A Modest Proposal: Rename Tesla’s Truck to This…

Changing the name of the “Cyber Truck” could make all the difference

If you watched the Tesla “Cyber Truck” unveil last night, you were probably floored by the visual appearance of the vehicle….and perhaps not in a good way. I myself could not stop laughing seeing that stainless steel pyramid rolling onto the stage. There are important engineering reasons why the truck is shaped the way that it is and its odd design is actually what lends itself to its extraordinary specifications. The issue with the design is not that its ugly, its that it upends all expectations about what a pick-up truck should look like. Those expectations, however, will determine whether or not the vehicle is successful in the marketplace.

I think that Tesla erred in the naming and marketing of the truck more than its design. Allow me to explain. First of all the “Tesla Cyber Truck” does not have a nice ring to it and does not roll off the tongue easily. It sounds gimmicky and concocted. To the ear, “Cyber truck” lends itself to the impression that it was named by a 12-year-old living in the late 90s who felt that adding the word “cyber” to everything automatically made it cool and high tech. Tesla failed to explain exactly what was “cyber” about Truck. If there was a HUD in the windshield it might make some sense…but there was not. Nonetheless, term “cyber” itself feels dated; a relic of the early to mid 2000s in the days of AIM, Myspace, and Yahoo. Certainly not a name for a vehicle in the 2020s.

The other issue with the name is that “Cyber Truck” immediately conjures up comparisons with other trucks on the market. Yes, the “Cyber Truck” is a pickup truck, but it clearly does not look like a pickup truck….at all. Sure, the design might grow on some people and come to be accepted. That is certainly possible. I myself am growing on it. But in the truck world, a demographic that is conservative and skeptical of climate change and electric vehicles to begin with….different may be perceived as the ultimate turn off. I have already written about the uphill battle Tesla faces here.

Instead of naming the vehicle in such a way that it invites comparison with other pickup trucks, Tesla should have invited another comparison: a tank. That’s right, the “Tesla Tank.” This has a better ring to it, doesn’t it? More importantly, it is devoid of the gimmicky and outdated word “cyber” but also invites a mental comparison with other tanks. Tanks are robust, they are brutal, they place function over aesthetics, they are armored and angular in design….just the look that Tesla was going for.

It might seem misleading to name the vehicle a “tank” but Tesla’s own unveiling focused on how armored the vehicle was. From demonstrating the strength of metal glass windows, hitting the door with a sledgehammer, and even bragging that the car was bulletproof, it looked as though Tesla also thought of the car as more tank-like than pickup. Tesla is known for cheeky naming anyway, alongside “Ludicrous Mode” or “Plaid Mode”, the “Tesla Tank” would be right at home.

Maybe the perception damage has already been done or perhaps the design will grow on the trucking crowd. But I believe that no one would have scoffed or laughed at the design had it been named the Tesla Tank from the outset. The vehicle that drove onto the stage last night would not have been a freakishly weird truck from the 80's but a wicked cool tank from dystopian future that you can have for yourself.

A matte black option wouldn’t hurt either.

It’s a black….tank.

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