Our thoughts on the Tesla Cybertruck

So in case you haven’t seen it, Tesla has unveiled their new ute, the Tesla Cybertruck, and it is….well, opinions are divided. It’s cool, interesting, divisive, and some people are very very opinionated about it.

If you haven’t seen it, here is a picture:

It’s…different that’s for sure!

Opinions I have already seen on the internet range from “It looks like a door stop” to “This thing is just an offroad DeLorean”, but the thing that really got a lt of people interested was the specs:

Specs

Single MotorDual MotorTri-Motor
Price USD$39,900$49,900$69,900
0-60MPH
(0-100KPH)
6.5 Seconds4.5 Seconds2.9 Seconds
Range in Miles
(KM)
250 (400)300 (480)500 (800)
DrivetrainRear Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveAll Wheel Drive
Storage CU/FT
(CU/M)
100 (2.83) 100 (2.83) 100 (2.83)
Vault Length FT
(M)
6.5 (1.98) 6.5 (1.98) 6.5 (1.98)
Towing Capacity in lbs
(KG)
7500 (3,400)10,000 (4,500)14,000 (6,300)
AutopilotStandard Standard Standard
Air Suspension Standard Standard Standard
Ground Clearance16 Inches/406mm 16 Inches/406mm 16 Inches/406mm
Approach Angle35 Degrees 35 Degrees 35 Degrees
Departure Angle28 Degrees 28 Degrees 28 Degrees

Pricing

The specs are impressive, as are the prices, and we can make a pretty educated guess at what the prices will be in Australian Dollars.

Taking the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus as our example, it retails for $36,000USD in the United States, and the same car here is around $71,500 AUD, so this is a price change of 1.99x the US price, remembering that Australia has ridiculous taxes and such around all of their imports.

Another thing to note however is that in Australia, for most passenger cars you have to pay a 33% Luxury Car Tax on every $ over the Threshold, which for normal cars is $60,316 and for “fuel-efficient cars” the value is $75,375.

Now this has put a lot of the Tesla models out of reach of the average consumer, with only a singular model, the Model 3 SR+ being under the threshold (Unless you want to add Full Self Driving that is)

However, according to the ATO, the following applies:

LCT doesn’t apply:

to a motor home or campervan, or a commercial vehicle designed mainly for carrying goods and not passengers

https://www.ato.gov.au/business/luxury-car-tax/when-lct-doesn-t-apply/

What does this mean? Well, when was the last time you saw someone pay Luxury Car Tax on a Landcruiser 79 Series? An Iveco Daily? A RAM 3500? They’re all utes, they aren’t passenger vehicles, and the Cybertruck will get lumped into the same category, so we can estimate the prices to be around the following:

Single MotorDual MotorTri-Motor
$39,900 USD$49,900 USD$69,900 USD
$79,401 AUD$99,301 AUD$139,101 AUD

So yeah, it’s a bit higher than a lot would like, you’re not going to be going from a $52,000 Hilux to a $140,000 Cybertruck in the forseeable future for most people.

Charging

This is the bit that a lot of people are worried about, because your standard 10A household socket will honestly take forever to charge your car, especially one as big as the Cybertruck.

Now we haven’t been given sizes on the batteries just yet, but the Cybertruck is believed to have a battery in the Tri-Motor Version of around 150kWh

Taking this number of 150kWh you can see that your 10A plug at home, with a you’d be looking at around 11kW output, meaning if you’re down to 20% of 150kWh you’ll have 30kWh left in the tank and need to boost up a whopping 120kWh, or 120kWh/11kW = 10.90 hours which might be good if you get home at 5PM and need to shoot off no sooner than 4AM the next day, but you’ll probably get a bit of a loss there, and might not be able to charge at the full 11kW for 11 hours.

So you’d probably at best be looking at around 12-14 hours to get that much charge up (But some perspective, 80% use is around 640km of driving)

Alternatively, and this surprises a lot of people, you can always have a look at PlugShare and see what is around you, and you can get adaptors for around $30 to adapt between your Tesla and nearly any plug.

Check out the PlugShare map below:

One thing you may notice is that most of the chargers are free, and near shopping centres. So if you’re only doing the Australian Average of 500km (~25,000km a year) a week, you can do your weekly grocery shopping, grab a coffee and have your car charged, for free while you shop.

Capability

Towing

So we can’t go far without talking about the towing capacity of the Cybertruck, so we will compare the big daddy Tri-Motor to equal priced big towers that we see around.

Tesla CybertruckRAM 2500Ford F250HSV Silverado 2500
Towing Cap6,300kg6,942kg6,667kg5,890kg
Price$140,000 (est)$163,888$153,695$134,950
Range800km700km893km925km
$/kg Towing$22.22/kg$23.60/kg$23.05/kg$22.91/kg

So as you can see, in the towing area this is aimed at, this Ute actually punches pretty well against it’s peers when it comes to $/kg of towing capacity, however I would like to point out that all the ranges quoted are for an unladen vehicle that is not towing. So obviously none of these cars will get as far when towing something at their maximum capacities.

Off Road

So this is where I see the most people commenting about the car, is Ranger, Hilux, Colorado Owners wondering “What’s it gonna be like off road”

Now, a few smarter people than I on the internet have done the math and worked out based of Elon Musk’s height, the car is sporting 35″ tyres from factory, so let’s see how this stacks up against the people that keep wondering what it’s going to be like off road:

CybertruckHiluxRangerColoradoT60
Ground Clearance (mm)406700232210215
Factory Tyre Size35″30.5″30.6″29.2″29.5″
VSB14 Tyre Size37″32.5″32.6″31.2″31.5″
Approach Angle (Degrees) 3531282827
Departure Angle (Degrees)2826272224

As you can see, if you’re simply going tpo go for the Mid-Range Dual Motor 4×4 Model at around $100,000 AUD (Which is double the competition, or nearly quadruple the price of a T60) you will get your monies worth on the off road capability, especially when the claimed 800km range is roughly what all the other utes get from factory as well.

The disadvantage being not being able to carry more electrickery along with you (You could carry a generator, which is still more efficient than an internal combustion engine, but that’s a different discussion), or Solar Panels, but it would be easier for some people who do a lot of long range touring into literally the middle of nowhere…I mean…Australia, to carry spare Jerry Cans of fuel.

Though we do not know as of yet if the Battery Packs will be Interchangeable between the Tri-Motor and the Dual Motor (Possible expansion there), or if they may even have the same battery pack and it’s simply software locked (Which means that in theory the battery could be reprogrammed to give better range) which is what Tesla has done with the Short Range Model 3, which has a 75kWh battery pack running at 50kWh, now at this stage I am not aware of anyone reprogramming it, but most of these vehicles are still in warranty.

Water Crossings

One thing I keep hearing is water crossings, and yes, that is a concern with most people, as we all know that Electricity and Water do not mix.

However, what have you done to your standard 4×4 to make it corss water?

Snorkel? Diff Breathers? Extra weathershield around the doors?

Well Tesla is actually pretty good at this EV thing, and like Rivian, they have been fully sealing all their batteries and motors against water since the start, meaning there is a 0% chance of water ingress, provided you maintain your vehicle appropriately and service it in accordance with their schedules. Plus having that much weight down low should mean that you can stop from floating away.

Summary

Well, I’m still not sure if I like it, I mean, the look is bold, and I have a couple of theories about that:

  1. This is the car, this is the car that we are getting from Tesla, and it’s here. Whether we love it or hate it, it’s a PR model though, and as of yesterday’s launch, a LOT of people have been talking about Tesla, and 150,000 reservations have already been made (That’s what happens when it’s only $150 and it’s refundable)
  2. This is a “Sonic The Hedgehog Movie” car, they launched an idea that was horrible to look at, and then in 12 months once people are suitable pissed off, they will launch a much much better looking car, and then people will feel that they helped make the change. Tesla may have the better car already sitting there ready to go.
  3. This is a concept car, they’re using it to gauge the market, and maybe Tesla may take on board the criticism, what people wanted to see, what they didn’t want to see, and will adjust accordingly. Hence one of the reasons some real hard data has been hard to come by.

Either way, if you haven’t seen it yet, here is the full launch video:

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One Comment

  • Avatar Tim James says:

    Great Article!
    Charging is much less hassle than the article let’s on, the time it take to charge usually is totally irrelevant, as day to day you’re rarely going to use the whole battery, and on long trips, the Supercharger network in Australia is pretty good. Remote charging might be a challenge but most places that sell fuel have 3phase power. As those remote places get solar power they’ll actually get to keep more of the money coming through their community instead of sending it back out with the fuel tanker.

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