El Camino to Return From Tesla

Since the launch of the Tesla Cybertruck, Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, has had people working on making it into a smaller package so that it could fit into the average garage. This adjustment involves shrinking as much as 5% of the Cybertruck’s presence. Over the weekend, he changed his mind. In a tweet, he said that Tesla will make a second “tight world” truck. What does that mean?

Tweet from Elon Musk regarding shrinking the Cybertruck size | Elon Musk via Twitter
Tweet from Elon Musk regarding shrinking the Cybertruck size | Elon Musk via Twitter

Hot new small pickup market

Smaller trucks are all the rage right now. People really like the utilitarian capability of smaller trucks without having to pay the full-size pickup price or fuel mileage penalties. So, Ford will be introducing a small pickup to slot in under the Ranger. Ram is playing with a small truck idea as well, possibly to be named the Dakota. Hyundai is actually launching the Santa Cruz at some point this year, depending on the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the new small pickups are unibodies built on existing platforms. Ford’s will be built on the old Fusion chassis. Dodge’s will supposedly be built on a platform from Fiat. The Hyundai will be built upon the Santa Fe platform. 

When Musk says that Tesla will build a second truck for addition to the lineup that raises some eyebrows. The first full-size pickup, the Cybertruck, has not even made it to production yet. But, adding a second, smaller truck would certainly meet the growing demand for smaller trucks if it is priced accordingly.

2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz Rendering | Kolesa-2
2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz Rendering | Kolesa

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Keeping costs down

That is the key, price. Tesla is rumored to be working on a new battery technology that will theoretically make battery electric vehicles as affordable, or even less expensive, than the combustion-engine powered counterparts. So, that would be a good start for the small electric pickup. 

In order to reduce development costs further, Musk may be forced to utilize an existing platform from the lineup to make the “tight world” pickup. So, if this second pickup idea ever comes to fruition, look for it to be a familiar unibody structure from the current portfolio of Tesla vehicles. But which one?

A yellow 1972 El Camino lends aid to motorcyclists in the field
1972 Chevy El Camino | GM

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Which Tesla platform?

That has people wondering what platform would be chosen. The Model S seems to make sense, it is a larger platform that would allow for a good size bed. It would harken back to the days of the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero. Those utes were car-based pickups. They each had a car’s face, and in the back they were all truck, with beds for tools and gear. Teslacamino anyone?

I do not have the knowledge on how to use Photoshop well enough to render what a Tesla Model S would look like with a pickup bed in the back. But, it would be fun to see what a possible El Camino like electric pickup would look like. 

RELATED: Throwback: Ford Ranchero

This is all speculation, of course. But, if Tesla goes forward with a smaller pickup, it seems to make sense that using an existing platform will reduce development costs and time. Time is important too, because, the market is still about a year from having Ford and Ram’s small truck entrants hit showrooms. Hyundai’s Santa Cruz could still possibly debut late this year. If Tesla gets into that same market too late, then it could fail from the get-go, becoming an “also-ran” in a market that got flooded with too many choices. Still, it would be neat to see a modern El Camino like truck.