Tesla CEO Elon Musk shows off his company’s all-electric Cybertruck at the TeslaDesign Studio in Hawthorne, California, on Nov. 21, 2019.
Robert Hanashiro/USA Today
People can’t stop talking about Telsa’s recently unveiled Cybertruck — comparing it to a James Bond spy car, a futuristic armoured personnel carrier, something from the set of the movie Blade Runner, and worse.
But what does Windsor-Essex — a region full of auto lovers — think about Elon Musk’s radical new all-electric pickup?
“Some people will buy it. Some people like the polarizing design,” said Pino Mastroianni, president of the Windsor-Essex chapter of the Electric Vehicle Society.
“There are going to be a few buyers, for sure.”
Like many other electric vehicle fans, Mastroianni tuned into Tesla’s livestream on Thursday night for the worldwide reveal of the Cybertruck.
Although Tesla CEO Musk warned in advance that the vehicle would challenge expectations, most viewers — from industry insiders to casual car enthusiasts — were still surprised by its extremely angular look.
“There was a lot of anticipation,” Mastroianni said. “A lot of guesses on what it was going to look like … I was surprised, just the same.”
But the Cybertruck’s sci-fi appearance isn’t the only thing that sets its apart. According to Musk, the fully electric vehicle is capable of towing 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms) — more than a Ford F-150.
The powerful electric engine can accelerate the Cybertruck from zero to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in 2.9 seconds.
There will be three range options: 250 miles, 300 miles, and 500 miles.
And then there’s the relatively low cost: Musk claims the Cybertruck has a starting price of $39,900 USD, before any electric vehicle rebates.
“The specs are impressive, as usual,” Mastroianni said.
“And it is shockingly low-priced. But that’s based on speculation that the price of the batteries will drop. Which they are, on a yearly basis.”
Despite such numbers, Mastroianni isn’t quite sure if Windsor-Essex is ready for the Cybertruck.
“I’m not a pickup driver, myself. I would not buy it,” he said.
Mastroianni pointed out that Ford is busy working on an all-electric F-150 pickup truck, and the U.S. startup company Rivian is also developing an all-electric pickup called the R1T.
Both Ford and Rivian’s truck designs are more conventional than the Cybertruck.
“You’ll see F-150 electric trucks on the road in bigger numbers in Windsor, in my opinion,” Mastroianni said.
Public perception probably wasn’t helped by the Cybertruck’s driver side windows breaking during Thursday night’s live presentation.
In an attempt to show off the vehicle’s durability, metal balls were thrown at the windows — leaving two large crack patterns, much to Musk’s amusement.
“That was a little disappointing,” Mastroianni said. “There are limitations to everything … Things do happen when it comes to engineering.”
Mastroianni noted that the Cybertruck’s stainless steel armour held up during other parts of the demonstration, such as when the driver side door was struck with a sledge hammer or shot with a 9-millimetre bullet.
Meanwhile, the internet’s mockery has been swift and merciless. On the popular locally-based Facebook group Windsor Car Spotters, posters gleefully shared memes comparing the Cybertruck to old video game graphics and the failed DMC DeLorean of the early 1980s.
“I think it’s not the best-looking vehicle,” Mastroianni admitted. “But I’d say it’s more polarizing than ugly.”