Whatever your opinion of Elon Musk is, there’s no denying he’s pretty damn good at getting things done. Since he reportedly walked away from the sale of PayPal with $100 million, the South African born tech magnate-cum-Bond villain has launched rockets into space, created the world’s most valuable car company and come up with a wacky plan to build a hyper-fast tube network. But despite all that, the controversial multi-CEO appears to have met his match when it comes to producing an affordable all-electric pick-up truck.
First announced in true Musk style at a bizarre launch event in 2019, the angular, brushed stainless-steel Tesla Cybertruck rolled on stage while Musk, dressed in all black, gave a jarring run down of what to expect from it.
“We’re going to be using the same alloy in the Starship rocket as we are in the Cybertruck,” he proudly declared as Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen gleefully took an industrial sledgehammer to the door to prove his point. Cue whoops and cheers from Musk’s adoring fanbase who stood below the stage at the in-person event. Shortly after, Musk had another party trick lined up which again involved von Holzhausen launching a steel ball at the Cybertruck’s ‘amour glass’ windows to show they wouldn’t smash. Only they did. Spectacularly.
While the unorthodox stunts were both highly unusual and unnecessary for a car reveal, it was the reported range and performance that got the crowd of ‘Musketeers’ cheering, whistling and whooping the loudest. Illuminated in red letters on the wall behind Musk was a 0-60mph time of 2.9-seconds, all-wheel drive and over a 500-mile range. While few electric car companies can match those figures even now, that kind of performance was ambitious in 2019 – a little too ambitious, perhaps.
With Musk promising the sub $40,000 truck would be on the road by 2021, the tech boss tracked back on his words at a shareholder meeting earlier this year, where he declared the company wouldn’t be launching any new cars in 2022. But the signs of Tesla’s dystopian truck falling short were evident well before that call.
In the immediate aftermath of the reveal event in late 2019, Musk proudly took to his favourite form of communication — Twitter — and revealed that over 250,000 people had pre-ordered a Cybertruck in less than five days. Just nine days later, the company announced that it would be delaying the production of the base, rear-wheel-drive model to focus on the more expensive dual and tri-motor models, which had proved more popular in the pre-order phase.
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