Pretty much everything one can assume about the Tesla Cybertruck just from looking at it is close to the truth. Just with a quick glance, it’s believable that the truck’s competitors were not considered, no consumer research was done and the vehicle ended up being conceptualized because somebody—not naming names here—wanted a new toy. Well, it’s Tesla, so that’s actually what happened. But it appears even Elon Musk (whoops, I take that back) isn’t totally sold on the feasibility of his own idea. In an interview with Automotive News, Tesla’s CEO said that if the Cybertruck fails, the company may consider making a “regular truck.”
That makes a lot of sense to us here at The Drive. We—along with most other publications with an automotive bent—have known for a while that the Cybertruck is not road legal in its current form. There are various finicky regulatory issues as to why that is, but in plain sight, one will notice that the truck is without mirrors, windshield wipers and its wheels extend out beyond their arches, which isn’t exactly kosher.
Whether changing these features of the truck to make it road legal will upset its design enough for Musk to call it off completely is unlikely. However, he says Tesla will be ready to build a more conventional alternative if it turns out all of the supposed 200,000 reservations were just hype after all, saying, “…if it turns out nobody wants to buy a weird-looking truck, we’ll build a normal truck, no problem. There are lots of normal trucks out there that look pretty much the same; you can hardly tell the difference. And sure, we could just do some copycat truck; that’s easy. So that’s our fallback strategy.”
But perhaps it would’ve been better if Musk’s fallback strategy was the one he went with in the first place. In his own words, “We just made a car we thought was awesome and looks super weird. I just wanted to make a futuristic battle tank—something that looks like it could come out of Blade Runner or Aliens or something.” And as it turns out, making a super weird futuristic battle tank is not exactly the way to frighten your competitors.
In fact, Tesla has more or less opened the door to its rivals in this segment. The EV pickup arena is filled with businesses that Tesla could’ve outpriced and killed in one fell swoop, but it didn’t. Rivian, which Tesla recently sued, has garnered billions in investment from the likes of Ford and Amazon, and several other startups like Bollinger and Lordstown Motors are now sitting in seats Tesla could’ve reserved for itself.
But from where I’m sitting? Let me be honest, this all sounds… I don’t know, relieving? This guy has a multi-billion dollar company under his control, and it seems like he can make one stupid decision after another and nothing goes wrong. So if I was CEO of Tesla, I would just make uninformed decisions about my products, tweet all day, say cringe-worthy things to interviewers and investors, and my stock price would skyrocket. I think I could do this job! Maybe writing about cars is not my true calling. Can I see any investors in the comments section? I have some bad ideas to run by you guys.
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