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Tesla's Electric Pick-Up: Fighting the Suburb Cowboys


Tesla's new electric flatbed truck is an attack on the core segment of the American car market. But the competition has a considerable lead.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has unveiled a futuristic-looking electric pick-up in Los Angeles, with which the company wants to push into the most important segment of American auto companies. However, other manufacturers have targeted the segment of electric pick-ups and make Tesla competition. For Elon Musk the offensive is therefore not self-sufficient.

Especially since the vehicle with the name "Cybertruck" violates all optical conventions. Its triangular shape is reminiscent of an angular stealth fighter jet rather than a classic pick-up. According to Tesla, the off-road vehicle should be able to transport more than 1.7 tonnes of weight on the loading area and in the top-of-the-range version it can reach speeds of 0 to 100 km / h in 2.9 seconds. In the top version of the electric pick-up to have a range of 800 kilometers.

Musk also gave a small swipe at the competition at the presentation in Los Angeles. In a video won the Cybertruck a tug of war against the current pick-up bestseller F-150 Ford. Also accelerated the pick-up in the video faster than a Porsche 911. From the end of 2022 Tesla wants to start production, the base price converted at around 36,000 euros. All bauble, or a serious challenge to traditional American pick-up manufacturers?

Video: Tesla presents the "Cybertruck"


Ringo HW Chiu / AP / DPA

"The fact that Tesla now brings a pick-up on the market, makes sense," says Andreas Radics of the strategy consulting Berylls. "Around 17 percent of new vehicles sold in the US are pick-ups and their share of sales continues to grow." The price differences, however, are enormous, ranging from $ 30,000 for clean implements to $ 100,000 for special models like the Ford Raptor, Radics said. This makes the flatbed trucks the core segment of the US car market, where the electric drive has potential despite the previously dominant large gasoline engines and the large and heavy batteries required for a pickup truck.

Many of the so-called trucks are used as towing vehicles for boat trailers, residential or sports trailers. "The enormous torque of the electric drive is ideal for this task," says consultant Andreas Radics. However, Musk must compete with competitors in the pick-ups, whose models will already be available when the Tesla hit the market, so strategy consultant Radics. Although the presentation of the Tesla pick-up was eagerly awaited in the run-up, the electric hype in this segment, however, the competition from.

Rivian and Bollinger arrive earlier

For example, the start-up Rivian presented its R1T electric flatbed about a year ago, which is scheduled to be launched in 2020. With a range of 650 kilometers, an acceleration from zero to 100 km / h in three seconds and cleverly conceived storage compartments, it can stand up to Tesla. And its design also differs from the pick-up mainstream, without sacrificing classic design elements of SUVs. He is likely to appeal to suburban cowboys who use their pick-up primarily as a recreational vehicle.

On the other hand, the competitor Bollinger chose a different route. Whose pick-up B2 is reminiscent of a classic Land Rover Defender - but rather in the dimensions of the giant SUV Hummer. Although its 120 kWh battery is only intended to provide a range of around 320 kilometers, Bollinger promises the "most powerful pick-up in the world".

Although the B2 can not follow the Cybertruck nor the Rivian in range and acceleration, but offers plenty of storage space. In addition to a payload of five tons, the loading area can be extended to a length of 2.44 meters, and the "front compartment" called "Frunk" holds 396 liters. This allowed unusually long and bulky loads to be transported through rough terrain. Production is scheduled to start in the coming year, and the first vehicles will be delivered in 2021.

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Photo gallery: Tesla's pick-up competition

"Rivian - Ford has invested $ 800 million in the brand - and Bollinger could succeed in creating and occupying a niche as it could hardly be American," says strategy consultant Radics. If Tesla's pick-up actually comes on the market at the announced price, then Musk could also succeed in dipping into this segment, so Radics. Despite the delay.

A problem could be for the Cybertruck however its design. "Tesla will have a hard time convincing the many conservative everyday users to switch to fancy design," says Radics. Here Rivian or Bollinger have an advantage.

According to analysts, the distribution of the electric pickup is also problematic. Because contrary to American buying habits Tesla sold the vehicles so far only over the InterNet. However, to convince traditional buyers in particular of the pick-up, you should have the opportunity to be able to test the vehicles at the dealer and get an impression of the performance, the market analysts say.

Tesla's advantage: charging infrastructure

However, Tesla has a decisive advantage over the competition: the charging infrastructure. Tesla's riders can drive around the country easily and without range anxiety thanks to the almost nationwide network of superchargers. In the future, this will also apply to the buyers of the pick-up. The competition can not offer that yet and has to cooperate with other charging station operators.

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Rivian R1T: A pickup like doped

Experts estimate that the electric pickup segment will remain a niche segment in the medium term. Nevertheless, my market observers say that Tesla could sell at least 10,000 copies of the pickup in the first year. Whether the electric pickup comes out of the niche in the coming years depends on whether Tesla, Rivian or Bollinger actually succeeds in reaching drivers of traditional American brands such as Ford, GMC or Ram.

However, the traditional manufacturers are already in the starting blocks. Ford also recently presented an electric version of its best-selling F-150. The media reports that 2021 come on the market.

Source: spiegel

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