2024 Tesla Cybertruck First Look: Elon Musk's Unusual Pickup Finally Arrives

The automaker's first entry in the truck segment represents a new approach to designing electric vehicles.

2024 Tesla CybertruckTesla

QuickTakes:

After a long string of delays, the production version of the Tesla Cybertruck made its debut Nov. 30, 2023, at an event held near its Austin, Texas, operations center. The polarizing design hasn't changed since Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the truck as a concept in 2019, but the production model is quicker, more expensive, and has less estimated driving range than expected.

Interior of a 2024 Tesla CybertruckTesla

The Cybertruck Will Eventually Offer up to 845 Horsepower

Buyers have three trim levels known as rear-wheel-drive, all-wheel-drive, and Cyberbeast, respectively, to choose from. The rear-wheel-drive model offers a 6.5-second zero-to-60-mph time, up to an estimated 250 miles of driving range, and a 7,500-pound towing capacity. Its power output hasn't been released.

Adding a second electric motor for all-wheel drive results in a truck making 600 horsepower and lowers the 60-mph time to 4.1 seconds, increases range to 340 miles, and unlocks an 11,000-pound towing capacity.

Interior of a 2024 Tesla CybertruckTesla

If a 340-mile range isn't enough, Tesla offers an optional external range extender that Drew Baglino, the company's senior vice president of Powertrain and Energy, described on social media as "a toolbox-sized battery against the back of the cab in the bed."

That battery bumps driving range up to around 470 miles, which is less than the 500-mile figure Tesla announced in 2019. The range extender's price wasn't revealed at the pickup's debut. The trade-off is that the range extender takes up about a third of the truck bed. It's not clear if the range extender will be easily removable.

The aptly named Cyberbeast gets a third electric motor to put a manufacturer-estimated 845 horsepower under the driver's right foot. Reaching 60 mph from a stop takes 2.6 seconds, which is three-tenths of a second less than Tesla promised in 2019, while towing capacity remains pegged at 11,000 pounds.

Driving range checks in at up to 320 miles for the standard Cyberbeast and 440 miles for the model with the optional range extender.

2024 Tesla Cybertruck Tesla

Like every member of the Tesla lineup and a growing list of EVs built by other automakers, the Cybertruck can plug into the Supercharger network of charging stations. It's compatible with 250-kW fast-charging, and Tesla states that plugging the all-wheel-drive model into a Supercharger yields up to 136 miles of range in 15 minutes. The Cyberbeast adds up to 128 miles in the same amount of time.

Pickup buyers care more about practicality and off-road capacity than about supercar-like acceleration, and on paper the Cybertruck ticks both boxes as well. Tesla quotes a 2,500-pound payload, which falls well short of a V8-powered Ford F-150's 3,325 pounds but represents an improvement over the electric F-150 Lightning's 2,235 pounds, and every Cybertruck gets a height-adjustable air suspension system that provides up to 17 inches of ground clearance when the driver selects what's called Extract Mode.

2024 Tesla CybertruckTesla

The Cybertruck's Design Stays True to Musk's Original Intentions

Shaped like a pyramid, the crew-cab Cybertruck looks like nothing else on the market. It measures 223.7 inches long, 70.5 inches tall, and 86.6 inches wide, meaning it's longer, lower, and wider than the Rivian R1T. Tesla has made no mention of an extended bed or a shortened cab.

The electric drivetrain brings with it a massive amount of weight. Tesla hasn't released the rear-wheel-drive model's full specifications yet, but it notes the all-wheel-drive variant and the Cyberbeast weigh 6,603 pounds and 6,843 pounds, respectively. That's more than a base, four-wheel drive Ford F-250 Super Duty or about double a well-equipped Toyota RAV4.

2024 Tesla CybertruckTesla

Tesla argues there's more to the Cybertruck's exterior design than initially meets the eye. It made the flat, stainless-steel body panels dent-resistant, and it fitted shatter-proof glass capable of withstanding the impact of a baseball traveling at 70 mph. The brand also stresses its first entry into the truck segment feels right at home on construction sites, thanks in part to a composite bed that doesn't require a liner.

In another break from convention, the Cybertruck features steer-by-wire, meaning there's no mechanical connection between the steering column and the wheels. Instead, electric motors receive inputs from the wheel position to turn the vehicle.

While the Cybertruck's angular silhouette represents a clean break from the design language that characterizes Tesla's other models, the interior follows a familiar formula. There's no instrument cluster, and the flat dashboard is dominated by an 18.5-inch touchscreen that displays a new user interface.

This screen replaces most of the buttons and switches usually found in cars. The rear part of the center console houses a 9.4-inch touchscreen that lets rear-seat passengers enjoy their own entertainment.

People camping with a 2024 Tesla CybertruckTesla

The locking tonneau cover (which Tesla calls a Vault Bed Cover) turns the 6-foot-by-4-foot cargo box into a 67-cubic-feet trunk. Alternatively, the bed can literally become a bed with a two-person tent called Basecamp that's offered as an optional accessory.

The Cybertruck also features a small frunk as well as a locking storage compartment integrated into the space below the rear seats, and it's offered with 120- and 240-volt outlets capable of powering tools using the electricity stored in the battery pack.

2024 Tesla CybertruckTesla

Forget About a $39,990 Cybertruck

In 2019, Tesla announced the Cybertruck would carry a base price of $40,000 excluding incentives. Four years later, the starting price has increased significantly to $61,000 for the entry-level rear-wheel-drive model. Selecting the dual-motor all-wheel-drive model bumps that figure up to $80,000, while the range-topping Cyberbeast trim level starts at $100,000. Government incentives could bring those figures down for many buyers.

For context, the Rivian R1T starts at $73,000 with dual-motor all-wheel drive — two-wheel drive isn't available — and the standard battery pack that delivers up to 270 miles of driving range. The base Ford F-150 Lightning Pro costs about $53,000 with standard all-wheel drive and up to 240 miles of range, while the least expensive four-wheel-drive variant of the gasoline-powered F-150 carries a base price of $40,845.

Every version of the Cybertruck gets a four-year, 50,000-mile basic warranty plan. Tesla backs the battery and the drive unit with a second plan good for eight years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Tesla says it will start delivering the all-wheel drive and Cyberbeast trims by the end of 2024, though a more specific timeline hasn't been announced. Production of the rear-wheel-drive model will start in 2025.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication) and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American journalist and automotive historian based in France. He enjoys working on old cars and spending time outdoors seeking out his next project car.