Remember when Tesla seemed like a cool company with a good cause, and its founder Elon Musk felt like the rare billionaire who wanted to improve the world through something more than just charity? Wait, did that time ever exist? Am I misremembering things, or were some of us just horribly naive back then?
Last night Musk revealed the next vehicle in the Tesla line. It’s a silver pickup truck that looks like it was pulled right out of some late ‘90s low poly count racing game, and its name is seriously the Cybertruck. It’s bulletproof, dent-resistant, and has unbreakable windows and windshields, and to prove it a Tesla employer threw a metal ball at a window that immediately broke. It’s a nonsense car that looks more like a toy than a real vehicle, or like a prop from a cheap ‘80s sci-fi movie, and it probably doesn’t need to exist. Like the underground tunnel that serves no purpose, and the private satellites that are making it hard for astronomers to do their job, and the whole “smoking a joint on Joe Rogan’s podcast” thing, it’s the latest sign that Musk maybe isn’t as good of an idea man as some people used to think.
If you opened up this article expecting some kind of actual information about the Cybertruck, well, let’s get to it. The stainless steel six-seater is all-electric, of course, and production is expected to start by the end of 2021. It’ll have three basic models: single-motor with rear-wheel drive, dual-motor all-wheel drive, and a tri-motor all-wheel drive model. The single-motor will start at $39,900, while the tri-motor version will be $69,900; you can get a self-driving option on any model for an extra $7,000. That single-motor version should be able to go 250 miles on a charge, with a 300 mile range for the dual-motor and up to 500 miles for the tri-motor. The truck bed can hold 100 cubic feet, and will have a cover that makes the truck look even more like a Pinewood Derby project. And if you want to take your Tomorrowland dreams to the next level, you can also get the optional Cyberquad, an electric ATV only available with the Cybertruck.
Again, the idea of an all-electric truck isn’t bad. Tesla’s not the only manufacturer working on one—even Ford is cooking up an F-150 that runs without gasoline. The reason people are having a go at the Cybertruck today isn’t just because the window broke when they were demonstrating how unbreakable it is, though. It’s because of how fundamentally ridiculous almost every other aspect of the truck is, from its name to its design. It looks and sounds like a throwaway joke from Robocop, especially when you factor in its supposed bullet-proof and unbreakable nature. Setting aside the question of why somebody in the market for an all-electric truck would need it to be an impregnable mobile fortress—Vice’s Jordan Pearson has already done a fantastic job chewing on that angle—you still have to wonder who would ever want to drive a vehicle that looks like something you’d see in a movie in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode. I grew up in the ‘80s too, and although yeah, a little part of me is sometimes bummed that the future isn’t nearly as shiny or sleek or silver as movies and TV made us think it would be, no part of me would ever want to drop $50,000 (give or take) on a truck that looks like one of the new characters from The Transformers: The Movie.
You can preorder the Tesla Cybertruck over at Tesla’s site today. All it takes is a refundable $100 down payment and the overpowering desire to live on Cybertron.