Can't wait for the Tesla Cyberquad, the automaker's upcoming electric, all-terrain vehicle? A team of enterprising YouTubers have built their own while they stand by for the real thing.
Rich Benoit and Steven Salowsky unveiled their DIY Cyberquad on a stream posted to their YouTube channel Sunday. To create their own ATV, the pair doctored a 2008 Yamaha Raptor 700 ATV, taking out the motor and replacing it with a Zero Motorcycles electric motor. Salowsky then designed a body exterior that better matched the angular design of the Tesla truck.
The project is an ambitious recreation of one of Tesla's more obscure vehicles. The Cyberquad was announced in November 2019, alongside the much larger $39,900 Cybertruck, its electric pickup-truck sibling. But details about the ATV were scarce, and the company has released little information since. Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that it's a two-person vehicle that will be first available as an optional extra with Cybertruck purchases. The firm hopes to launch the ATV at the same time as the truck, which is expected to hit roads in late 2021.
The DIY Cyberquad packs an impressive punch. It has a staggering top speed of 102 mph – and the potential to go even higher with a different combination of components, but the team wasn't willing to test it. As is, it does 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds with all-terrain tires, dropping to just 3.9 seconds with street tires.
To create their ATV, Benoit and Sawolsky bought a 2008 Yamaha Raptor 700 off Facebook Marketplace for $3,000, pulling out the engine and selling it for $600. They then bought an electric motorcycle off IAAI for a further $3,000. They also added a winch as a bonus feature. The pair encountered some hiccups along the way, including a dead battery that cost even more cash to replace, but after 300 hours of hard work, the DIY Cyberquad came to fruition.
After Tesla first announced the Cyberquad, reports suggested the vehicle bore a strong resemblance to the Raptor 700, but Yamaha has denied any deal between the two firms. But DIY creator Benoit noted during the stream that Tesla's Cyberquad motor looks a lot like the Zero Motorcycles motor they ended up using in the project.
Benoit and Salowsky told news site Electrek in an email that their ATV was meant to be much less ambitious... and then they decided to recreate Musk's Cyberquad:
"It started out as origami to create a sense of scale to the pieces, and then Rich had wired the bike up with its new zero motor powertrain and welded the new drive unit to the rear, and Steven restructured a new aluminum trestle frame onto the existing quad frame, and then formed and cut the new body."
It's not the first fan-led attempt to recreate the Cybertruck. A month after the truck's unveiling, an imitation truck was spotted driving along the streets of Moscow. And in March 2020, a team in Shanghai built a full-size Cybertruck lookalike, ready to take passengers onto the roads. Then, in July 2020, YouTuber Sean Callaghan shared a 3D-printed miniature model of the truck that Musk described as "cute."
While the Cyberquad has proven interesting to fans, competitors are less enthused. Companies speaking to Inverse in January this year questioned the design and utility of the vehicle versus machines from specialized firms.
The Inverse analysis – The Cybertruck is perhaps one of Tesla's most talked-about designs to date, but the companion Cyberquad remains more obscured. That could change closer to release, particularly if the firm decides to de-couple it from the Cybertruck and start offering it as a stand-alone vehicle for purchase. With the strong fan base around the truck and its accessories, it will be interesting to see what the community does with these vehicles once they launch.