Last month, Tesla (TSLA) reported third-quarter earnings, surprising analysts with a surge in free-cash flow, profit and sales.
Analysts have warmed up to the automaker following these results and enthusiasts have glowed over the Model S, X and 3 - particularly as the last one continues to see such a steady improvement in production. Each have also earned top ranks in safety.
Provided that Tesla can survive from a financial perspective, investors are excited over the company's future vehicle lineup and product offerings. The company's next vehicle will surely be the Model Y, something Tesla plans to pour more significant R&D dollars into in 2019, with production hopefully set to begin in mid-2020.
But after that - at least in the mind of CEO Elon Musk - will come the Tesla pickup truck.
Not to say that Musk seems bored from traditional vehicles, but by seeing some of the more exciting vehicles in the works at Tesla - be it the semi truck, Roadster convertible, etc. - that's what seems to get him going. The pickup apparently is Musk magnet. "It's the thing that I am personally most fired up about," Musk stated.
He recently said that it will have a "really futuristic-like cyberpunk Blade Runner design" and the company is aiming to achieve a driving range of 400 to 500 miles per charge out of the vehicle. Given that the Model S and 3 can barely get over the 320 to 330 driving range, some may be skeptical of a 400 to 500 mile estimate.
But with a bigger vehicle comes a bigger battery. The only question then becomes, what is the owner using the truck for? Specifically how will hauling and towing impact range and by how much? Musk has also talked about powering tools right from the truck, looking to edge heavyweights like Ford Motor (F) , General Motors (GM) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) (via Dodge) with its tech-savvy features.
"It's gonna be awesome, it's gonna be amazing," Musk added, "this will be heart-stopping. It stops my heart."
All that said, the design and electrification of the truck are two very valid concerns. Musk said he loves the futuristic design Tesla is using for its pickup, but will go with a more traditional look if that's what customers want. As for electrification, the trend is Tesla's friend. Pick-ups are great, thanks to their versatility, but the downfall had been mileage. GM, Ford, Dodge and others have looked at ways to reduce those drawbacks over the years, altering the engine and swapping steel in favor of high-grade aluminum in parts of the body.
Ford's EcoBoost engine has helped improve the F-Series mileage and in 2020 the automaker plans to introduce a hybrid option. There is a sort of macho aspect to some truck-owners. But by and large, so long as the customer doesn't have to make a big sacrifice in performance, many seem open to alternatives that improve the vehicle's efficiency.
Of course, Tesla is banking on that open-mindedness too. As for a timeframe on production, we're all waiting.Want to Buy Stocks for a 10% or Greater Discount? You can with certain so-called "closed-end" mutual funds - an often overlooked investment class. Click here to register for a free online video in which TheStreet's retirement expert Robert Powell and an all-star panel run down all you need to know.