The Electric Tesla ATV Makes Way More Sense Than the Cybertruck Pickup
Could the "one more thing" surprise reveal end up stealing the show?
By now you've gazed upon the images, watched the video, and seen every Blade Runner reference in the book as the world woke up this morning to grapple with the fact that the Tesla Cybertruck does indeed look like that. But CEO Elon Musk wouldn't be Elon Musk if he didn't have a surprise in store for the audience at the end of the reveal event last night: An electric Tesla ATV dubbed the Cyberquad that fits in the Cybertruck's bed.
Musk showed off the ATV by having a Tesla employee drive one out on stage and up into the Cybertruck's bed with an assist from the pickup's lowering air suspension and a fold-down tailgate ramp. It went better than the glass strength demo, and Musk said that the Cyberquad can draw power from the truck's battery to charge when it's loaded up. It's very much a companion product; Musk added on Twitter this morning that the e-ATV will only be available to order as an option for the Cybertruck when production begins in 2021. Think of it as the off-road, electrified rebirth of the Honda Motocompo.
Though the prototype shown on stage was entirely blacked out, the livestream's multiple camera angles and a few photos from the reveal afterparty afforded good views with which we can glean some early details. Compared to the Tesla Cybertruck, the Cyberquad has a fairly conventional design that copies the usual sport ATV profile with a tesseract-like flourish. Similarly, the dual front/monoshock rear suspension setup and rear-axle chain drive are par for the course for today's gas-burning ATVs.
There are no technical details on the ATV yet, so any talk of power, battery size, or range is entirely speculation. But speculate we will: If Harley-Davidson could fit a 15.5 kWh battery in the LiveWire motorcycle for a 146-mile range, we're betting Tesla can top both those figures. That would be a boon to the nascent electric powersports market. Battery-electric UTVs like the Polaris Ranger EV are already on sale, but they offer sub-50-mile ranges and little of the fun-factor of a real ATV.
That's why it's possible the Cyberquad might one day be as big a deal than the Tesla Cybertruck—or bigger, if design critics are right. Aside from the much-ballyhooed instant torque of an electric motor, the silent operation offered by a battery-powered ATV would be a welcome evolution for a lot of folks. Of course, all that depends on the price. We'll look for more details on the Tesla's surprise ATV in the months to come.