Simone Giertz, a popular YouTuber, says she’s tired of waiting for Tesla’s upcoming pickup truck, a cyberpunk-esque design that Elon Musk has indicated will be unveiled formally this summer. So instead of waiting, she decided to build her own, retrofitting a Tesla Model 3 with a truck bed while preserving the overall design. Giertz published a fake ad for her Tesla pickup truck, as well as a detailed video about how she made it, on Tuesday.
“It’s the dawn of a new beginning,” says the narrator of the cheeky ad. “If the thing you want doesn’t exist yet, you step up and make your own.”
The project was especially ambitious for Giertz, who is primarily known for her self-described “shitty robots,” like this pair of giant scissors. The project was over a year in the making, she says in the 30-minute mini-documentary about making the pickup truck. Giertz enlisted two other creators, including one who specializes in modifying Teslas, named Rich Rebuilds, and German designer and artist Laura Kampf.
You can watch the full video on YouTube, embedded below.
How Giertz Modified a Model 3 Into a Pickup Truck
Somewhat surprisingly, the team achieved their modification using a Model 3, Tesla’s cheaper mass-market car, as opposed to a Model S. The reason, Giertz explains in the video, is that the Model S has the steel chassis instead of the aluminum ones used on the Model S. Giertz also notes that buying an entirely new Model 3 and using the chassis was cheaper than trying to find a used one.
The actual modifications were pretty comprehensive. As you can see in the video, the team had to remove close to half of the car’s roof and completely take apart the interior in order to make room for a truck bed.
This required cutting through some parts that were essential to the Model 3’s actual structure, meaning that dozens of individual internal parts needed to be replaced or rebuilt in order to prevent the car from folding in on itself. Somewhat ironically, the construction of the new pickup truck was completed using the bed and some internal parts from a Ford F150, the iconic pickup model Musk has repeatedly evoked in interviews.
Also ironically, as she gears up to shoot the fake commercial featuring the ad, Giertz notices that some of her modifications wound up improving the Model 3’s driving experience. Specifically, hacking off the back and replacing it with a truck bed did away with some of the Model 3’s blind spots, making it easier for her to see around.
The “Truckla,” as Giertz affectionately dubs it, is still a work in progress. While she notes that “it’s completely drivable,” it’s still a long way from perfect. It’s not waterproof yet, for example, and there’s not really much of an interior. Giertz also says she wants to do a new paint job, improve the wiring, and add pickup functionality. She concludes the video by calling on California-area mechanics who are interested in collaborating further.
Some Tesla fans may want to take her up on it. While the pickup truck is nearly ready to be unveiled, according to Musk’s most recent teases, it’s still likely a long way from launch. Adding new vehicle lines, Musk indicated at a recent shareholder meeting, will require ramping up Tesla’s battery capacity. It’s not yet clear how long that could take, and even an early estimate for when you could actually drive a Tesla pickup truck fall some time in late 2020.