Tesla Cybertruck Skateboard Can Make Any Truck or SUV Configuration

Electric car makers like Tesla have all of the batteries, engines and electronics in a skateboard. They place the seats and cover on top. The Cybertruck will have up to 700-800 horsepower in its top model. The Cybertruck skateboard is a foot longer than a Ford F-150. Tesla can use the Cybertruck skateboard to make an electric version to match any existing SUV and large truck in the market. They can put three rows of seats and have storage space.

Winning in Price and Performance Competition

The Tesla Cybertruck will start at $39,000 which is 15% higher than the average of $34,000 for american new car (including SUV and Truck) sales. However, cost of ownership for electric cars is about 20% less than comparable combustion engine cars. They are cheaper to operate because they do not need gasoline and have far lower maintenance costs. Tesla cars also have retained about 10% more resale value than other cars.

Experian has an analysis of the US car market.

In three years, Tesla will have models competing in all premium and luxury categories and will be competitive in the mid-range when cost of ownership and resale value are factored.

Tesla is on track to continue to improve battery cost and performance by about 10% per year through 2030. Tesla is continuing to improve production efficiency and economies of scale.

Tesla continues to lead in assisted driving and will likely be a winner with self-driving.

51 thoughts on “Tesla Cybertruck Skateboard Can Make Any Truck or SUV Configuration”

  1. Electric cars aren’t perfect either. There are environmental costs associated with the batteries. If they use lighter materials to get better range, it takes more energy to make those (which is currently associated with more carbon emissions, though that may be offset by the better “fuel” economy). There’s pollution from mining the various raw materials.

    Moral high horses aside, good environmental practices are a moving target. We’re still very far from perfectly clean, perfectly sustainable methods across the board.

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  2. The development money for the model may be all spent, but the development money for the production line probably isn’t. They’re not going to capture any market share if they have build quality issues. Those take time to iron out, which is better done at lower volumes and lower production line investment.

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  3. Don’t confuse rounded edges with good aerodynamics. The CyberTruck is shaped like a low-poly tear, which is pretty close to optimal shape. Sure, it’s not a ferrari, but by comparison, traditional pickup trucks have the aerodynamics of a brick.

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  4. I assumed this was a misspelled “alien dreadnaught”. With Dreadnaught being a type of large and powerful battleship.

    CT? I’ve got no idea.

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  5. Well they could be:

    • Protesting wind because it chops up birds and changes wind patterns
    • Protesting solar because it dazzles birds and changes the albedo and hence microclimates of the land
    • Protesting all forms of electricity because it is traumatic to electrons (no, seriously, don’t make me look up the reference for this it’s too painful)
    • Objecting to organic farming because it uses more land area.
    • Objecting to vegetarian diets because farming crops kill more animals than grazing cattle does

    They’ll think of something.

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  6. There’s another market the Cybertruck could dominate: police vehicles. It’s body is bullet resistant to 9 mm ammo as standard, which puts it a leg up over police cars with armor only in the front doors. Also given its highly geometric shape applying additional armor might be easier than with other vehicles, and that’s if the body can’t just be built to an arbitrary thickness. It has a ton of spare capacity which can go to more bullet resistance and equipment.

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  7. Forgive my ignorance but what does “CT” stand for in this context.
    The explanation to “Allen dreadnought” I could find refers to a guitar.

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  8. I think you have to be more specific and not just talk about general rules of thumb. Is it a good strategy to capture market share now for Tesla, or is it better to play it safe? Or even more specifically, is it better to slow ramp the tesla semi or is it better to go full throttle?

    Personally, I don’t see much advantage in coming out with smaller volumes of the Tesla semi. The development money for the model is all spent, and now they should try to recuperate that money as quickly as possible.

    And, I don’t think it is any deliberate strategy behind the so-so ramping speed, but rather being cell starved. We know that Panasonic is not willing to ramp up the production at the current prices, indeed they would like to raise the cell price. Hopefully, having more suppliers will rectify this problem and making their own batteries will increase their production capacity (and lower cell price) even further.

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  9. I am willing to bet quite a lot that when all new cars are electric, the greenies will turn against them. How else would they find a moral purpose of their lives?

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  10. SUVs are popular in Germany and have largely replaced Sedans and most Kombis (large family cars). They’re almost exclusively ‘city SUVs’, though. Cars like large SUVs, muscle cars (mostly Mustangs), Land Rovers, G model and Wranglers are bought only by a few rather eccentric customers.
    Panameras are among the rather few large SUVs that sell well here.

    That being said, I suppose the ‘cybertruck’ with its visibly poor aerodynamics would fare rather poorly in Germany, as users of expensive cars expect to regularly drive at 140+ kph on the Autobahn. The ‘cybertruck’ is going to empty its batteries real quick at that speed. You can also expect future subsidies for EVs to exclude heavy EVs.
    VW is started quantity production of its ID.3 EV, with well over 300k production per year planned. The German government will favour such designs in its future market interventions rather than Tesla supercar-ish acceleration EVs that weigh a lot.

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  11. The “skateboard” is the modern version of the ladder frame. But most modern car makers have a couple of “floorpans” on which they put a variety of bodies e.g. a sedan, coupe, station wagon and a mpv. So using the skateboard for a variety of body configurations is not anything revolutionary.

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  12. If they can whack 53″ inches off it’s wheelbase and pull the bumper in and give the suspension 12″ of wheel travel then I’d say yes they can build anything with it because that’s what they need to do to build something that’s good off road.

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  13. I’ve seen more than one company stuff up by pouring resources into setting up for high levels of mass production whereas they would have been much better off assuming that they’ll be making and selling much more modest numbers.
    Indeed I’ve been working for a company that went bankrupt for that very reason. Tooling up for a production run of millions whereas more modest ambitions (and more modest tooling expenses) would have been a much safer option.

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  14. I’d have guessed that greenie protestors would NOT be objecting to electric vehicles.

    Though I guess that’s assuming they are logical and rational, so I may be mistaken.

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  15. Brilliant… Tesla’s “Skate Board” business may be an untapped market worth considering. Think about it… Most established car makers each have a century of experience in the carraige body industry, but all are lagging behind Tesla in electric automobile expertise self-piloting, and battery technology. Tesla can build and supply integral electric self piloting under carraiges to established automakers and all they have to do is bolt on their arrays of body designs on to them. This would reduce the R&D and Startup capital required for car maker to bring reliable E-drive trains to market. It would also significantly reduce the risks of failed systems and recalls, and it would also do away with the need to build battery manufacturing plants since Tesla already has all this taken care of. Tesla meanwhile can also benefit from such partnerships gleaning tedious expertise for thier own body design, manufacturing and assembly processes that established automakers have already perfected.

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  16. The environmental protesters and the general consumers are not the same people. Hopefully, the small minority of extremist greens will not manage to destroy this area of life as well.

    I.e. if these people don’t affect the laws, supply and demand will have its natural course and the best products will win the day and trucks will increase.

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  17. You must have missed the people protesting in Germany a few weeks back. It was squarely aimed at large vehicles like SUVs and trucks. The Germans don’t want to repeat our mistakes and go down the same path.

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  18. Oddly enough, they were showing this type of design at Disney World in ’03. It was fuel cell, not battery – but fuel cells haven’t exactly come as far as expected…

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  19. The best way to get more market share is to build better smarter constructed products. Rushing stuff into production is shortsighted. Tesla has has some quality issues at the pace they are going…especially at the beginning of each launch. Accelerating that could be a disaster.
    Whatever kind of vehicle, there will be competitors. It is not 2008 anymore. Better to insure you have a compelling vehicle.

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  20. This would be it! A big box on electric wheels to move those packages about town. Maybe battery swaps would need to be a thing. Europe would like it, not many pickup trucks around here.

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  21. It’s not a question if Tesla will increase their production, but if they will increase it fast enough. A fast ramp could make them the number one vehicles manufacturer, a slow ramp may allow the legacy manufacturer to come out with competing products. In one case Tesla maxes out at 1 million vehicles and in the second it maxes out at 10 million. Big difference.

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  22. Yes, the body of the cybertruck is brilliant, but we are talking about a vehicle that will be produced in about 2 years time. I’ve read that freemont is maxed out at about 400k per year. Shanghai will be able to deliver about 150k. So, for 2020 we are looking at max of 550k by this count. So how will they manage to get to 1 million by 2020? If they were building more production lines, I would read about it, right?

    Also, I’ve read that Tesla is cell starved to the point that they cannot build all the mega packs and power walls that they could be selling if they were not. Furthermore, Elon has stated that he wants to prioritize lower capacity cars so that they can produce more of the future taxi fleet. Again, this is a strong indication of being cell starved and doesn’t fit with a rapid production expansion.

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  23. First off, pick-ups are increasing in Europe, at least on an anecdotal level (I see more an more pick-ups), but then we are talking mostly about the cheap toyota hilux and the like. Second, it’s a chicken and egg question. Pick-ups are expensive, so europeans don’t buy them. And since the europeans don’t buy them, they are not produced in europe. Hence they are expensive and europeans don’t buy them. And so on…

    About the size. Yes, the cybertruck is about 1 m longer than our current car, but only 15 cm wider. Of course we could fit it in, and the extra attention required when parking would be small prize to pay for the extra space.

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  24. In a tweet, Musk confirmed that in the long run, it will make sense to produce a smaller cybertruck. What exactly that means is unclear, but for the hopefuls (myself included), I thought I’d share.

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  25. American pickups are too wide/high for easy use in metropolitan Australia. And I would hesitate to use an Australian vehicle in what I saw of France and Spain.

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  26. It is not just Tesla. Musk related content gets a very high proportion of the content on this site. Is Brian really Elon’s mom?

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  27. I think CT is an answer to this issue of scaling manufacturing faster. It’s designed for another go at the “Allen dreadnought”. CT doesn’t require any of the manufacturing complexity and cost of current sheet metal skin over body in white frame. It can be built with robots cutting and scoring flat sheets of stainless steel that other robots fold into the complete body like steel origami. It’s possible Tesla can scale CT type production up surprisingly fast. It’s designed to be built by a different sort of factory than anything now on the road.

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  28. EU usually don’t like American pickups. They tend to be big and less secure/weather resistant than Europeans prefer. But with the powered cover it has, maybe it would be a hit there. I think no one expected they would like it. Might be too wide for some of the countries as well.

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  29. It’s a pity that Tesla is not planning on making the cybertruck at the European gigafactory. With customs and taxes a cybertruck is at least 50% more expensive in Europe compared top the US. The same is and will be true for any Tesla imported from the USA…

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  30. Teslas problem is that they cannot ramp the production as fast as the demand grows.

    Take for example the Tesla semi. The global market is several millions per year, but Tesla is only aiming for 100k per year. And nobody knows how fast they will get there.

    The Shanghai factory is only dimensions for 150k model 3 and y.

    Unless Tesla builds new production lines in Fremont now, I don’t see how they can even reach 800k this year, let alone millions of units per year in just a couple of years

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  31. Maybe Brian has something that can confirm there is a CT skateboard as this article describes. I think that would be cool because it suggests the advantages of plug and play skateboards are kept with CT and other models based on it. For example it suggests a CT tech Tesla Semi is very doable on the Semi skate. On the CT pickup skateboard Tesla could produce the AV people pod 16 passenger bus for Loop tunnels.

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  32. They definitely have the batteries in the bottom, and the motors, the rest who can say. That is not a picture of it. The Cybertruck is larger and has much more clearance. And I would think that with a unibody you can’t just plop anything on top. It is using the top as support. I suspect the Cybertruck is not a skateboard design exactly. Tesla is an innovative company and would not yield to any arbitrary constraint.
    They could make a large SUV or a van using the same techniques retaining a lot, but I think it will be more involved than just another top.

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  33. Is there a CyberTruck Skateboard? Any links? I hadn’t seen any confirmation of that and the body is a structural exoskeleton made by scoring and folding stainless steel that a lot of commentary refers to as a unibody. Has Tesla released anything about the CyberTruck skateboard?

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