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Cybertruck Tesla electric pickup truck

Tesla divides opinion with Cybertruck "dropped from a sci-fi movie"

The radical design of Tesla's electric Cybertruck, which was unveiled last week, has caused a storm on social media, with some people calling it "courageous" and others "ridiculous".

Elon Musk launched Tesla's electric pickup truck last week at an event near the company's SpaceX factory in Los Angeles, USA. The Cybertruck features an unusual angular, wedge-like body made from stainless steel.

Reactions to the reveal of the truck's radical design were mixed on social media.

David Marcus, the co-creator of Facebook's currency Libra, who previously ran Musk-founded online payments company PayPal, recognised that not everyone was a fan of the design, but praised its "audacity".

"I love the audacity and courage it took to create a vehicle that looks like it dropped from a sci-fi movie," he said.

Musk had told Vox journalist Kara Swisher in a November 2018 interview that the car would be "a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, 'Blade Runner' pickup truck".

The Tesla founder tweeted his appreciation for Blade Runner's art director Syd Mead on Saturday, who told Business Insider that the Cybertruck is "stylistically breathtaking".

Design "shows the power of opinionated design"

The six-person vehicle is made from cold-rolled stainless steel, with armoured glass windows, which broke during Musk's demonstration.

The vehicle has a triangular side profile set on chunky pickup-style wheels. According to the company, it can drive up to 500 miles on a single charge and will accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds.

Musk described the vehicle on Twitter as a "Better truck than an F-150 [a Ford pick-up], faster than a Porsche 911".

Dropbox executive Adam Nash described the launch on Twitter as "fascinating" and said that the design "shows the power of opinionated design".

He suggested that Cybertruck's design may not appeal to the American truck-buying base, but could open up a a market for design-led trucks.

"Right now, I'm still not sure the Venn diagram of 'people who buy trucks' and 'people who like this design' overlaps," Nash's tweet continued. "Maybe this means they will open up a new market?"

Cybertruck looks "ridiculous"

Meanwhile, Mike Levine, Ford's North America product communications manager, appeared to react to Tesla's news with distain. He tweeted a gif the day after the launch of a man covering his mouth and laughing, which users of the platform interpreted as a reaction to the Cybertruck.

While Tesla's shares plummeted 6.14 per cent on Friday, Ford closed up 2.07 per cent on the Dow Jones stock exchange. General Motors also saw their shares go up 1.9 per cent.

Director of Network Architecture Lab, Kazys Varnelis, stated on Twitter that the Cybertruck looks "ridiculous".

"But then every other car and truck made today looks far dumber," he tweeted.

Musk stated on Twitter that the distinctive design of the vehicle was partly influenced by the Lotus Esprit S1 car, which turns into a submarine in the James Bond film The Spy that Loved Me.

Many commenters found parallels between the Cybertruck and other vehicle designs.

Automotive editor at Sharp magazine, Matt Bubbers, compared the vehicle to the Alfa Romeo Carabo and Lancia Stratos HF Zero by renowned car designer Marcello Gandini.

"My take is I think it looks great, like a fat Gandini wedge, but I'm worried for pedestrians and that it is enormous and maybe deeply anti-social?," he tweeted.

Doug Collins, editor of UXNewsMag, wondered whether Tesla had taken inspiration from the Citroen Karin concept car at the 1980 Paris Motor Show.

Other Twitter users compared the truck to a car from 1990 film Total Recall, a car designed by Bart Simpson, the Delorean car from Back to the Future, video game character Lara Croft's breasts, and a child's toy.

Meanwhile Mike Kruzeniski, design lead at Twitter, admitted that designing products that customers find appealing is not straightforward.

"It's hard to make things people want," he wrote on Twitter. "It's super hard to make things that buck all the trends and people want even more because of that."

"Of course, not everything that is unique becomes iconic," he continued. "Sometimes it's a Pontiac Aztek."