Tesla just wanted a weird truck, Elon Musk says

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The Cybertruck looks unlike anything available on the market. It has a sharp-edged, stainless-steel exterior and glass that’s billed as bulletproof, though two windows unexpectedly shattered when struck by a metal ball during an impromptu durability demo at the unveiling last fall.

Musk said Tesla purposely made the truck as different as possible and that he doesn’t feel any pressure for it to succeed.

“It can be a better sports car than a Porsche 911, a better truck than an F-150, and it’s armored and looks sort of kick-ass from the future. That was the goal, recognizing this could be a complete failure,” he said. “But I wasn’t super worried about that because if it turns out nobody wants to buy a weird-looking truck, we’ll build a normal truck, no problem. There’s lots of normal trucks out there that look pretty much the same; you can hardly tell the difference. And sure, we could just do some copycat truck; that’s easy. So that’s our fallback strategy.”

Musk has repeatedly taken jabs at Ford’s industry-leading F-Series pickups, at one point posting a video of the Cybertruck overpowering an F-150 in a tug-of-war stunt.

But the Cybertruck is expected to be classified as a medium-duty pickup, putting it more on par with Ford’s Super Duty or Chevrolet’s Silverado HD. Musk told Automotive News the Cybertruck would not be sold globally.

“We’re really, fundamentally making this truck as a North American ass-kicker, basically,” he said. “The goal is to kick the most amount of ass possible with this truck. We want it to be something you could use to tow a boat, a horse trailer, pull tree stumps out of the ground, go off-roading and you don’t have to worry about scratching the paint because there is no paint. You could just be smashing boulders and be fine.”

Musk said at least 200,000 customers have put down refundable $100 deposits for the Cybertruck since the company started taking them in November. But despite the competitive barbs thrown at Ford, he’s not necessarily seeking to steal market share from the established players by poaching their pickup customers.

“We’re not really trying to target anyone,” he said. “If they like the Cybertruck, cool. If they don’t, yeah. We’re not trying to play some marketing game. We’re just trying to create products that people will love.”

Still, he said the Cybertruck would be ideal on construction sites or for off-roading adventures. It will come with an on-board generator, a built-in air compressor and bulletproof body panels.

“So it’s probably helpful in the apocalypse,” he said. “Things are seeming more apocalyptic these days. Let me tell you, the truck you want in the apocalypse is the Cybertruck.”

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