In an appearance on a "Ride the Lightning" unofficial Tesla podcast this weekend, CEO Elon Musk got a little more specific about the company's highly-anticipated upcoming pickup truck.
He confirmed earlier reports that the new pickup "won't look like a normal truck. It's going to look pretty sci-fi," he told interviewer Ryan McCaffrey.
To be sure, McCaffrey and his podcast fall squarely into the realm of Tesla fan sites. Still, information on the new pickup has been scant.
One of the biggest questions about the Tesla pickup has long been how big it will be. Some early renderings showed a truck the size of a Class 6 or 7 semi carrying a full-size pickup in the bed. Now it sounds like the actual Tesla pickup will be more conventional, sized for consumers, though perhaps on the large side of consumer-grade pickups. Musk compared it to the Ford F-150 as a competitor, and said it would be "more capable than other trucks."
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"The goal is to be a better truck than a [Ford] F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality and be a better sports car than a standard [Porsche] 911," he said. "That’s the aspiration.” That could give the Tesla pickup higher weight capacities than typical half-ton pickups, perhaps toward three-quarter-ton capacities.
Musk also said the pickup will start at less than $50,000.
With the electric-car market today centered around compact hatchbacks and just beginning to branch into luxury and compact SUVs, interest in more popular types of cars—especially pickups—going electric is raging.
Startup electric automaker Rivian showed its planned electric pickup at the Los Angeles auto show last November. That model, called the R1T, is due out in 2021. Since then both Ford and General Motors have confirmed plans that they're at least developing all-electric versions of their popular half-ton pickups.
The Rivian R1T, geared toward the consumer adventure market, is expected to start at $70,000.
Chinese Model 3 production
Last week, Tesla also began taking orders in China for Model 3s made in its new Chinese factory being constructed in Shanghai. Musk has said that the first cars will begin rolling out of the factory late this year.
Along with orders came pricing. The new car is priced at about $47,500 in China (328,000 yuan), roughly $7,100 cheaper than the U.S.-built Model 3s that have been imported to China.
In China, the car gets a range rating of 286 miles. Musk has said the Model 3 produced in Shanghai will be a lower-content version of what's built in the U.S.