Two kinds of voltage
by Andy Bryenton
Two very different approaches to the future of motoring have been revealed in this past month, both of them electric, both of them harking back to an icon of pop culture, but both of them remarkably different in their design.
The first is Tesla’s Cybertruck, an angular, stealth-bomber wedge made of stainless steel and able to deflect a sledgehammer. How do we know? Having a helper clad in Mad Max attire swing one at the truck’s door was part of Elon Musk’s big reveal for the vehicle.
While his demo of its tempered glass did not go so smoothly, something about this 4×4 origami behemoth struck a chord, as pre-orders flooded in; 146,000 in the first two days.
It could be because the angular, striking machine costs only US$50,000 for an all-wheel-drive variant that can whip a modern Porsche sports car in a drag race, then go on to haul a load up to 800 kilometres.
There’s a hint that the design of the Cybertruck and even its name, are a nod to the seminal ‘cyberpunk’ movie Blade Runner, as it resembles the vehicles designed for that movie by artist Syd Mead. Tesla even revealed the truck on the day that the movie is meant to take place in November 2019.
Moreover, there is another new contender; very real, very modern, and looking back instead of forward for design and branding. Ford’s Mach-E Mustang has caused a stir, with traditional displacement-focussed V8 purists throwing up their hands at the idea of an electric Mustang crossover SUV.
Stripped of the naysayers’ hype, it’s a pretty machine, as rounded and sleek as the Cybertruck is starkly angular.
Hints of the current Mustang, the world’s best-selling sports car, after all, are there to see, and the combination of a possible 450-kilometre range alongside what Ford is calling ‘thrilling’ and ‘engaging’ driving characteristics mean that the Mach-E ticks a whole lot of boxes.
Ecologically friendly, cheap to run, easy on the eye, packed with clever storage features and plenty of space; the icing on the cake is that it’s a Mustang.
Let’s be honest; it’s cooler already than many of the previous century’s Mustang variants, and the back catalogue of prototype pony cars had some weirder visions of the future than this.
No doubt there will be big supercharged V8s in the lineup for a while yet, but if that Cybertruck v Porsche battle is anything to go by, the Mach-E might give the petrol-powered Mustangs a run for their money.
Pre-orders are once again very strong, with one popular variant of the Mach-E already sold out.