The closest thing to a Tesla dual-cab ute is (finally) hitting public roads after a long and protracted development journey. We're talking, of course, about Tesla's opinion-dividing new Cybertruck.
The all-electric, stainless steel Cybertruck, which starts from US$49,890 in the USA (A$76,000), is currently taking the internet by storm. Not only because it looks like a mix of Ford F-150 and modern kitchen fridge, but because of its 4990kg claimed towing capacity, 547km of range and blistering 2.7-second 0-100km/h time, yet another bold Tesla claim. The all-wheel-drive, dual-motor Cybertruck also makes big boasts about its off-roading ability, and on-paper at least, this is a ute that seems to blow all other utes away.
But while the first Americans take delivery of their radically styled new pick-up, a question on many lips remains: will the Cybertruck be sold in Australia? It is featured, after all, on the Tesla Australia website.
The short answer is that despite that, no, the Tesla Cybertruck won't be sold in Australia. Not for a while, anyway.
Tesla doesn't need to worry about Australia, or any other right-hand-drive markets like Japan, South Africa or the UK, because it's facing enough trouble fulfilling orders for its all-important left-hand-drive markets.
According to one source, Tesla has more than two million standing reservations for its Cybertruck. “Demand is so far off the hook, you can't even see the hook,”
Tesla founder Elon Musk said earlier this year. Tesla aims to build 375,000 Cybertrucks each year at its Texas Gigafactory, meaning it'll be some time before it's sorted its current order bank.
Whenever that point arrives, we imagine Tesla will think about expanding to right-hand-drive markets. And one encouraging engineering aspect of the Cybertruck is its steer-by-wire system. For decades, Australia has been denied countless vehicles because of the engineering costs of moving a physical steering column to the other side of the firewall and engine compartment. Steer-by-wire means you simply need to mount the steering wheel, as a module, on a different part of the dash, and away you go. So in theory, a right-hand-drive Cybertruck should be reasonably straightforward.
While Tesla has no plans to sell the Cybertruck in Australia, that doesn't mean you won't see any here at all. As with vehicles such as the Dodge Challenger, the Cybertruck could be privately imported, converted to right-hand-drive and made to comply with the Australian Design Rules – all things it would have to do with great difficulty, meaning a privately-imported Cybertruck would cost a pretty penny.