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Tesla Cybertruck Will Be the Death of Legacy Auto Pickup Trucks

The Tesla Cybertruck is being touted as the death of the traditional pickup truck by Dave Lee, a prominent Tesla bull on YouTube. Let's look at what he has to say about this.

Tesla Is the Death of the Traditional Pickup Truck

According to Dave Lee, Tesla has killed the traditional pickup truck and it is practically inevitable that the traditional pickup truck is going to die a long death - because the design of the Cybertruck is so much better than all other pickup truck designs. Let's dive further into his assessment.

The Cybertruck is Tesla's best design ever for a vehicle and it's going to be incredibly difficult for any company to copy the Cybertruck design. Tesla's chief designer talked about the Cybertruck in a recent interview: "It goes back to a first principles approach. What do you need from a pickup truck? What would you put on it? If you came from Mars, what would you look for?"

To achieve an armor plating on the outside of a truck that is impervious to bullets and dents, that you can drive into trees, that you can't scratch - all these things you would want in a tough pickup truck that makes it difficult to dent or break - what would you use?

You use stainless steel, because you don't have to paint it. Stainless steel will not get scratched. Not having to paint saves money and time. No scratches saves on repairs and keeps a new look. The stainless steel won't rust. Stainless steel is difficult to form - really hard, so how do you form it?

You can't do it in a traditional way. That will become part of the character of design of the Cybertruck in that it will use stainless steel made in a way that only Tesla is capable of using. The planar sheets of the stainless steel can bend in one direction. That bending in one direction will be a guiding principle of the Cybertruck.

Elon Musk on the Tesla Cybertruck

Elon Musk stated the that Tesla Cybertruck will probably be Tesla's best product ever. That's saying something given the popularity of the Model Y.

He goes on further to say that you can make something infinitely desirable, but if it's not affordable, that will constrain people's ability to buy it because they don't have the money. Elon worries more about making the Cybertruck affordable despite having awesome technology. He also says, aspirationally, in terms of just a rough order of magnitude, we'd like Cybertruck to be at least on the order of 400 thousand vehicles a year. But it will take us a moment to get to that level.

Elon and Tesla feel that they have "cracked the nut" of what a pickup truck should be. Why is there paint on the exterior of a pickup truck? The basic design of a pickup truck is flawed. Shouldn't the exterior be made something akin to armor plating? You could use stainless steel as the skin and everything else inside of that. That makes a pickup truck tough.

The Cybertruck is going to be the toughest truck ever made and it won't even be close. All other pickup trucks are going to look fragile and weak. It's the end of the era of the pickup truck and the tide is going to turn once people see how strong and tough the Tesla Cybertruck is. Other auto makers will have a difficult time matching the Tesla Cybertruck.

Can Other Automakers Compete?

Other auto makers don't realize the Tesla Cybertruck will be a huge hit. Other auto makers are focusing on electrifying their existing pickup trucks. This also admits the paying debt of their ICE vehicles. But it also means that legacy auto makers aren't making any changes to the design of their pickup trucks.

You won't be able to dent, scratch, or shoot a bullet through the Tesla Cybertruck. Ford trucks are known as being built "Ford Tough". But why can't other auto makers make their own version of the Cybertruck? It's because the Cybertruck will be incredibly difficult to make. It won't be easy or cheap.

Tesla will innovate with hundreds of processes and techniques to make a mass produced car with stainless steel. This milestone and knowledge will help them make other types of vehicles that have the same armor plating and durability. Other auto makers will likely stick with what they know instead of innovating like the Cybertruck will.

The Cybertruck could be the nail in the coffin for other auto makers who are relying on traditional pickup trucks to make their profits. Tesla's Cybertruck is going to make all other pickup trucks look fragile, weak, and a thing of the past.

Will the Tesla Cybertruck be the end of all other pickup trucks? How will other automakers improve their trucks to compete with the Cybertruck?

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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.

Image Credit, Doug DeMuro, YouTube Screenshot


DeanMcManis (not verified)    February 17, 2022 - 2:07PM

I find those kinds of "the death of ICE/gas vehicles" comments as a joke. The truck market is HUGE and diverse, and if you were going to pick a market that would have the most pushback for EVs, I would choose pickups. Plus the Cybertruck has now been pushed to 2023 at the earliest. But the Cybertruck and Rivian do have the possibility to take a healthy bite out of new gas/diesel truck sales, along with the upcoming Ford F150 Lightning and GM EV Silverado. It will be a huge achievement when EV pickups pass the 10% of total truck sales mark. And in getting 10% of that huge market, they would represent a huge success in expanding EV sales, because a year ago there were zero production EV pickups on the market to buy.

David Stein (not verified)    March 8, 2022 - 12:34PM

Tesla has done something totally awesome and unprecedented in the automotive industry with the Cybertruck. I believe they are introducing the very first vehicle with NO designed obsolescence. Tesla motors are designed to last a million miles. Tesla batteries coming soon are designed to last a million miles (search YouTube for "million mile battery"). How do you design a pickup truck body to last a million miles? a) Make it out of stainless steel. b) Make it thick stainless steel for strength, damage resistance, and durability. c) Use highly break-resistant glass (given SpaceX's experience with early explosions and perfecting designs, I have no doubt the armor glass will perform correctly in production). d) Give it long range and make it affordable. e) Make the structural design mainly triangles for the highest strength since thick stainless steel can only be bent by powerful sheet metal brakes. f) Given these physics constraints, might as well make it look futuristic and cutting-edge.

Add in autonomous driving within a few years and the resultant enormous decrease in accidents and at an average of 13,500 miles per year, a million miles = 74 YEARS lifetime.
Given that lifespan, futuristic looks are important. 74 years ago was 1945, how do 1945 cars look now? (Think old antiques).

Given my current age, an autonomous vehicle makes a LOT of sense. When I'm too old to drive, I'll still have complete mobility as the truck will drive me where I need to go. In fact, with the Tesla Network, I can rent it out when I don't need it and live on the income! Damn, this is sounding better and better! How about renting it out from day one and it paying for itself?

How about if Tesla adds Robo-Plowing capability with short-range radar detection of the plow corners, curbs, road edges, and parked or abandoned cars buried in snowbanks and invisible through heavy snowfall. They currently have a forward looking radar as part of their sensor suite. How about streets and roads actually plowed full width all winter long without damaging either curbs or your plow? So while I'm warm in bed my Cybertruck Robo-Plow can be doing a plowing route earning me money while I sleep! Sounds like two or three Robo-Plows in my future, but I'll wait until the first one's working.

So if the body lasts a million miles, what if it lasts two or three million? Rebuild the motors (change bearings) each million, possibly replace the battery pack. And when it eventually is retired, totally recycle the body and motors and batteries. Of course the batteries could be used in stationary storage (Powerwall, Powerpack, and Megapacks) for another few decades before being recycled.

This is revolutionary. Really totally minimizing lifetime embedded energy. Able to be totally run on renewable, sustainable energy. No designed obsolescence. This is a first in automotive history. I salute you and your team, Elon Musk!