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Tesla already has 200,000 orders for its futuristic Cybertruck, Elon Musk says

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

Tesla has received 200,000 preorders for its all-electric Cybertruck, chief executive Elon Musk said Sunday, three days after the futuristic vehicle’s grand reveal went viral when its supposedly unbreakable windows shattered onstage.

With an angular design, a stainless steel “exoskeleton” and an overall look that some fans have called “post apocalyptic,” the Cybertruck stands out from the typical pickup truck. It’s Tesla’s effort to break into a market dominated by Ford, showcased on the heels of Ford’s unveiling of a fully electric Mustang.

Demand for the Cybertruck comes despite “no advertising & no paid endorsement,” Musk tweeted Saturday. In an update Sunday, he said preorders had reached 200,000.

His number was a reflection of customer interest, not sales: Preorders involve a $100 deposit that Tesla says is “fully refundable.” The company says prospective buyers can “complete [their] configuration” closer to when production begins in late 2021.

Tesla struggled to match production to demand for its Model 3, released in 2016 as a budget-friendly option that could take electric vehicles mainstream. The product got 180,000 orders in its first day, prompting Musk to tweet, “Future of electric cars looking bright!”

As orders continued to tick up, Musk urged people to sign up quickly, saying the “wait time is growing rapidly.” That delay would end up costing Tesla as some consumers grew impatient and canceled.

The Cybertruck starts at $39,900 and are said to go 250 to 500 miles on one charge, depending on the model. Musk said Saturday that orders so far are about evenly split between dual- and tri-motor models, with the cheaper single-motor version making up an additional 17 percent of interest.

The truck’s unusual appearance made a splash online after Thursday’s unveiling, as The Washington Post’s Faiz Siddiqui reported:

The design elicited a mixture of awe and scorn, and very little in between. To one faction, it looked as if it had been designed on Microsoft Paint or an old-school video game. To another, it was a revelation, a raw demonstration of the utilitarian needs of a sustainable future.

Thursday’s event also highlighted features such as towing capacity of as much as 14,000 pounds, as well as the car’s fuel savings. Musk played video of a Cybertruck pulling against a Ford F-150 and winning the tug of war, part of an effort to prove the electric vehicle’s strength.

But the demonstration went awry in a meme-spawning moment when Musk asked another person onstage to try to break the car’s glass.

“Maybe that was a little too hard,” Musk said when the windows shattered.

“We threw wrenches, we threw everything, even — literally — the kitchen sink, at the glass, and it didn’t break. For some weird reason, it broke now,” he added later. “I don’t know why. We will fix it in post.”

On Sunday, Musk said Tesla officials had finally figured out what went wrong.

“Sledgehammer impact on door cracked base of glass, which is why steel ball didn’t bounce off,” he tweeted. “Should have done steel ball on window, *then* sledgehammer the door. Next time …”

Musk said that that the Cybertruck would be Tesla’s “last product unveil for a while, but there will be some (mostly) unexpected technology announcements next year.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the tri-motor version of the Cybertruck made up 17 percent of preorders, when in fact the single-motor version did, with dual- and tri-motor models about evenly split.

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