Covering auto shows for many years has taught us that a new car looks completely different out in real-world traffic, surrounded by buildings and other vehicles, than under a convention center’s bright lights. Tesla’s Cybertruck is no exception, and video footage of Elon Musk driving it through Los Angeles suggests it’s even wilder than we imagined when it broke cover.
The Cybertruck is aimed right at the Ford F-150 and the Rivian R1T, among other current and upcoming pickups. It looks like it’s part spaceship, part off-roader, and its wedge-shaped design was partly inspired by a 1970s Lotus sports car, so there’s absolutely no way for it to keep a low profile. Los Angeles-based car spotters noticed it immediately, and noticed Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk was behind the wheel. It was filmed driving down the 405 freeway, which was shockingly traffic-free, and it was photographed parked in front of a Japanese restaurant named Nobu.
It’s reasonable to assume the Cybertruck that took Los Angeles by storm in early December is the same one Musk proudly showed off during the model’s unveiling in November 2019. Tesla replaced the glass that broke during the presentation before letting its chief executive take the wheel, and it took the ATV out of the cargo box, which is dubbed the vault.
Cybertruck in the wild near LAX pic.twitter.com/E4FW4KCkgS
— codysimms (@codysimms) December 8, 2019
While he’s an avid Twitter user, Musk has remained surprisingly quiet about his outing in the truck. He didn’t announce he was taking it out for a spin, or shed light on why. Was he testing something? The truck is currently a one-off prototype, so there’s no sense in checking its durability or its fit and finish. We know it’s getting a new infotainment system, and it will inaugurate a triple-motor electric powertrain capable of delivering up to 500 miles of driving range, so engineers are likely to seek more data about both systems. There are plenty of places in Los Angeles to put Musk’s claim that the windows are bulletproof to the ultimate test, and Tesla might also want to find out how its leviathan of a truck handles.
Footage posted on Twitter shows Musk getting into the Cybertruck in the Nobu parking lot (we hope the valet got the tip of his life), maneuvering between parked cars, and running over what looks a plastic parking sign on his way out. Celebrity fan site TMZ learned Tesla’s top executive took actor Ed Norton out for a spin in the truck.
Who’s driving @ElonMusk or the Auto-Pilot?$TSLA pic.twitter.com/xvmyHPG8Ol
— GuruLeaks (@Guruleaks1) December 8, 2019
The possibility that Musk took a joyride to keep the truck in headlines remains on the table, too. Tesla received over 250,000 refundable $100 deposits since unveiling the model, and the company wants to keep the public’s attention for as long as possible. What better way to advertise than trending on Twitter?
Updated 12-9-2019: Added second video.
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