For better or worse, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk isn’t like his peers in the automotive industry. This is something we all came to know when Tesla first released a battery-powered sports car based on the Lotus Elise chassis back in 2008. Now more than a decade on from that first model, Tesla is unquestionably a leading force in the electric vehicle segment. Regardless of this success, Elon doesn’t shy away from having a bit of fun in his role as CEO. In fact, Elon has just made his third appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, likely to the dismay of several Wall Street backers. While there wasn’t any blunt smoking going on this time around, the automotive executive did give listeners a few updates related to the Tesla Cybertruck and its design.
Following the clunky debut event for the Tesla Cybertruck, critics and fans alike have questioned whether or not the truck could actually come to market with its current design. Challenges exist with the stainless-steel bodywork, as well as the truck’s apparent lack of concern for pedestrian safety regulations. MC&T has reported on the fact that Tesla Motors was mulling over an updated design for the wannabe battle tank, though it appears these changes aren’t as significant as initially expected. During Elon’s most recent Joe Rogan Experience appearance, the CEO clarified what these changes will be.
“That’s pretty much what it [Cybertruck] will look like, with very small differences,” said Musk. “You know, we adjusted the size a few percent. Like around three percent or smaller. You don’t want it to be a couple of inches too big for the Boring tunnel.”
Musk would then follow up by recalling his experience taking the Tesla Cybertruck through the Boring tunnel with Jay Leno, noting that it was “hair-raising”. Oddly enough, Elon had previous noted on Twitter that a size reduction of three percent was off the table. Perhaps Jay Leno was able to talk a bit more sense into the executive following their short ride together.
Reviewed design with Franz last night. Even 3% smaller is too small. Will be pretty much this size. We’ll probably do a smaller, tight world truck at some point.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 23, 2020
The Tesla Motors CEO also gave fans an update relating to Cybertruck production, specifically when customers can expect their vehicles to arrive. He noted that the company will begin limited production on the Tesla Cybertruck by the end of the year, with higher volume coming sometime in 2022. Tesla’s website for the electric pickup claims that both the dual-motor and tri-motor offerings will enter production in late 2021, so it isn’t technically being deceitful. That said, we’ll have to wait and see what Elon Musk’s definition of limited production totals amounts to.
When that time comes, Musk and company will have decided on the total range they want the Tesla Cybertruck to have. According to his conversation with the UFC color commentator, the Cybertruck will at least have over 300 miles of estimated total range.
“We have to pick a range for the initial version,” said Musk. “It will be some number over 300 miles.”
Rogan then asked what factors determine the range. Elon mentioned that factors include everything from the size of the battery pack itself, the aerodynamic drag coefficient of the truck, and rolling resistance of the tires.
Musk also touched on the possibilities of a Tesla van. Of course it would be fully electric, and perhaps festooned with solar panels to help charge the batteries.
Earlier reports have exposed Tesla’s plans to make the Cybertruck a DOT Class 2b or Class 3 truck, which would omit the electric truck from needing to implement basic passive safety features like air bags, frontal pedestrian safety, and crumple zones. It would also not be subject to NHTSA crash testing, or EPA range testing. This, along with lack of paint, omits a lot of engineering and manufacturing costs from the Tesla Cybertruck.
This in turn would allow for Tesla to offer this rolling stainless steel polygon for the advertised price of $39,900 for the single motor version, to $69,900 for the tri-motor version.
We don’t need an economics degree to understand that the Tesla Cybertruck price a fraction of what the Rivian R1T and Hummer EV will cost. As for whether or not the unconventional pickup is a superior product, however, remains to bee seen.