Elon Musk Says Cybertrucks Can "Serve Briefly as a Boat"

Photo credit: Tesla
Photo credit: Tesla

Elon Musk likes to tweet about future Tesla products and features. Sometimes, those products and features are real things that eventually make their way into the world exactly as initially described. Other times, they go onto the ever-increasing pile of things Musk has announced that have simply never happened. There is no way of knowing which way the Tesla CEO's latest short-form feature announcement is going to end, but the idea is certainly outlandish.

Musk says the Cybertruck, still not in production despite being completely unveiled in 2019, will be "waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat." How briefly, you ask? Musk says the truck needs to be able to cross the channel between SpaceX's Starbase launch facility and South Padre Island in southern Texas, a distance of about 3/10ths of a mile at its shortest point.

It is important to note that Musk is not just advertising stellar river-fording capabilities, a major versatility strength of electric trucks like the Rivian R1T. Musk is suggesting that the truck is not only waterproof enough to enter and cross water under its own power but capable of "briefly" floating, long enough for the truck to actually be used as a somewhat amphibious vehicle.

While amphibious cars and trucks are inherently cool, semi-amphibious capabilities in a truck not designed solely for the purpose are a frontier no manufacturer has intentionally crossed. That becomes a concern when combined with the consequences of Tesla's growing tradition of overstating the capabilities of its most promising and unique features. By suggesting the Cybertruck's fording prowess has advanced to the point that it can safely float across small waterways, Musk is inviting a community of buyers already notorious for pushing the limits on technology with an alarming inability to prove that it is being used safely to take their trucks closer and closer to the limit of what constitutes "briefly" floating. Add in the truck's apparent bulletproof glass windows and you have a new set of challenges if something does go wrong.

Tesla initially planned to begin Cybertruck deliveries in mid-2021, with RWD models starting under $40,000. As it is now 2022, the company has since moved that timeline out to mid-2o23. Those trucks may or may not be able to serve briefly as a boat.

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