesla’s daring vision of what a future bakkie should be.
With an appearance unlike any of the preview renderings, this could become the most important vehicle that Tesla makes. Although the world’s most disruptive vehicle brand has seen surging demand for its battery-powered passenger cars, it has ignored the lucrative bakkie market.
In the Americas (and South Africa, for that matter), bakkies remain the most popular class of vehicles. Tesla has realised that if it is to have a secure and sustainable business, there must be a battery-powered bakkie in its product portfolio.
Looks like nothing else
The Cybertruck has an odd appearance which makes it look, in part, like a classic 1970s wedge-shaped supercar. Sharp angles and curiously rectangular wheel arches define the design.
With surface shapes that look like they were designed to have a low radar signature, resembling an F-35 fighter plane, the Cybertruck might be dual-targeted at both civilian and military customers. In terms of its core specification, the Cybertruck is made from a special cold-rolled stainless steel.
Tesla claims it has made this bakkie virtually dent, scratch and bulletproof – all features which would be very useful for a utility vehicle, destined to be used in testing off-road conditions.
Tesla has also chosen to engineer its Cybertruck as an unibody bakkie, instead of the traditional body-on-frame configuration popularised by most of its rivals. This monocoque design will give this Cybertruck outstanding high-speed handling dynamics and cornering agility.
A comprehensive air-suspension system will balance ride quality over all terrain types and give the Cybertruck an impressive 406mm of ground clearance.
Tesla is willing to confirm the Cybertruck’s performance, but not its battery specification or power outputs. The range, which is due for delivery in 2021, will be three derivatives strong and they will all be configured as all-wheel drive.
In its most basic trim, the Cybertruck will feature a single electric motor. That will enable it to run 0-100km/h in 6.5-seconds, go for 400km before requiring a recharge and tow 3.4t.
A dual-motor version is good for 0-100km/h in 4.5-seconds, has 482km of range and will haul 4.5t.
The tri-motor Cybertruck will be a veritable super-bakkie, capable of 0-100km/h in 2.9-seconds, 800km of range and 6.3t of towing capacity. All three of the Cybertruck bakkies are rated for an impressive 1.6t of load capacity on the back.
The Tesla bakkie will also offer a very spacious cabin architecture, with seating for up to six. The styling is beyond radical and many bakkie traditionalists will require convincing to move away from a proven market of ladder-frame vehicles, yet there is no arguing that Cybertruck’s specification is deeply impressive.
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