Electric vehicle pioneer Tesla has released its first entry into the pickup truck market: the Cybertruck, which the company says is now available for pre-order.
Trucks are, of course, the vehicle of choice for many NWT residents – but moving to an electric vehicle remains a tough proposition in a part of the world where infrastructure to support them barely exists.
So far, only one person is known to have operated a purely electric vehicle for a significant length of time in the NWT. The man in question, Hay River businessman James Locke, subsequently moved his two Teslas to Vancouver Island.
The territory’s highways lack charging stations for electric vehicles which means, despite the new Cybertruck’s posted range of at least 400 kilometres (for the most basic model, up to almost 1,000 km for top-of-the-range editions), there is a long way to go before most NWT residents are likely to view such vehicles as a practical option.
The basic version of the Cybertruck is said to retail for around $10,000 more than the cheapest Ford F-150 available, though is priced comparably to a relatively well-equipped F-150.
On Friday, viewers reacting to Tesla’s unveiling of the truck compared it to a form of DeLorean – the vehicle made famous by the Back to the Future movies.
The truck, it’s safe to say, looks nothing like anything else currently on the road. Investors had expressed some concern, ahead of the unveiling, that the vehicle’s design would be so unlike other trucks that prospective customers would be scared away.
There was no information immediately available regarding the Cybertruck’s ability to deal with consistent, extreme cold such as that most NWT vehicles endure.
Tesla instead focused on the truck’s “ultra-hard” stainless steel exterior and armoured glass, though a demonstration of that glass went awry during Friday’s launch. A steel ball hurled at the windows to show their strength left significant cracks in each.
“Room for improvement,” said Tesla boss Elon Musk as he stood in front of the damaged Cybertruck. “Weird reason it broke now. I don’t know why.”
The truck can “comfortably” fit six people, said Tesla, and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds – Musk drew comparisons to the performance of a Porsche. It has a 6.5-ft box and comes with up to 3,500 lb of payload capacity. Customers can choose between rear-wheel drive or two forms of all-wheel drive.
At the same time, Musk revealed a Tesla electric ATV which can fit inside the bed of the Cybertruck.
The vehicle is not set to move into production until late 2021, though there’s little likelihood the NWT will be significantly better-equipped to accommodate a Cybertruck by then.
For now, customers can pre-order one with a $150 deposit.