Elon Musk has shed some light on how color options will work for the Tesla Cybertruck, the company's silvery all-electric pickup truck.
Answering a question about color options for the car, expected to hit roads late 2021, the Tesla CEO declared on Twitter Tuesday that "you will be able to wrap it [the Tesla Cybertruck] in any color or pattern." The response leaves some ambiguity around whether Tesla itself will offer a wrapping service, but fans on Twitter and Reddit are interpreting the comments as a sign that Tesla would leave it up to consumers to wrap it themselves. Inverse has reached out to Tesla for clarification.
It's the latest way in which Tesla's Cybertruck design is breaking the mold – both figuratively and literally. After the truck's unveiling in November 2019, Musk explained that the angular design o the truck comes from the fact that it's made of cold-rolled 30X steel. The material is so hard that it would break the stamping press if Tesla tried to shape it, meaning the truck follows an angular design out of necessity.
The latest post stands in contrast to comments Musk made in November 2019, when he responded to a request for a matte black Cybertruck with "sure."
With this latest post, it seems Musk was suggesting the user could fit a wrap if they wanted.
Musk's declaration likely means consumers will have to take a less conventional approach with Cybertruck color options. Wrapping is nothing new for Tesla fans: owners have used vinyl wraps to tweak their cars with colors or finishes not offered by Tesla. Want a matte black Model S, or a hot pink Model 3? It's all possible with wrapping.
Fans have already shared a series of concepts for how they want the truck to look. Red Cybertruck, perhaps?
Popular Mechanics explained in its 2013 hands-on how wrapping originally started as a means of displaying advertising on a car. The technology improved over the years, to the point where a factory laminate coating could help a vinyl wrap withstand a decade of use. The installation process involves cleaning the vehicle and ensuring the wrap material won't be contaminated in the process. Edmunds noted in 2018 that the price of a wrap can vary wildly depending on factors like materials, but it spent $3,700 to wrap a Tesla Model 3.
Days after the launch, device customization firm DBrand unveiled plans for Tesla Cybertruck skins. Although the firm is better known for its smartphone wraps, its announcement was recognized by fans as the first Cybertruck wrap to be formally announced. DBrand is offering skins and wraps for the hood ($299), bumper ($249), front and rear doors ($499 for each pair), side panels ($1,449), tailgate ($299) and the four prism windows ($1,499, but currently discounted to $749). That means in total it costs over $4,000 to customize the Cybertruck with DBrand wraps.
Unfortunately, perhaps the biggest repercussion of Musk's announcement is the Cybertruck won't be eligible for the company's new technology. On Tuesday, Musk wrote on Twitter that Giga Berlin, the company's under-construction factory, "will have world’s most advanced paint shop, with more layers of stunning colors that subtly change with curvature." This feature will be rolled out to Fremont and Shanghai over time.
The Inverse analysis
This could be a disappointment for fans used to conventional color options, but Tesla has shown multiple times that it's forging a new path with the Cybertruck's design choices.
A Tesla Model 3 comes with a pearl white multi-coat paint as standard. Solid black, midnight silver metallic and deep blue metallic cost $1,000 extra. Red multi-coat costs $2,000 extra. While the price of a wrap can vary, there's a good chance that Cybertruck buyers will be spending more to change the color of their car than other Tesla buyers.
But the color options are not the only ways Tesla is ditching conventions. This is a vehicle made of hardened steel, with hardened windows and a video game-like design, leading to something Musk has compared to vehicles from Blade Runner. Even down to its metallic color, it seems Tesla is communicating loud and clear that this is no ordinary vehicle.