This Is the World’s First and Only Tesla Pickup Truck

Roboticist Simone Giertz got tired of waiting for Elon Musk’s Tesla Pickup to come out, so she chopped up a Model 3 to make her own.

byJames Gilboy|
Electric Vehicles photo

Will Tesla release its touted world-beater of an electric pickup truck, or will its financial woes catch up to it first?

Simone Giertz, the "Queen of Shitty Robots," wasn't comfortable letting Elon Musk answer the question of whether or not she'd ever drive the Tesla truck she so desperately wanted, so she took to her toolshed to make the truck-bedded EV happen for herself.

Tesla Model 3 "Truckla"

, Simone Giertz

Giertz explained in a 31-minute video documenting the build of the "Truckla" that she had the idea to build a pickup-bodied Tesla more than a year back, but that was before the project was sidelined by a brain tumor. One operation and a round of radiotherapy later, Giertz's health was good enough to turn her attention back to the Tesla build, which commenced on the foundation of a brand new Model 3 Standard Range. Giertz explained that she selected the Model 3 for its steel chassis, instead of the larger, more powerful Model S, which has a hard-to-modify aluminum unibody.

Tesla Model 3 "Truckla"

, Simone Giertz

One idea for the conversion involved cutting the entire car down the middle and attaching a preexisting truck bed to the back, but Giertz wasn't fond of how the result would look. Instead, she chose a more ute-like conversion that'd require the sedan's back seats be yanked out, the roof cut up, and the trunk lid removed, making the Tesla more of a Chevrolet El Camino- or Dodge Rampage-style ute. She almost got cold feet almost when she took delivery of the Model 3, falling head-over-heels in love with the car, but knowing how many friends were coming to town to chop up the car, Giertz stuck to her plan.

"You're gonna become a truck," she quipped. "You're gonna become the first Tesla Pickup...that's on the roads."

As Giertz and her team discovered, turning a unibody car into a truck isn't as simple as chopping up the body; frame reinforcements had to be made to account for structural rigidity lost when half the Tesla's roof came off. A steel tube frame was welded in place to support both the existing chassis and the new truck bed, which came from a Ford F-150, while parts from a GMC Canyon partitioned the cab from the bed. There was also the matter of tricking the Tesla's computer into thinking the rear seatbelts—unnecessary without seats—were fastened, but that was a trifle compared to fabricating a truck bed.

But it all came together, allowing Giertz and company to put together an ad that wouldn't make you bat an eye if released by Tesla itself. (Simone says hi, Elon.)