Until last month, few people knew about Tesla’s new truck design. Now, everyone is researching the viral Cybertruck launch, curious to learn more about its features and services. Below, we will address Tesla’s Cybertruck for its controversial design, evaluate range and performance concerns, and discuss Tesla’s uniquely targeted marketing strategy.
Reinventing a Classic: The Cybertruck
Tesla distinguished itself with innovative design concepts. Offering rugged, edgy lines and refined, monoline headlights, this new six-passenger truck is entirely restructured. Although the Cybertruck offers single, dual, and tri-motor models catering to different performance needs, each model automatically includes the following features:
- Autopilot semi-self-driving technology
- Adaptive air suspension
- On-board power
- Compressed air
The Cybertruck Controversy
Given that the Cybertruck abandons tradition by reshaping the standard truck frame, there are bound to be concerns if the radical design will perform once produced for mass production. Competing with familiar American brands like Ford, Dodge/RAM and Chevrolet, Tesla’s gamble to change the status quo is stirring up conversation and concerns.
Redesigning an American Classic
Changing the traditional elements of a classic truck frame is bound to receive an influx of both positive and negative feedback. Elon Musk’s prototypes forego the recognizable groove-and-bend exoskeletal frame and instead utilize sharp, edgy lines. He wanted to go beyond the expectation of minor frame adjustments. He mentioned in the reveal that trucks have been “100 years of the same.” Will the public consider this an abandonment of the urban, American truck? Or will avid truck owners consider this a step in the right direction?
Range and Performance
When considering a truck purchase, buyers are looking for maximized towing performance that couldn’t be otherwise achieved by an SUV. Given that Tesla vehicles are electric, you need to consider the hauling capability in consideration of range. This brings about a lot of controversy amongst critics and potential buyers. The Tesla Cybertruck’s range on a single charge could last from 250 to 500 miles with a hauling performance ranging from 7,500-14,000 pounds, depending on which of the three models you purchase.
By looking at the first pre-order count alone, it appears that buyers are wanting higher performance models. Tesla CEO Elon Musk reported that only 17% of all pre-orders were the least expensive Single Motor option. The other 83% was almost equally divided between the Dual Motor and Tri Motor Cybertrucks.
Target Audience and Price Tag
A great selling point for Tesla’s Cybertruck is the price tag. As most of the 2020 new release truck models like the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F150 can carry a hefty MSRP, the three Tesla Cybertruck models offer a surprisingly low price, relative to peers. Despite the market value, the overall design of the truck with edgy and futuristic elements appeals to target a higher price range, giving mixed signals about the intended audience. However, this could potentially serve as a clever marketing plan to offer an affordable high-profile truck that appeals to multiple audiences.
Transmission & Load
After a promotion video from Tesla showed the Cybertruck winning a tug-of-war battle with a Ford F-150, Ford executives and industry experts pointed out the promotional video may not have been apples-to-apples. The F-150 may have been a 2-wheel drive variety with base level tires compared to an all-wheel-drive Cybertruck. This led to Ford challenging Tesla to an official F-150 versus Cybertruck tug-of-war challenge. Tesla accepted the challenged and the results of this challenge will be public in the coming months.
Regardless of the public relations debate, a serious concern remains the towing capabilities of the Cybertruck. How will the range of the Cybertruck be impacted by heavy duty towing? In today’s trucks build for heavy duty applications, the transmission is a center piece in transforming engine power into sufficient torque for heavy tonnage applications. Tesla has been relatively quiet on the design and capabilities of its transmission within the Cybertruck. Even if a fully charged Cybertruck performs well in a gimmicky tug-of-war battle, the jury is out on whether it could perform consistently across 10 or event 100 tug-of-war challenges with one charge compared to an internal combustion gas or diesel truck.
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