Musk gives a "yes" to the Tesla Cybertruck camper
Immediately after watching Elon Musk stumble through yesterday's reveal of the insane Cybertruck, we (and probably everyone else watching) jumped onto the Cybertruck website to double-check specs and look for photos and videos. We were quite surprised to find that one of the few photos floating around the site was a Cybertruck pickup camper. It wasn't clear if it was an official product preview or if Tesla was just trying to stretch minds around the many ways the Cybertruck could be used. But it was definitely cool, perhaps even the coolest thing about the unearthly Cybertruck. Musk put a quick end to the speculation today, confirming succinctly that the Tesla camper is go. And like that, the age of all-electric camping slowly breathes a first real breath.
As is his M.O., Musk made the confirmation via Twitter, insomuch as accessory plans for a truck that won't go into production for years constitute a confirmation.
We'll be very interested to see what Tesla works up for its camper package as it moves beyond initial rendering. Existing pickup campers and bed racks aren't exactly designed to cling to the rear slope of razor-edged, wedge-shaped steel ingots, so it'll have to be a custom fabrication.
Tesla's initial rendering seems unnecessarily complex with its combination of hard sides and fabric, and the easiest, cheapest solution would seem a set of struts to lift the tonneau cover into an angled roof and some waterproof/breathable canvas securing that roof to the truck sides and tailgate. You don't even need a sleeping platform — just throw an inflatable mattress or a couple sleeping bags in the bed and you have a simple tent camper integrated into your futuristic super-truck.
Then again, nothing about the Cybertruck is "simple," and we imagine Tesla will want to do something more extreme. A more complete camper with full amenities package would probably appeal more to the type of wired-in, tech-obsessed first adopter that's already signed Tesla's Cybertruck reservation list. Adding an induction cooktop, fridge/freezer, control/entertainment tablet, stereo and/or other electrical accessories would also help highlight the benefits of camping atop a huge lithium-ion battery and perhaps popularize the idea of EV camping in general. "Party and camper mode" becomes the cherry on top.
With between 250 and 500 miles (400 and 800 km) of range available, range anxiety need not be the issue it is with lesser sleep-in EVs, but in case it's still a worry, Musk's Twitter feed has you covered there, too. He mentions plans for a solar charging option that adds 15 miles (24 km) of driving per day, with hopes of expanding that up to 30 or 40 miles (48 to 64 km).
Will be an option to add solar power that generates 15 miles per day, possibly more. Would love this to be self-powered. Adding fold out solar wings would generate 30 to 40 miles per day. Avg miles per day in US is 30.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2019
So a 500-mile electric camper truck that accelerates like a supercar, pulls like a Super Duty, self-powers camping equipment and auto-refuels while you relax under the sun? If all (or most) of that actually happens, it could definitely mark the official beginnings of an all-electric camper age that doesn't stop until we get our fully customized, on-demand self-driving camper pods. But first we'll need that Cybertruck ...