Innovation

Fan-made Tesla Cybertruck has the style of Elon Musk’s EV but with no wait

This new vehicle looks out of this world.

Want to get your hands on the Tesla Cybertruck, but can't wait long enough? A team in China took matters into their own hands, building a do-it-yourself tribute to the company's uniquely-styled electric car. It's the latest in a series of do-it-yourself projects that show fan anticipation for the truck is reaching new highs.

The Shanghai-based team stuck mostly to the original car's design, except for two bumps on either side of the trunk that the presenter compares to "a man's deltoid muscle." Alongside the thicker front lights, the front bumper also adds an extra light. The team compares it to a Lamborghini design, with changes like an inverted trapezoid in front and carbon fiber covers around the front wheels. Besides these changes, it looks remarkably similar to the original.

YouTube user "JayInShanghai" shared a video Friday detailing the car's design, followed by an extra video Sunday exploring the comparisons with a sports car.

It's the latest in a series of fan-made projects focused around the Cybertruck, perhaps the most strikingly-designed electric car to ever come from Tesla. The vehicle, unveiled by CEO Elon Musk at a Los Angeles event in November 2019 with a starting price of $39,900, won't start shipping until late 2021. But its strange angular shape, which Musk claims is because its hard steel exterior makes shaping too difficult, has already attracted widespread attention.

Musk himself, who has a pre-release Cybertruck, has been enjoying this widespread interest. He's been spotted cruising the streets of California in the new vehicle, appearances that have made widespread headlines.

The Shanghai project is not the first do-it-yourself Cybertruck to arrive. Another project from YouTuber "DRHOBS" built a Cybertruck from cardboard and tape to avoid the wait.

A motorized version of the Cybertruck came from Hot Wheels. The toy Cybertruck comes in 1:10 scale and 1:64 scale sizes. The larger version retails for $400 and has a top speed of 25 mph, while the smaller version costs $20 and has a top speed of just seven mph.

Although it hasn't launched a product, Lego has also produced its own concept of a Cybertruck from the toy firm.

The Cybertruck's widespread popularity has been filtering into third-party analysis. The team at Loup Ventures, after interviewing pickup truck owners, revised its sales predictions based on the warm response. Once truck production reaches its peak in 2023, the team now expects the Cybertruck to account for 15 percent of total output rather than just five percent.

Tesla has been raking up pre-orders for the truck, which does have a low reservation deposit of just $100. A teacher produced by the Cybertruck Owners Club forum showed in February 2020 that the truck had already raked in over 535,000 reservations. By comparison, the Tesla Model 3 had 518,000 total reservations by the time production started in the summer of 2017.

The Shanghai project is unlikely to replace a real Cybertruck. But with the warm fan reactions and rising analyst expectations, the project is another sign that the bizarrely-shaped truck may prove a bigger hit than expected. Whether it can beat the Ford F-150, the biggest-selling vehicle in the United States, is another question.

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