In a recent lighthearted post, Tesla CEO Elon Musk referenced the Cybertruck’s potential amphibious capabilities once more. Musk’s tweet was a response to a rather humorous concept video featuring the all-electric pickup being used as a boat. And while such a concept may be farfetched for the skeptics, the idea of an amphibious vehicle may actually be pretty feasible.
The amusing render was created by Slav Popovski, the same 3D artist that came up with a realistic concept video of the next-gen Tesla Roadster SpaceX Package’s 0-60 mph launch. Musk, for his part, stated that Tesla could probably give the all-electric pickup a similar function. “I think we could make it work,” the CEO noted. This echoed a previous tweet that Musk posted in April, when he noted that the Cybertruck would “float for a while” when traversing deep waters.
Recent images of the Tesla Cybertruck at the Petersen Automotive Museum have revealed that the vehicle may actually be designed to resist being breached with water. As indicated by pictures from the Tesla community, several sections of the Cybertruck’s underbody seem to be watertight, and the vehicle’s suspension area seemed to be sealed as well. This suggests that Elon Musk’s statements about the Cybertruck’s amphibious capabilities may be less outlandish than expected.
Musk has been pretty open about his love for vehicles that can travel on both land and water. In 2013, Musk purchased the actual Lotus Esprit S1 movie prop from the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, which became iconic due to its capability to transform from a sports car into a submarine. Musk would later joke that he was disappointed to find out that the Lotus did not really transform into a submarine, and that he would probably attempt an amphibious vehicle using Tesla tech.
The CEO revisited this idea in the 2019 Annual Shareholder Meeting, when he stated that a submarine car is “technically possible.” Musk did admit that the market for such vehicles would be small, but he suggested that there will probably be a lot of enthusiasm around the project.
A novel amphibious car has actually been attempted over ten years ago by Swiss niche automaker Rinspeed. During the Geneva Motor Show in 2008, the company took the wraps off its all-electric sQuba amphibious sports car. The vehicle ran on lithium ion batteries and was built on top of a Lotus Elise, which actually makes it pretty similar to the original Tesla Roadster, at least to some degree.
Granted, the sQuba was slower than Tesla’s sports car with its top speed of 75 mph, but it does have the capability to travel over water, and up to 33 ft underwater. The vehicle even came equipped with scuba tanks for its two passengers, which are incredibly useful when the vehicle is in its submarine configuration. Unfortunately, the sQuba has so far not made it to production, with Rinspeed founder and CEO Frank M. Rinderknecht stating that the appeal of such a vehicle is very limited due to the fact that it was mostly a toy for the wealthy.
But the Cybertruck is no niche vehicle, nor is it a novel toy for the rich. Starting at less than $40,000 for its RWD variant, the Cybertruck is made for utility and actual, tough work. This means that if the Cybertruck were to have actual amphibious abilities, it could have practical, real-world uses. The vehicle could be used as a rescue pickup for the Coast Guard, for example, since it could function as a boat to some degree.
Of course, these are all speculations for now. That being said, Elon Musk does have a reputation for bringing to market products and features that were initially thought of as a joke. The Boring Company’s Not-a-Flamethrower is one of these, and Tesla’s amusing Emissions Testing Mode (aka Fart Mode) is another. With these in mind, and with the Cybertruck seemingly being designed to withstand water, perhaps the idea of an amphibious all-electric pickup is not too farfetched after all.