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Tesla Cybertruck an all-electric pickup that looks like nothing else on the road
U.S. EV sales hit 1 million units for the first time this year and should account for about 8% of total new vehicle sales in 2023, a record high, according to Cox Automotive. Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3 are the top sellers in the U.S. Still, its sales in China, the world’s biggest auto market and the main source of Tesla profits, dipped about 18% in November, and industry experts are generally struggling to make a strong case for Cybertruck.
The large EV appears to be “decently engineered” but is “kneecapped by a ridiculous tophat,” said John Krafcik, Waymo’s former CEO who led Hyundai’s rapid North American expansion when he was the carmaker’s regional CEO. “Maybe one could squint their eyes and say it might make sense as a platform to demonstrate and launch new technologies?”
For example, Tesla’s new 4680 battery cell and fully electric steering system used on the truck could be used across its lineup, said Krafcik, a former Ford executive engineer and member of rival electric truckmaker Rivian’s board.
Likewise, “if Cybertruck helps them develop technologies and production practices that they then roll out on other future models, it may pay off,” said Olav Sorenson, professor of strategy and sociology at UCLA and faculty director of its Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
But the truck’s ability to withstand machine gun fire probably isn’t going to drum up a lot of sales.
“There’s no widespread consumer demand for a bullet-resistant exterior,” said Ed Kim, president of industry researcher AutoPacific. “The demonstration did seem to speak to Cybertruck’s target audience, which is likely to be impressed by such theatrics.”