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Tesla Cybertruck Promises Big Range and Towing Capacity with Sports Car Speed

Tesla's Elon Musk revealed the company's newest vehicle, the Cybertruck pickup, via webcast, and while the presentation was conducted in Musk's usual awkward style, the truck itself appears ready to work when it arrives as a 2022 model.

The reveal had the truck drive onto the stage at Tesla's California design studio and disgorge a group of guys looking like an industrial metal band; it turns out one of them was Tesla's chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, who presumably signed off on the Cybertruck's strange styling.

Musk said Cybertruck stands apart from current pickups for a cold-rolled stainless steel body made of the same material as the SpaceX Starship rocket. Instead of the body-on-frame construction favoured by most trucks, the Cybertruck is a stressed-skin design, similar to that of modern aircraft. Von Holzhausen demonstrated its strength by whacking the Cybertruck's front door with a sledgehammer, which didn't leave a mark. (The panels are apparently also bulletproof, though they didn't live-demo that characteristic.)

The windows are supposed to be shatterproof too, but they did indeed break when von Holzhausen swung his hammer at them, prompting Musk to mutter, "Not bad; there's room for improvement."

Theatrics aside, the Cybertruck sounds like it will be a formidable machine when it reaches the marketplace in about two years as a 2022 model. But there's a good chance Tesla won't be first to market with an electric pickup; EV startup Rivian hopes to begin selling its R1T pickup in 2020, having begun taking orders at the beginning of this year.

Musk didn't cite Cybertruck's horsepower and torque stats, but a screen behind him flashed a few key figures. A single-motor base model will do 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in 6.5 seconds, while two- and three-motor models will do the same in 4.5 and 2.9 seconds, respectively. One-, two-, and three-motor trucks will tow 7,500, 10,000 and 14,000 pounds (3,400, 4,535 and 6,350 kg), and all will boast a payload capacity of 3,500 lbs (1,585 kg).

There's apparently enough power to out-accelerate a Porsche 911 and sufficient traction to yank a Ford F-150 in a tug-of-war like the Ford wasn't even in gear; video of both feats was projected on the screen behind Musk's stage.

Tesla calls the Cybertruck's bed the "vault," which is protected by a retractable tonneau cover and accessed via a traditional-looking tailgate that hides a ramp, up which one of Musk's metal-band buddies drove an electric ATV that is apparently also in development at Tesla HQ.

The Cybertruck boasts 110- and 220-volt power outlets. The standard air suspension provides up to 16 inches of ground clearance, and owners will be able to use its compressor to power pneumatic tools. Musk's ATV-driving friend also demonstrated the in-bed charging port that can be used to charge said ATV.

Musk said Cybertruck pricing will start at USD$39,900 for the single-motor model, $49,900 for the dual-motor, and $69,900 for three-motor versions. Tesla is already taking orders with a $100 deposit, with production promised to begin in late 2021.