Four years after Elon Musk unveiled it with billowing clouds of smoke, balls of fire and a botched demonstration of its shatter-resistant windows, Tesla has finally made the first deliveries of its alien-punk Cybertruck.
Standing in the bed of the stainless-steel-clad electric pickup, which has been mired by production delays and skepticism about its design and everyday utility, Musk called the Cybertruck "the most unique thing on the road" but promised that it is "actually very useful."
"It's not just some grandstanding showpiece like me," he said during Thursday's delivery event, which was livestreamed on X, formerly Twitter.
With the launch, Tesla has entered an extremely competitive truck market dominated by Ford's F-Series, a dependable workhorse that has been the country's top-selling truck for 46 years in a row and the top-selling vehicle for 41 years.
Musk has sought to set his rugged pickup far apart from rivals, starting with a radically angular, polarizing look and much-hyped features such as bulletproof and arrowproof doors and "armor glass" windows.
Such "apocalypse technology," as Musk referred to it, has led some analysts to question whether the truck — which starts at $60,990 — could ever achieve mainstream success the way Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y have.
The Cybertruck, which Musk boasted has the handling and speed of a sports car, has towing capacity of 11,000 pounds, a maximum payload of 2,500 pounds and a 340-mile estimated range.
"We have a car here that experts said was impossible, that experts said would never be made," Musk said. "Finally, the future will look like the future."
During the half-hour presentation, Tesla redid its infamous window stunt from the Cybertruck's debut four years ago, when lead designer Franz von Holzhausen hurled a steel ball at the truck's front window to demonstrate its durability. It shattered, as did the back window during a second attempt.
This time around, the window stayed intact, although it appeared the steel ball had been swapped out for a baseball.
©2023 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.