In what seems to be the automotive equivalent of a brazen act intended to show dominance, Elon Musk has announced on Twitter that Tesla will be releasing a “Plaid” version of the Cybertruck. Musk did not provide further details in his tweet, though there is little doubt that the feature will make the already daunting Tri-Motor pickup into something downright scary for its fossil fuel-powered rivals like the Ford F-150 Raptor.
Elon Musk’s Plaid Cybertruck revelation was shared on Twitter late Wednesday. While responding to Tesla owner-enthusiast and Third Row Podcast member Sofiaan Fraval, Musk stated that he would be driving a Plaid version of the all-electric pickup truck for personal use. This came as a pleasant surprise to the EV community, especially since this is the first time that such a version of the Cybertruck has been mentioned.
Elon Musk has mentioned in the past that the Tesla Cybertruck will have the handling and performance of a sports car, and this was highlighted during the vehicle’s unveiling event. Apart from showcasing its strength by having the hulking all-electric pickup pull a Ford F-150 like a rag doll, Tesla also featured the Cybertruck drag racing a Porsche 911, and crushing the iconic sports car in the process. These are bold demonstrations, and each was met with equal parts excitement and skepticism from the auto community.
While the sight of the Cybertruck beating a Porsche 911 in a straight line race was undoubtedly impressive, the feat itself can be explained by the specs of the top-of-the-line all-electric pickup. Tesla lists the Tri-Motor Cybertruck with a 0-60 mph time of 2.9 seconds despite its large size. That’s well within supercar territory, and quicker than the Model 3 Performance and Model Y Performance, both of which are considered by enthusiasts as legitimate canyon carvers.
Interestingly enough, Elon Musk did not reveal if the 2.9-second 0-60 mph time announced for the Tri-Motor Cybertruck simply involves its raw acceleration, or if such time is possible only with the use of a dedicated “Plaid Mode” launch. If it’s the former, then the Cybertruck’s fastest trim may very well be even quicker than expected. That’s a pretty crazy thought, and it could lead some to speculate if a Plaid version of the all-electric pickup is even needed. The short answer to this is a definite “yes.”
The pickup truck market is no longer only about utility. It is also about performance. This is the reason why the Ford F-150 Raptor, a bear of an off-roader that can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, has become the poster boy of the modern pickup. The truck market is notoriously brand-loyal, so any new challengers to the segment would have to bring their best just to be recognized. The Cybertruck’s Plaid version does this job perfectly.
Teslas are known for their tech and their crazy acceleration, with cars like the flagship Model S being known to shame supercars left and right on the drag strip. The Cybertruck is the same, and with three motors at its disposal, there is little doubt that Tesla can make it into a pickup truck that can actually dominate segment leaders like the Ford F-150 Raptor in sheer performance. When the Plaid Cybertruck starts deliveries, videos of the vehicle crushing Raptors left and right in on and off-road races will probably be quite common.
Such sights are exactly what the electric car movement needs. While the EV movement has spread in the sedan segment with cars like the Tesla Model 3, and its reach into the SUV market is increasing with vehicles like the Model Y and the Rivian R1S, the pickup market is still dominated by intimidating, gas-guzzling trucks. The Plaid Cybertruck could change all that, provided that Tesla is up to the task.