Not counting the excellent wrestling and MMA coverage that happens on Fanfyte, Fanbyte is ostensibly a pop-culture website with a heavy emphasis on video games and related ephemera. I therefore have no valid excuse for this post, and in publishing it I have tarnished the pages of our digital magazine with an excrement so acrid that I dare not even SEO this post. I don’t want the people searching for the subject of this article to find it — this is a private Hell for me and for you, because you were unlucky enough to be around the day after Elon Musk unveiled his electric car company’s new, truly awful pickup truck.
Musk would love for you to believe that his truck is an indestructible tank forged in the fires of Mount Doom; that it will end the build site supremacy of the Ford F250 or Ram 2500, and in doing so bring sustainable energy to the construction business, and indeed, the world. And when you look at this hideous thing, that’s an easy idea to swallow. It’s the world’s first brutalist truck, available in zero color options because it is one solid piece of stainless steel from stem to stern. It’s got big-ass wheels that look like they were jacked from Master Chief’s Warthog. There’s a sliding cover over the LED illuminated bed to protect my cargo from timefall as I rebuild the UCA. This thing looks like Commander Shepard is about to ramp it off 14 consecutive mountains. What can’t it do?
Well, let’s look at it in context. The cheapest version of Musk’s truck (or “Muck”) is $39,900 before TTL, with a range of 250 miles (unloaded), a 6.5-foot “vault” (read: bed), and rear-wheel drive. Musk claims that it can tow 7,500 pounds and carry 3,500 pounds, and while the Muck’s website doesn’t give specific horsepower or torque figures, it claims a zero-to-60 time of less than six and a half seconds.
This all sounds great in a vacuum, but when compared to other conventional trucks, it’s not much. Zero-to-60 time only matters for a truck if you’re a jackass and drive like one — what actually matters is torque, and while electric motors are legendarily torqueful, Elon has yet to elaborate on how his single-motor Muck compares to the competition in that regard.
For about the same money ($39,755, pre-TTL), you can get a 2020 Ford F-150 XL SuperCab with an eight foot bed, all-wheel drive, 11,500 pound towing capacity and 3,270 pound cargo capacity. Of course, the Ford runs on gas and not electricity, but when you own a truck because you have shit to do, that’s a good thing. Contractors bleed time, and when you’re going from Job Site A, to Home Depot, to Job Site B, back to Home Depot, back to Job Site A, and then to the fill yard for 3,000 pounds of gravel, those miles rack up quick. No contractor is going to want a truck that could cost them hours of work if they’re caught unawares by a low battery.
It’s the same reason that most audio recorders designed for work in the field still use AA batteries. When you’re actually out there doing things, you don’t have time to wait for your gear to recharge. And that’s the hidden truth of Musk’s wannabe Blade Runner set piece: the Cybertruck isn’t for people who have things to do. It’s for people who have boats.
A 250 mile range is fine when you know that you’re only going to the lake and back. It’s fine to prioritize seating (for six!) over bed size when the biggest thing you’ll ever put in the back is an ATV or some dirt-bikes. Rear-wheel drive is perfectly acceptable when your main concept of off-roading is the gravel drive between the main house and the stables. And sure, there are definitely more opulent luxury utility vehicles out there — the Land Rover Discovery and Mercedes G-Class immediately spring to mind — but those cars aren’t pretending to be something they’re not. They don’t borrow the ideals of the working class for the aesthetic pleasure of the privileged. Like a Tonka truck for a child, Musk’s new toy is proletariat tourism.