Elon Musk is known for being fairly offbeat in his management style, but the Tesla CEO is positively laid-back about the possibility of the Tesla Cybertruck proving to be a failure. Unveiled in 2019, Telsa’s first pickup is one of a number of electric trucks on the calendar at this point, but there’s no denying that it’s still the more unusual to look at.
That polarizing aesthetic – part Blade Runner, part NASA Lunar rover – certainly prompted plenty of conversations back when Musk unveiled it, as did the list of specifications. The Cybertruck would start at $39,900, Musk promised, have at least 250 miles of range, tow up to 14,000 pounds, and feature a 6.5-foot bed with a power-retractable cover.
Since then, of course, we’ve seen various iterations of the Model 3, Model S, and other Tesla cars arrive, including the latest Plaid version of the most expensive EVs. The Cybertruck, though, is still a work-in-progress. Musing on Twitter, Musk proved surprisingly upfront about the chance that the electric pickup could prove too extreme for the segment.
“To be frank, there is always some chance that Cybertruck will flop, because it is so unlike anything else,” he conceded. “I don’t care. I love it so much even if others don’t. Other trucks look like copies of the same thing, but Cybertruck looks like it was made by aliens from the future.”
It’s not actually the first time Musk has taken a come-what-may attitude around Cybertruck sales success. In 2020, questioned about whether Tesla had a backup plan should his futuristic pickup stumble, the CEO suggested he would simply launch a much more mainstream design instead.
One of the big questions many have had since the 2019 reveal is just how much of the truck we saw unveiled can actually make it to production. With its plethora of sharp angles, there were concerns that safety regulators might say the Cybertruck was simply too aggressive in its styling for pedestrian or cyclist safety.
Asked on Twitter about how the design may have evolved, Musk insists that the changes are in fact minimal. “In end, we kept production design almost exactly same as show car,” he suggests. “Just some small tweaks here & there to make it slightly better. No door handles. Car recognizes you & opens door. Having all four wheels steer is amazing for nimble handling & tight turns!”
It wouldn’t be the first time that Tesla had launched something that left safety regulators scratching their heads. The “yoke” steering wheel in the new Model S and Model X, which pares back the traditional wheel to a Knight Rider-style control, seemingly took the NHTSA by surprise. The organization said it would be reaching out to Tesla for more information about potential safety issues around the new control back in January, but whatever the outcome there it hasn’t stopped the new Model S from shipping complete with the yoke.
Production of the Cybertruck is expected to begin in late 2021, at least according to Musk’s most recent suggestions. As with other Tesla new model launches, we’re expecting the more expensive configurations to be delivered first, with more affordable models following. It shouldn’t take long after that, though, before we see whether Musk really does need to worry about the Cybertruck’s reception or not.