Tesla Gives a Little Taste of the Cybertruck

Chief Vehicle Designer Franz von Holzhausen says the truck that will go into production in June will have “pleasant surprises” for consumers.

It is the most anticipated vehicle of recent years. 

The Cybertruck that Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report is developing is supposed to revolutionize the image of the truck or pickup truck with not only its futuristic design but also features that will redefine, according to experts, the future of trucks and its place in popular imagery.

After years of waiting, production is scheduled to start at the Tesla factory in Austin, Texas, next June. Things seem to be on track, according to Chief Vehicle Designer Franz von Holzhausen. He has just revealed some features of the Cybertruck and promises big surprises.

To begin with, von Holzhausen reassures Cybertruck fans that the design is complete.

“Is the Cybertruck finished from a design perspective,” he was asked on the Ride the Lightning podcast with Ryan McCaffrey. The episode was broadcasted on Jan. 15.

“Yeah!” he responded, but added that the pencil is not completely down.

Cybertruck Owners Club

Cybertruck Has Convenient Front Doors, Yoke Steering Wheel 

“You never really have a pencil down kind of thing. We’re gonna get a new model and we work consistently through the entire process. We’re constantly working on every detail,” the executive continued. “We learn things through the engineering phases and the manufacturing development phases that we can improve on and so we do. We have teammates that are actively working to ensure that the development phases as we get into manufacturing that we’ve gotten it right and if we didn’t, we continue to work on it through production to improve it.”

Von Holzhausen said the Cybertruck’s front doors are going to be similar to the Model X luxury SUV. Basically, locking and unlocking the Cybertruck will be convenient for the driver. There will be no need to use the key fob. The truck will have sensors around the driver’s door that can recognize the presence of a key fob. So, you can keep your key fob in your pocket or purse and Cybertruck detects it as you approach.

“Possibly in the back” doors as well, he also said. “There are also buttons on.”

The chief vehicle designer also indicated that the Cybertruck would offer a possibility of a yoke steering wheel.

“The yoke make a lot of sense. Once you experience it, it’s a great driving experience. Yoke combined with autopilot. Yeah, it makes the whole kind of user experience and the interior cockpit, simpler and cleaner. And so yeah, we’re looking at the yoke.”

He promised that there would be “pleasant surprises,” which are the “right kind of competitive things.”

“We want to make sure that we bring a great amount of functionality, performance, you know, drive characteristics, all those things and just usability to the truck,” because “people use pickup trucks or trucks in general like Swiss Army knives,” von Holzhausen said. “We want to make sure that the truck can be tailored and tuned to your specific desires.”

Buyers Must Get Used to Attention

He developed Tesla’s approach to the Cybertruck.

“I think you know, Cybertruck is radical, so it touches on like the uniqueness but it’s 100% functional, if not more functional than any of the other incumbents. So, in that sense, we want to make sure that we didn’t do something that was radically different but couldn’t stand up to the true test of why people really buy a pickup truck.”

When it was pointed out to him that no other automaker would have given the green light to the truck’s design, von Holzhausen agreed and acknowledged that Tesla’s choice was bold and daring.

“The interesting thing is that we were going through exercises in the early development phases where we were looking at, you know, more normal kind of silhouettes and realizing, like ‘we have an opportunity to do something different, an opportunity that nobody else would have the balls to do,” he responded.

He continued: “Elon [Musk, the CEO] like ‘Yeah, you got to do it,’  and hats off to taking that risk. And I think, what’s been interesting is we’ve seen people that would never consider owning a pickup truck, or pickup trucks just not something they need or it’s not on their radar be attracted to this because of the uniqueness.”

“We’ve pulled people away from their kind of normal comfort zone and brought them something that’s just radically different and will be on the street radically different and, you know, if you’re not used to attention might be a little tough in the beginning,” von Holzhausen said.

Musk first unveiled the electric pickup prototype in November 2019 at a promotional event in Los Angeles. The vehicle has been described as something out of the films “Mad Max” and “Blade Runner.” The billionaire himself said that the Cybertruck had been “influenced partly by ‘The Spy Who Loved Me,'” a reference to the amphibious Lotus Esprit S1 featured in the 1977 James Bond film.

The Tesla Cybertruck promises up to 500 miles of electric range, a maximum tow rating of 14,000 pounds, and a base price under $40,000. Buyers will also have to add Tesla driver assistance system Full Self-Driving for $15,000.

On Nov. 24, 2019, Musk said that Tesla had already received at least 187,000 orders for the Cybertruck. It was five days after the vehicle was unveiled.

Tesla is no longer taking orders for the Cybertruck in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. But the vehicle can still be ordered in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

People can reserve one of the vehicles for a refundable $100 deposit — essentially no commitment for a vehicle that won’t be cheap. 

The Cybertruck’s immediate rivals are the Rivian  (RIVN) – Get Free Report R1T electric pickup, the GMC Hummer pickup from GM  (GM) – Get Free Report and the Chevy Silverado electric pickup. It will also compete against the F-150 Lightning, the electric version of the Ford  (F) – Get Free Report F-150 pickup.

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