Tesla’s controversial Cybertruck receives 200,000 preorders

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Tesla reveals Cybertruck
Image: Tesla, Inc.

Last Friday, Tesla unveiled its hotly-anticipated Cybertruck to a decidedly mixed reception. While some industry experts appreciated its remarkable specifications and price, others savaged its unconventional design. Nevertheless, the success or failure of a new product is determined by its sales performance, not reviews.

On November 23, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted his company’s latest vehicle had received 146,000 $100 preorders. That means the firm generated $20 million in revenue in two days. On November 24, Musk announced that Cybertruck presales had increased to 200,000. While the $100 deposits are refundable, it’s undeniable that the public has an interest in the carmaker’s retro-futuristic take on the light pickup.

Why So Many Consumers Preordered the Cybertruck

Although some commentators have called the Cybertruck’s design a liability, its bold angles and Spartan aesthetic are among its most appealing aspects.

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For instance, Tesla’s electric pickup features two engineering elements that set it apart from anything made by its competitors. Instead of the traditional dual headlamp design, the Cybertruck has a single light bar to provide forward illumination. Though the manufacturer might change that quirk to comply with U.S. law, it’s attracting buyers like moths right now.

Besides, the company engineered its truck without the traditional front crumple zone. Carmakers typically outfit their vehicles with the safety feature to absorb the impact of a head-on collision. While Tesla may have given the Cybertruck a new style crumple zone, its rigid steel exoskeleton might be its core crash protection feature.

Indeed, Musk showcased the vehicle’s toughness by assigning an employee to hit with a sledgehammer. After sustaining several direct hits, the automobile didn’t have a scratch on it.

Another Tesla engineering innovation that’s appealed to truck buyers is the vehicle’s range. While the standard edition Cybertruck can go 250 miles per charge, its more powerful iterations garnered greater consumer interest. The dual-motor version of the pickup has a 300-mile range and a 10,000-pound towing capacity. Moreover, its tri-motor variety boasts a 500-mile range—a new record for an electric vehicle—and can haul 14,000-pounds.

On Saturday, Musk tweeted 84 percent of the Cybertruck preorders came from buyers wanting the higher performance editions. Although Tesla’s aesthetic preferences are too bold for some, the new electric vehicle’s novelty and utility have resonated with a sizable audience.

A Very Cost-Effective Design

Elon Musk has been very open about patterning the Cybertruck after similar vehicles in “Blade Runner” and “The Spy Who Loved Me.” However, the electric pickup’s design also reflects an interest in lowering the manufacturer’s cost per unit.

College for Creative Studies in Detroit Professor Raphael Zammit told Wired that Tesla eliminated many aspects of traditional automotive assembly with the Cybertruck design. The expert noted the vehicle’s flat and straight form factor would allow the company to significantly reduce its tool and die costs.

Besides, Tesla fashioned its Cybertruck out of cold-worked stainless steel that is laser cut and folded into place. Consequently, the manufacturer has eschewed the expensive and space-eating stamping process utilized to manufacture most modern cars. As a result, the firm can assemble its new transports quicker and more affordably than its previous vehicles.

With 200,000 preorders received, it’s clear there is significant consumer interest in the Tesla Cybertruck. Provided the firm can convert that interest into sales, it’ll have no problem sustaining the profitability it’s recently achieved.