The Tesla Cybertruck: Everything You Need to Know

Tesla's forthcomng truck will be the most striking vehicle on the road.

tesla cybertruck prototype on a display stand

Tesla officially launched the Cybertruck back in 2019. When/if cyberpunk electric truck will be the most striking vehicle on the road. But we're still discussing it in the future tense because — nearly three years after its debut — Tesla still has not launched the production version. Even the more optimistic Cybertruck timelines could still have us waiting until next year.

Piecing together reports, rumors and Elon Musk tweets — the closest thing Tesla has to an official PR department — it's clear the production Cybertruck will be markedly different from the initial release. Here's what we know about it as of this writing.

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When will Tesla build the Cybertruck?
tesla cybertruck on stage, side profile

Tesla's first target for starting Cybertruck production was fall 2021. That didn't happen. It's now 2022, and we still haven't seen a single truck arrive. Elon Musk has said Tesla will not introduce a new model in 2022; the Cybertruck will launch in 2023 as part of a "massive wave of new products."

In June, Musk said that design for the Cybertruck was "locked" and that the target date for production was now mid-2023.

Other products purportedly on tap for next year may include the Tesla Roadster (which debuted back in 2017), the Tesla Semi Truck and a humanoid Tesla robot. Tesla is also reportedly working on a dedicated robotaxi vehicle with full self-driving (a feature that still hasn't arrived yet, in spite of many years of promises).

What will the Tesla Cybertruck look like?
light display showing silhouette of the cybertruck

Don't expect a dramatic aesthetic departure from the first version. It will still have the same angular, Blade Runner-inspired silhouette. Tesla will still build the "exoskeleton" from stainless steel and leave it unpainted (though there should be third-party wrap options).

We have seen some practical tweaks come to the project— the latest prototype, for example, has conventional side mirrors. And Musk has suggested at various points the production Cybertruck may be smaller than the prototype, as it would be a tight fit in garages and Boring tunnels.

Elon Musk said the Cybertruck can function "briefly" as a boat
SpaceX And T-Mobile Hold Joint Event In Texas
Michael GonzalezGetty Images

Elon Musk tweeted that the Cybertruck will be "waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat." Musk noted the truck should be able to cross "rivers, lakes and even seas that aren't too choppy." Musk wants the truck to be able to cross the channel from the SpaceX Starbase to South Padre island (theoretically cutting down on employee commutes).

It's not entirely clear what that means yet. EVs and EV trucks in particular have excellent waterproofing — letting water and salt into the battery compartment would not end well. And the high-riding Cybertruck should have a formidable wading depth.

Reminder that — as the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources noted — anything that claims to "serve briefly as a boat" is not a boat.

Tesla is changing the Cybertruck motor lineup
elon musk in front of tesla cybertruck with holes in armor glass

Tesla's initial Cybertruck plan included single, dual and tri-motor versions. That plan has changed. Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that the first Cybertruck that launches now will use a quad-motor setup like the Rivian R1T.

It's not clear how the rest of the lineup will shake out; Tesla has removed the configurator from its website. One rumor says Tesla will remove the single motor Cybertruck — the one that would have started under $40,000.

The Tesla Cybertruck will have an adaptive air suspension
tesla cybertruck in a museum display
ROBYN BECKGetty Images

Tesla says the Cybertruck will have an adaptive air suspension. The truck will be able to raise or lower four inches in either direction. It will also offer a self-leveling function.

The Tesla Cybertruck will borrow a cool feature from the Hummer EV SUT
tesla cybertruck

Elon Musk said the Cybertruck will offer four-wheel steering. This feature will allow the Cybertruck to Crab Walk diagonally like the Hummer EV SUT.

More importantly, the rear wheels will be able to turn the opposite direction from the front wheels, allowing the Cybertruck to make tighter turns and, like the Hummer be more maneuverable than it should be in tight spaces given its size.

The Tesla Cybertruck won’t have traditional door handles
tesla cybertruck prototype on display in automotive museum
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Recent Cybertruck prototypes show no physical door handles. Musk has said the doors will open automatically in the presence of the phone or key fob. It's not clear yet whether there will be some sort of physical override for emergencies.

Can you buy the Tesla Cyberquad, at least?
cowboy hat guy riding a tesla cyber quad

For the initial Cybertruck launch, Tesla built the Cyberquad, a quad-bike ATV that could fit in the Cybertruck's bed. The initial plan was to sell it as an option with the Cybertruck. And that plan may still happen.

For now, Tesla is selling a scaled-down Cyberquad for Kids. It can accommodate riders 8-year-old and up who is under 150 lbs. The Cyberquad for Kids, has a 15-mile range and can hit a top speed of 10 mph. It's listed for $1,900 on Tesla's website, but it's currently out of stock.

The Cybertruck will have electric truck competition
f 150 lightning

Tesla has set the paradigm with its past launches of cool, high-performing electric cars. But the Cybertruck will be different from the Model 3 or the Model S. Tesla will be entering an established electric pickup market — and facing off directly against some heavy-hitters.

Upstart EV manufacturer Rivian brought its R1T pickup to market last year. The GMC Hummer EV SUT and Ford F-150 Lightning will be on the road in 2022. If Tesla delays the Cybertruck further, it's possible GM could have three electric trucks on the road before the Cybertruck arrives.

2023 Tesla Cybertruck Specs (from Tesla's website)
tesla cybertruck truck bed on display in a museum
ROBYN BECKGetty Images

Range: Up to 500 miles

0-60 time: 2.9 seconds

Towing Capacity: 14,000-plus lbs

Payload Capacity: 3,500 lbs

Touchscreen: 17 inches

Seats: 6 (2 rows of 3)

Lockable exterior storage: 100 cubic feet


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