Tesla on Thursday unveiled its first electric pickup truck that looked like a futuristic angular armored vehicle in gunmetal gray, as the California company took aim at the heart of Detroit automakers’ profits.
At a launch event in Los Angeles, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the Cybertruck will have a starting price of $39,900 and production is expected to begin in late 2021.
Other versions will be priced at $49,900 and $69,900 with the most expensive offering a range of more than 500 miles.
“We need sustainable energy now. If we don’t have a pickup truck, we can’t solve it. The top 3 selling vehicles in America are pickup trucks. To solve sustainable energy, we have to have a pickup truck,” he said.
The truck, which Musk claimed “won’t scratch and dent”, was described as having windows made from armored glass. But the glass cracked like a spider web when hit with a metal ball during a demonstration. Musk appeared surprised but noted that the glass had not completely broken.
The truck marks the first foray by Tesla, whose Model 3 sedan is the world’s top-selling battery electric car, into pickup trucks, a market dominated by Ford Motor Co’s F-150, along with models by General Motors Co, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
The pickup shifts Tesla more toward trucks and SUVs. The automaker has so far sold mostly Model S and Model 3 sedans, but also offers the Model X SUV and starting next year the Model Y compact SUV.
Demand for full-size electric pickup trucks in the near term may not be huge, however.
Industry tracking firm IHS Markit estimates the electric truck segment – both full- and mid-sized models – will account for about 75,000 sales in 2026, compared with an expected 3 million light trucks overall. The Tesla truck is not part of that estimate.