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Elon Musk Has a Texas Sized Problem With His New Tesla Cybertruck

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:18 PM
Francois Aure
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:18 PM
  • A comprehensive Twitter study shows a polarizing public response to Tesla’s new Cybertruck.
  • Elon Musk may have failed to showcase the functionality of his new EV to the pick-up truck faithful.
  • A Texan backlash against the Cybertruck on Twitter threatens Tesla’s entrance into the most lucrative light truck market.

The Tesla Cybertruck was unveiled last week, and to say the response was mixed is putting it mildly. A comprehensive trend study on Twitter shows just how polarizing consumers’ initial impressions of Elon Musk’s latest EV were, and how much work the company has to do to win over vital pick-up truck strongholds.

Tesla Cybertruck Received Poorly In Key Markets

Tesla, Elon Musk, Cybertruck, EV, Electric Pick up
Source- Alan Marek, partcatalog.com 

The above graph was provided to CCN.com by Alan Marek of partcatalog.com, who offered the following explanation for how the sentiment data was harvested from Twitter,

The map is based on geotagged Twitter data immediately after the reveal, tracking the initial reaction to Tesla’s “Cybertruck” reveal in each state. Over 100,000 geotagged tweets were tagged with #cybertruck, and within those, phrases such as “I hate it,” or, “I love it” or “I hate the design” or “I love the design,” in addition to terms like “ugly” or “awesome” were tracked.

As the map demonstrates, just 19 U.S. states had a majority positive reaction to the Tesla Cybertruck. This leaves 31 states where Twitter user’s reactions were adverse. It is worth noting that there is a clear divide between the East and West coasts relative to the rest of the United States.

Elon Musk’s Newest EV Lost The Popular Vote on Twitter

Despite winning in the most populous regions in the U.S., the test data (also made available by PartCatalog) demonstrates that Musk’s creation still lost the popular vote, with a 52% to 48% split.

It is no secret that Musk sells a lot of cars in California and New York , but the Cybertruck needs to be different. The showcase of the newest Tesla EV made it clear the company is seeking to penetrate the core demographic of the pick-up truck market, the southern United States.

Several tests to showcase the toughness and usability of the Cybertruck were made to appeal to more than just electric car fanboys; they were intended to show impressive functionality.

elon musk, Tesla, Cybertruck, Electric Truck, EV
Can Elon Musk get traditional Southern truck owners to switch to his futuristic Cybertruck?. | Image: AP/Ringo HW Chiu

Tesla Must Appeal More to Texas Truck Market

According to some studies, Texas has historically sold almost three times as many Ford F series trucks than California, the wealthiest and most populous state. 

Musk repeatedly took jabs at the F-150 during the Cybertruck reveal, with a tow-off and sarcastic use of the “built tough” moniker, highlighting his focus on cracking this monopoly.

Unfortunately, PartCatalog’s data suggests that 68% of Texans surveyed disliked the new EV, the second-highest negative percentage in the test, with the highest total of negative tweets outside of California.

After analyzing the data, Mr. Marek outlined his reasoning for why the electric pick-up might not have succeeded in winning over its target audience,

While this is just one metric, it shows that Tesla needs to do some work to win over the traditional “truck states” – particularly in the South and Midwest. The Cybertruck reveal didn’t do a great job on selling its features – at least those important to traditional truck owners – such as storage, access to the truck bed, range while towing, etc. As long as Tesla is able to address these we’d expect them to be able to start winning over those states.

These initial setbacks are not insurmountable, and plenty of notable celebrities have expressed their love for Tesla’s electric pick-up.

With some skepticism around the much publicized 146,000 pre-orders for the Cybertruck, it is still paramount that Elon Musk makes his giant EV more attractive to the Ford and Chevrolet faithful to ensure its commercial success.