At the end of the Cybertruck launch, Telsa announced Cybertruck’s final feature as sort of an Apple-like “one more thing”. Out of the flashing lights and special effects, a rather angular looking quad bike rolled out onto the stage, driven by a Tesla employee in a helmet and biking gear.
With cheers and excitement from the crowd, he went over to the rear of the Cybertruck and pressed a button on the left-hand side, causing the steel cover to retract off the bed. After that, he folded down the tailgate, revealing a ramp which was hidden inside it. The ramp then extended to reveal a platform for the Cyberquad driver to drive up.
Once he had firmly seated the quad bike on the truck bed, he brought out a cable and plugged Cyberquad into Cybertruck. This demonstrated that the combination was perfect for truck owners as they could also drive their fully charged ATV around at their destination. Furthermore, seeing a quad bike on the back of the Cybertruck looked like something out of a sci-fi movie, something that Musk intended.
Cybertruck’s Unique Air Suspension
What was most interesting about the ending there was Tesla’s method of getting the quad onto the truck bed. Firstly, the ramp which is built into the tailgate seems to be fairly exclusive to the Cybertruck. Although the Ford F150 has a stowable tailgate ramp option, it’s nowhere near as neat or sturdy looking as Teslas.
Additionally, since the ramps in the Cybertruck are built into the tailgate, the tailgate is designed to bend more than 90 degrees so that it forms part of the ramp. The ramp appears to be formed of two parts, each of which can bend independently.
When I was watching the reveal, one of the main things that interested me was the angle that the Cybertruck made to the ground when the Cyberquad was being rolled onto it.
One of the main advantages of the Cybertruck is its enormous ground clearance of up to 16 inches (40cm) with the suspension fully raised. This is without any further modifications. By contrast, the Ford F150 has a maximum ground clearance of 11.5 inches (30cm).
As you can imagine, it can be quite difficult to have a ramp which fits inside a tailgate raise a Cyberquad to 40cm without an unreasonably steep ramp gradient. Consequently, the air suspension can be used to alter the height of this.
Altering the height of air suspension is not unique to Tesla. In fact, the majority of vehicles with air suspension allow you to do this. For example, the Volvo XC90 with the air suspension upgrade allows you to go into an offroad mode. This raises the ride height by an inch or two.
However, in the Cybertruck, Tesla took this a step further. When the driver of the Cyberquad went to load it onto the truck, the truck’s suspension seemed to adjust to form a ramp. Its front end was raised high and the rear end was almost flat on the wheels. So, not only is the rear end lower, but it also helps to reduce the ramp angle.
Cyberquad Details Emerge
After the event, we were shrouded in mystery as to any details of the Cyberquad. Would it be an accessory which comes with the truck or could it be purchased separately? What are its specs? How much will it cost? Can it compare to fuel-powered ATVs?
Thankfully, Musk has been on twitter once again, replying to people and giving them information. Based on the tweet above, Tesla is planning on selling its all-electric quad bike as an option on top of Cybertruck, at least at first. So, unless someone buys the truck and resells the Cyberquad, you won’t be able to buy the quad separately.
Cyberquad, by the way, is a term which has been created by the Tesla community, not by Tesla or Musk. Despite that, I presume that once Musk catches word of it being called Cyberquad, he will do so too.
We also now know that this quad bike will be capable of carrying two people. Hence, the quad bike must be reasonably large and heavy. It’s possible that the two-person carrying capacity was done in order to increase the footprint of the vehicle so that it could house a larger battery.
Interestingly, in the tweet, Musk did specify that the quad would be an option with the truck ‘at first’. Presumably, the quad will act as an incentive to encourage people to buy the Cybertruck. Before we move on, I’ll leave you with a thought. Imagine driving down the road in this thing with a Cyberquad on the back!
Cybertruck Orders Soar
Before Musk unveiled the Cybertruck, he pitched it as a futuristic vehicle which would not be for everyone. Although most people didn’t like it initially, it seems to have grown on many people, prompting them to place a pre-order deposit of $100 to secure their place.
Within the first four days, over 200 000 people had ordered Cybertruck. Two days later, Musk reiterated that to 250 000 orders. Now, it’s possible that that order amount is getting close to 300 000.
Now, bear in mind that this was done with no advertising or paid endorsements, just sheer public hype and excitement. This seems like an enormous success for Musk and the Cybertruck, right?
Well, although it’s a great figure for Elon Musk to generate further hype on, it may not be quite as good as it seems.
In the past, Telsa’s vehicle rollouts have been slow and littered with problems. After learning from the troubles of the Model 3, it is likely that they will do the Model Y and the Pickup much more efficiently. However, as with any car, it takes a large amount of time to produce them in mass, especially since Tesla starts deliveries as soon as they produce the first batch of vehicles.
Hence, customers who order their vehicles first are rewarded by receiving their car first, sort of like a first come first serve system. Generally, Tesla allows you to make a deposit to order to the car after its launch, this is usually in the thousands, prompting only serious buyers to order it.
For the Cybertruck, it was $100 and on top of that, fully refundable at any time. For that reason, anyone even remotely considering the truck might as well order it so that if they do decide to take delivery, they will be able to get it in 2021/2022. In the meantime, if they decide that they don’t want the Cybetruck closer to its delivery date, they can always cancel their purchase and get their $100 back.
This is a clever move from Telsa, allowing them to generate hype and earn a nice $30 million in upfront cash.
Cybertruck will have a Solar Option
I’ve talked briefly about solar electric cars where the solar panels are built into the roof. Projects like Lightyear One aim to solve the charging problem with solar.
We’ve already heard about the Cybertruck’s bed cover. Yeah, the one Musk said could withstand someone standing on it. Recently, that bed cover has got even cooler. Not only is it able to fold away without you knowing, but it can also contain a solar panel.
Apparently, having a solar panel attached to the roof would allow the truck to generate an additional 15 miles per day. Presumably, this estimate is based on current solar technology and solar seems to be getting better all the time.
In the tweet, Musk briefly mentioned the prospect of fold-out solar wings. These make a lot of sense. When the truck is stationary, e.g. parked whilst you ride your cyberquad, or parked on a campsite, it can be generating energy which can go back into the battery. Musk would like the truck to be self-sufficient, something that would be completely possible with a couple of years of solar advancements and a sunny area.
Once again, we’re at the end of another Telsa weekly. This one was more of a much-needed Cybertruck follow up. No doubt, next weeks instalment will feature more Cybertruck news.