The Tesla Cyertruck's bold design is set to change further, Elon Musk has revealed.
The Tesla CEO has previously described the all-electric truck, set to hit roads late 2021, as something of a "heart-stopping" passion project. But while the angular design turned heads when unveiled in November 2019, it seems Musk isn't quite done with making tweaks to a design he compared to something out of Blade Runner.
When asked on Twitter Thursday for any news about the Cybertruck, Musk gave a series of key tidbits:
Reduced size by ~3% [when compared to the November prototype], center line is more level & lower window sill height [...] We’re working on increasing dynamic air suspension travel for better off-roading. Needs to kick butt in Baja.
On Sunday, Musk further clarified that this size reduction will lead to a "maybe 1.5% change to interior dimensions," adding that it's "still very roomy."
It's the latest in a series of tweaks Musk has made to the company's upcoming vehicle. With a starting price of $39,900, the Cybertruck forms part of Tesla's three-part strategy to bring electric vehicles to more consumers, which also covers the Model 3 sedan and Model Y compact SUV. But while these latter two are more clearly aimed at a mass market, the Cybertruck design looks like practically nothing else on the road today.
The prototype model seemed huge, but it was relatively standard for a pickup truck. The specifications provided after the unveiling claimed it measured 79.8 inches wide, 75 inches tall and 231.7 inches long, with 16 inches of ground clearance at its maximum. By comparison, Edmunds lists the most popular 2020 Ford F-150 as having a width of 86.3 inches, a height of 78.5 inches and a length of 231.9 inches.
In the days following the announcement, Musk shed some more light on why the design is so strange. It features cold-rolled 30X steel, leading to a tough exterior resembling something close to an exoskeleton. The angles come from the fact that it's too strong for a machine to stamp. Musk added that "even bending it requires a deep score on inside of bend, which is how the prototype was made."
But as early as December 2019, Musk was suggesting that the eye-catching design was already undergoing some tweaks. On December 7 he wrote on Twitter that the company can "prob" reduce the width by an inch and the length by more than six inches "without losing on utility or esthetics." The minimum height would be below 75 inches "when air suspension set to low."
In February 2020, Musk revealed the design had changed since the reveal, describing it as "slightly better":
Btw, in some prior tweets I’d said production Cybertruck would be ~80” wide (vs ~84” body width at unveil). This is slightly too small. Will be closer to 82”, but come standard with upper laser blade lights.
A body width change from 84 inches to 82 inches is around 2.4 percent.
The Inverse analysis
Considering Musk's passion for the project, it's perhaps unsurprising that he's publicly tweaking the famed design. These changes when compared to the prototype design are nothing new, as evidenced by how the Model 3 changed shape in the year before it entered production. But Musk's public updates on these tweaks are emblematic of how the design has taken on new importance for the Cybertruck.
The Cybertruck has indeed made a big impact. Musk's trips around California driving the prototype have attracted widespread social media attention, and fans have even taken to creating their own versions at home. It has its drawbacks – fans will need to depend on wraps to change the color – but it's perhaps little surprise that analysts are finding surprisingly high recognition among the public for this yet-to-be-released car.