By Kevin Zhang
When Elon Musk and Tesla first unveiled the new Cybertruck, the internet was sent into a frenzy of memes. People compared the Cybertruck to doorsteps and other items, but those who paid more attention could notice another resemblance. The Cybertruck is clearly reminiscent of the DMC DeLorean.
The DMC DeLorean was made famous by its role as the time-traveling sports car in the movie Back to the Future. It features the same angled design and stainless steel structure as the Cybertruck. Although the DeLorean had the styling, it showed unsatisfactory performance. Production only lasted two years.
Like the DeLorean was four decades ago, the styling of the Cybertruck is completely polarizing. How well this new car will do on the market is also controversial. Elon Musk tweeted that just a few days after the unveiling, the Cybertruck has already received more than 200,000 reservations, which is quite a remarkable number.
The Cybertruck is Tesla’s attempt to enter the light-duty pickup truck industry, the most lucrative sector of the automobile market in the United States. The pickup truck sector of the automobile industry is vast, and Musk only needs 10% of the current prospective buyers to like his Cybertruck to make Tesla’s new debut a hit.
On the Recode Decode podcast last year, Musk admitted the truck might have a hard time finding a market. “You know, I actually don’t know if a lot of people will buy this pickup truck or not, but I don’t care,” he said. “If there’s only a small number of people that like that truck, I guess we’ll make a more conventional truck in the future.”
Elon Musk can use the edged design on the Cybertruck as a proof of concept, and to show the world that the use of an all-electric pickup truck can be viable. Even if the Cybertruck only gets a toehold and doesn’t gain mass market acceptance, Tesla can bring in a more conventionally-designed pickup truck to appease the traditional pickup truck buyer.
Tesla’s new Cybertruck will definitely get Tesla a spot in the light-duty pickup truck industry, but whether the Cybertruck can enter the mainstream market still remains unclear.