Elon Musk admits Tesla Cybertruck could flop — here’s why it won’t

Tesla Cybertruck
(Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla is many things, but it’s certainly not a failure. It’s the company that proved electric cars could be cool, and weren’t the sucky, horrible-looking electric vehicles automakers pumped out before.

But what about the almost-too-futuristic Tesla Cybertruck? Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is not known for keeping random thoughts to himself, has admitted that there is a chance that the electric truck could flop — but he doesn’t really care if it does. What are the odds of that actually happening though?

There’s no denying that the Cybertruck is a weird-looking car. The design is pretty unique, even among Teslas. It’s blocky, angular and the kind of car that wouldn’t be out of place in a PS1-era Cyberpunk game. And Musk admitted on Twitter that this may not work in the Cybertruck’s favor.

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I don’t agree that the Cybertruck looks like it was made by aliens from the future. In fact, it looks more like something that spawned in a fever dream Musk had after playing too much Deus Ex. But he’s right about one thing: it looks nothing like the other electric cars coming to market. And there are a lot of electric trucks on the way.

Competition will be fierce

The Cybertruck definitely has its work cut out for it. It’s one of many electric trucks on the way, including the likes of the GMC Hummer EV, the Ford F-150 Lighting, the Rivian R1T and more.

And those trucks all look like your typical idea of what a modern truck should be like. Musk says they all look the same, but there’s probably a reason for that. After all, America loves trucks. It’s proven that with the decades-long dominance of Ford’s F-Series, and the fact the top three best-selling cars of 2021 (so far) are all some kind of truck

It’s completely understandable why electric truck makers of the future would stick with the sort of design that has proven to work. Though it also gives the Cybertruck, which has more of a car-like vibe to it, a chance to stand out from the crowd. And standing out might be enough to peak interest for long enough for prospective buyers to see what the Cybertruck actually has to offer

Just as long as they avoid the video where Musk attempted to demonstrate how safe and indestructible the Cybertruck was, only for the window to be repeatedly smashed by a metal ball.

The Cybertruck has a lot more to offer than a weird look

Teslas have always been something of a fashion statement. It’s one of the reasons they wound up so popular, after all. Yes, the cars are practical, especially when it comes to a single charge range, but practicality only goes so far.

Tesla managed to make a name for itself by finally making electric cars desirable. Not only were the first Teslas able to give people the chance to skip the gas tank without making sacrifices to performance or the driving experience, they also looked good while doing it. More to the point, they had that level of luxury that you’d expect from a high-end car maker.

Tesla Cybertruck may have accessories that allow the rear bed to be used for all sorts of activities

(Image credit: Tesla Cybertruck)

They have their faults, and the company’s infamous delays are pretty frustrating, but buying a Tesla means you’re getting a good mix of everything. And the same is no doubt going to be the case with the Cybertruck.

Had the Cybertruck just been something like a Model X in a new skin, the odds of it being a flop would be much higher. It would have that novelty factor, sure, but people may well have been turned off by the design if it meant they could get the same thing in a more traditional-looking car.

But the Cybertruck is its own thing, with its own features. Sure it has a lot of the stuff you’d get on a Model 3 or Model S, like autopilot of Tesla’s own infotainment system, but it also has plenty of its own features as well.

The main point here is that it is a truck, with all the power and capabilities that affords. Even the cheapest single motor Cybertruck can tow up to 7,500 lbs of weight, only slightly less than the upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning’s 7,700 lbs. Meanwhile, the dual and tri motor Cybertrucks can tow 10,000 and 14,000 lbs respectively.

That’s not as much as some trucks out there, but it is still a lot. Especially when you consider that the trucks that can pull more than 14,000 lbs run on gas or diesel, rather than electricity. 

On top of that, the Cybertruck has a rear bed like any good truck, a ramp instead of your standard tailgate. and according to Elon Musk you will have the ability to add various outdoor accessories to the back. And it comes packing the same sort of range you’d expect from any other one of Tesla’s cars. 

That’s over 250 miles on the cheapest rear wheel drive model, but upwards of 500 miles on the tri-motor version of the truck. Assuming Musk doesn’t decide that anything over 400 miles is too much, as he claimed when announcing the cancelation of the Tesla Model S Plaid Plus.

Bottom line

While the design may not appeal to the people who prefer a more traditional truck aesthetic, the fact the Cybertruck is, in fact, a truck will appeal to truck owners who are thinking about going electric. On top of that, its power and range may also appeal to those electric car enthusiasts who want to get more out of their vehicles.

Will the truck flop? Obviously, we can’t say for sure right now, since the first Cybertruck models aren’t going to be available until later this year. The cheaper sub-$40,000 rear wheel drive model, which may prove to be popular thanks to its price alone, isn't expected until sometime next year.

But given Tesla’s track record, and the fact that the Cybertruck is still offering all those key Tesla features in truck form, it would be a huge shock if the Cybertruck sold poorly enough to be considered a flop. Weird design or not, it’s still a Tesla. As long as it does what Tesla promises, it should sell just fine.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.