Home Cars & Bikes More details about Tesla’s Cybertruck emerge

More details about Tesla’s Cybertruck emerge

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At a recent event in Austin, Texas, Tesla’s Elon Musk handed a dozen Cybertrucks to the first customers. During the event and in the days following the gathering, more information about this attention-grabbing vehicle emerged.

Four years ago, when Tesla first revealed the Cybertruck, Musk wanted to prove how strong the truck’s body was. On stage, the steel doors withstood blows from a large hammer, but when Tesla’s designer, Franz von Holzhausen, lobbed a steel sphere at one of the truck’s side windows, the glass broke.

So, when Musk announced at the ceremony that the test will be repeated, the audience must have expected the Cybertruck to now have much stronger glass with the ability to withstand impact from the 2019 test’s steel orb.

Baseball-proof

This time, however, Von Holzhausen was armed with a different object. It was, of all things, a baseball. Twice he threw it at the Cybertruck’s window, which, this time, suffered no damage.

In an alternate universe, another Elon Musk was surely calling the baseball test “stupid” and “lame”.

Fortunately, for Tesla and the audience, the presentation was less lame from there on.

A video showed .45 ACP bullets fired at the car could not penetrate the steel body. For the windows to offer the same protection, the Cybertruck’s glass will have to use the same bullet-resistant glass offered by companies like SVI, that armoured this Benz V-Class.

Towing and pulling champion

Another video showed the Cybertruck outclassing rivals in a series of shoot-outs. This included a quarter-mile drag race between a Porsche 911 (we assume it was the base model) and the apex Cybertruck – the triple-motor Cyberbeast – towing another 911 on a trailer! The Cybertruck managed to beat the Porsche while towing an identical Porsche.

Other tests included pulling a monster sled weighing 20 tons, where the video showed the Cybertruck out-towing the following rivals: the Ford F-350 (diesel), the Ford F-150 Lightning EV, and the Rivian R1T EV. According to Tesla, the Cyberbeast can tow a trailer weighing over 5 tons.

The Cybertruck has a payload of 1 134 kg, matching the freight capacity of a single-cab 2023 Ford Ranger. The Tesla has plenty of other storage compartments too.

There’s a large frunk (front trunk) under its bonnet. This offers 200 litres of space (half the F150 Lightning’s) or seating for two – to be used when stationary. The bonnet is raised and lowered electrically. The tough roller shutter covering the load box also opens and shuts at the touch of a button.

Mine is bigger than yours

The Cybertruck seats five adults and its load box is two metres long. By way of comparison, a 2023 Ford Ranger double cab also seats five, but its bed is just 1.56m long. Both vehicles’ load beds are 1.2m wide.

The Cybertruck is bigger than South Africa’s double-cab bakkies. It is 5 682 mm long and 2 413 mm wide (side mirrors included). This makes it about 300 mm longer and 200 mm wider than a 2023 Ford Ranger double cab. At a height of 1 791 mm, the Cybertruck has a slightly lower profile than the Ranger.

The ground clearance of an off-road vehicle is important to prospective buyers. Tesla says the Cybertruck rides on air suspension, at a maximum height of 443 mm. This, in part, is made possible by its flat underbelly. Again, for context, the formidable Isuzu D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35 has 266 mm of clearance at the front and 290 mm at the rear.

Magic steering

Musk’s presentation also showcased the Cybertruck’s steer-by-wire system. With this design, there is no mechanical connection between the steering wheel (which Musk refers to as a “yoke”) and the wheels. Instead, the steering system uses digital input from the yoke, and actuators turn the front and rear wheels left or right. This endows the vehicle with four-wheel steering.

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In itself, this is not a new feature. However, the front and rear wheels can turn at acute angles, enabling the Tesla to perform tight maneuvres at low speed. At higher speeds, the wheels react less to turning of the yoke. During a test drive, motoring presenter Jason Cammisa concluded that drivers will easily adapt to the Cybertruck’s steering.

What else should you know, besides that it’s unlikely that Tesla will ever offer it for sale in South Africa?

From 12V to 48V

The Tesla Cybertruck requires a lot less copper wire than comparable cars and pickups, and for two reasons:

Firstly, it uses a 48-volt electrical architecture: The Cybertruck has a 48-volt design, in contrast to the majority of cars, which still run the old 12-volt system. The same amount of power may be delivered with thinner cables thanks to the higher voltage. Tesla states that as a result, the overall length of the wiring harness was halved and the amount of copper required was decreased by 77 percent.

Secondly, the Cybertruck makes use of Gigabit Ethernet Power + Data CAN Bus which is recently developed technology. This technique eliminates the need for separate wire harnesses for each function by combining power and data transfer on a single line.

Heavy metal

Less copper means less weight, but the Cyberbeast still weighs a hefty 3 104 kg, while the All-Wheel Drive version weighs 100 kg less. The only fully electric double cab available in South Africa, the 2023 Maxus T90 EV, weighs a surprisingly low 1 990 kg, while a 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor weighs 2 460 kg.

Although the hand-over event was a success, Tesla did receive criticism for production delays and price increases. The respective driving ranges of the Cybertrucks are also less than Tesla had promised in 2019. Tesla’s solution is a plug-and-play battery pack that customers can buy separately. Those who choose this optional extra must carry it in the load box as if it were cargo. This battery will add approximately 200 km to the vehicle’s range.

Deliveries of the Cybertruck will begin in earnest from next year.

Basic specs and prices

2024 Tesla Cybertruck ‘Cyberbeast’

Range: 515 km
Battery: 123 kWh
Power output: 630 kW (3 motors)
0-100 km/h: 2.7 seconds
Top speed: 209 km/h
Price: $99 900 (before tax credits)

2024 Tesla Cybertruck All-Wheel Drive

Range: 547 km
Battery: 123 kWh
Power output: 447 kW (2 motors)
0-100 km/h: 4.3 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Price $79 990 (before tax credits)

2025 Tesla Cybertruck Rear-Wheel Drive

Range: 402 km
0-100 km/h: 6.7 seconds
Top speed: 175 km/h
Price: $60 990 (before tax credits)
Other detail to be announced.

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