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Consider Tesla’s incredible all-electric product pipeline – a version of America’s current favorite, the crossover SUV; a top-down, wind-in-your-hair roadster that aims to be the “fastest production car ever;” a semi with a powertrain guaranteed for a million miles that hopes to disrupt the business of roadway freight by ditching diesel…and we haven’t even arrived at Elon Musk’s favorite project yet.
As of recent, Musk has been pumping the pickup truck. He continues to repeat that an upcoming hauler has him more excited than any of the products in the pipeline.
America is full of crew-cab pickups that do nothing more than haul kids through the suburbs, but there aren’t many contractors strapping lumber to the roof of a Model S or bolting a toolbox into a Model X. For consumers that truly need a truck for work, there are a few electric options on the horizon but they’re still years away. It’s fair to say that there’s a certain bucket of EV enthusiasts who are clamoring for an an all-electric replacement for their Silverado or F-150. And those folks gotta’ love Musk’s enthusiasm for the pickup.
Musk first sparked talk of a Tesla pickup in April 2017, saying such a vehicle could roll out of a Tesla factory in 18-24 months. In November 2017, Tesla even shared early sketches of what the pickup might look like at an event to unveil the Tesla Semi.
When Tesla unveiled the Semi, they also teased an image of a pickup that was hard to imagine being put into production. Musk said the pickup would be a smaller version of the Semi – “a pickup truck that can carry a pickup truck,” he said.
And, now Musk is fanning the flame of anticipation for a Tesla truck with comments in a new interview. Speaking on the Recode podcast, Musk said he wants the vehicle to be a “futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck.”
Musk previously took to Twitter for a brainstorming session with followers interested in discussing potential features for the pickup. None of them mentioned building a pickup that can carry a pickup, but they did have some interesting suggestions. Musk seemed to digitally endorse a few ideas, such as:
Musk spoke less about practical features on the podcast. Instead, he was all hype.
”I’m personally super-excited by this pickup truck. It’s something I’ve been wanting to make for a long time,” he said. “And I’ve been iterating sort of designs with Franz … It’s like I really wanted something that’s like super-futuristic cyberpunk. Which, if it doesn’t … if I’m weirdly like … 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. But it’s the thing that I am personally most fired up about. It’s gonna have a lot of titanium.”
Musk called the prototype that’s emerging “heart-stopping.”
“Well I can’t talk about the details, but it’s gonna be like a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, ‘Blade Runner’ pickup truck,” he gushed. “It’s gonna be awesome, it’s gonna be amazing. This will be heart-stopping. It stops my heart. It’s like, oh, it’s great.”
But, will everyone think it’s great? Musk seems cautious in making that claim and, frankly, doesn’t care if people like or not. The pickup seems to be a passion project for him at this time.
“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.
“I mean I do care, eventually, you know. Like sure, I care. We wanna get gasoline, diesel pickup trucks off the road.”
You can’t help but be curious about the thing Elon Musk is “most fired up about.” And there’s an additional level of intrigue when he admits that it may be so wild that people won’t buy it. It’s possible that the pickup may be another instance where Musk is applying the “hardcore smackdown” approach.
When Musk unveiled the 2020 Roadster and its specs – like 0-60 mph in a lighting-fast 1.9 seconds – he explained the motivation for the car: “The point of all this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.”
Driving a gas sports car will be like driving “a steam engine with a side of quiche,” he added.
Perhaps that’s the mission in marketing a Tesla pickup – seed the sentiment that a Silverado is too simple. An F-150 isn’t futuristic enough. A Ram is so lacking in “Blade Runner” panche that a real truck guy can no longer take it seriously.
Does you truck have rocket thrusters? Does your truck have a flamethrower? No? Well, you should have bought a Tesla.
Musk’s comments on the pickup were just a small slice of the interesting conversation he had with Recode’s Kara Swisher. Check out the full podcast here.