Tesla Offers “Range Extender” Extra Battery for Cybertruck

Years of anticipation paid off yesterday with the final reveal of the Tesla Cybertruck. The most anticipated new car release in recent memory saw the Texas-based automaker show off a pickup truck that looks ready for Mars.

Its brutalist lines and stainless steel bodywork will instantly command attention everywhere it goes. The truck may be a rare sight for a long time as Tesla slowly spools up its complicated, expensive production process. But a handful of drivers took delivery yesterday, so the Cybertruck is already on American roads.

Hundreds of thousands watched the release event online, underlining the massive interest the Cybertruck has generated. But it fell short of many promises Tesla had made over the years, missing projections for payload capacity, towing power, price, and range.

That last one may be most important to many Tesla fans. The company has fallen decidedly behind in the range wars, with rival Lucid Motors selling sedans that travel 520 miles between charges while Tesla’s longest-range car, the Model S, manages 405.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had predicted a 500-mile range for the Cybertruck. But final specifications show between 250 and 340 miles depending on trim level. That’s better than the Ford F-150 Lightning, which maxes out at 320. But it falls short of the Rivian R1T’s 410-mile maximum, and Chevrolet projects that its upcoming Silverado EV will beat them all with 450 miles between charging sessions.

But Tesla has an intriguing solution to boost range. The company has begun advertising a “range extender” extra battery.

Piggyback Battery May Cost As Much as a Subcompact Car

Some automakers use the term “range extender” to describe a gasoline engine that acts as a generator recharging an electric car – like Ram plans for its upcoming Ramcharger plug-in hybrid truck. But that’s not what Tesla has in mind.

Tesla is the only automaker that doesn’t operate a public relations department or answer reporters’ questions. But sometimes Musk answers questions from Tesla fans online.

Questioned on X (the social media platform formerly known as Twitter), Musk said the Cybertruck’s range extender is essentially an extra battery that fits in the truck’s bed. It takes up about a third of the bed, he says, and is “meant for very long trips or towing heavy things up mountains.”

The company hasn’t revealed any other details. But an eagle-eyed X user found source data in the Tesla website that suggests it could add $16,000 to the cost of the truck, making it one of the most expensive automotive accessories in the world.

A chart on the Cybertruck sales page suggests that it adds 130 miles to the range of the All-Wheel Drive (AWD) model and 120 to the range of the high-end Cyberbeast model.

A batch of photos from Tesla seems to show the extra battery taking up part of the truck’s bed.

Weight, Installation Process a Mystery

Tesla hasn’t revealed, however, what may be the most important piece of information – what does this thing weigh? EV batteries are notoriously heavy. A third of one may be more than the average person could lift off their garage floor and place carefully in the back of a truck.

So we’re not clear on whether the range extender is something you can install and uninstall at home, or something you have to have installed semi-permanently at a Tesla service location.

It will push the truck’s range closer to the promised 500 – topping out at 470 in AWD models – but at the cost of some bed space and, possibly, most of the cost of a Nissan Versa. We’ll bring more details as they become available.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *