Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk is no stranger to hype, and there’s no greater hype involving the electric car company right now than its promised pickup truck. It’s not just enthusiasts and skeptics who want proof of Musk’s plan. Wall Street is waiting, too.
Here’s what Trucks.com knows.
Musk has described the truck as “cyberpunk,” and during a recent “Ride the Lightning” podcast, Musk elaborated, saying the look of the truck is, “pretty sci-fi … It’s kind of like a ‘Blade Runner’ truck.”
“It’s not going to be for everyone,” Musk said. “When we unveil this thing, there’ll be some people who are like, ‘Oh, that doesn’t look like a truck; I don’t want to buy it.’ It’s like when they came out with automobiles, people were like, ‘Oh, I like a horse and carriage.’ Sure, OK, you can stick with your horse and carriage, but you’re going to get an automobile later. You just don’t know it.”
Responding to a tweet in January, Musk confirmed the truck’s large size, saying, “This will not be some a dainty little buttercup of a truck! Driver’s seat will be big enough to fit André the giant (love that guy).”
The Tesla truck will be an all-electric vehicle capable of generating an outstanding amount of torque. Musk has publicly stated that the vehicle will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and an adjustable height suspension. Earlier this year, he tweeted that the truck’s anticipated range will be 400 to 500 miles.
Musk has boasted that the forthcoming Tesla pickup will compete with the Ford F-150 and the Porsche 911. “It’ll be a better truck than an equivalent F-150 and a better sports car than a standard 911,” he said.
The CEO has said that the truck will have “incredible functionality from a load-carrying standpoint.” Last year, Musk posted on Twitter that it will be “a pickup truck that can carry a pickup truck.”
Musk has tweeted that the truck will have a 300,000-pound towing capacity, will parallel park itself and come equipped with 360-degree cameras and sonar technology.
Musk’s towing claim needs more details. Can the truck do this in everyday operation and still be able to cover a substantial range? No truck on the market comes close to towing 300,000 pounds. The Ford F-150 has a maximum towing capacity of 13,200 pounds. The Ford Super Duty tops out at 21,000 pounds. Chevrolet rates the 2020 Silverado HD as having a 35,500-pound maximum towing capacity, and the 2019 Ram 3500 has a 35,000-pound limit.
A recent stunt by Ford showcased an electric prototype of its F-150 towing over 1 million pounds.
During that “Ride the Lightning” podcast, Musk said that a Tesla pickup would need to be affordable. “I think it’s got to start at less than $50,000. It’s got to be like $49,000 starting price max, ideally less. It just can’t be unaffordable.”
The average starting price for a full-size pickup truck is around $30,000, which is about $20,000 less than Musk’s ideal starting price. But they typically sell for far more. The average transaction price of a full-size pickup is approximately $45,000, according to automotive research firm J.D. Power.
Musk’s proposed starting price is close to the average transaction price paid by consumers for new trucks, according to Automotive News.
Rivian’s R1T electric truck is expected to start around $69,000 when it goes on sale in late 2020. Ford has already announced plans for a hybrid and all-electric F-150 pickup model. Its hybrid truck will go on sale in 2020. Ford has not provided a timeline for the F-150 EV.
Automotive industry experts expect Tesla to debut a pickup truck concept later this year. Musk has teased a first look at the truck late this summer. But Tesla typically takes years from concept debut to production and sales of its new models. It frequently encounters development and production delays.
The Model 3 sedan, for example, debuted in 2016. The first Model 3s rolled off the line in small numbers 18 months later.