Was the Mercedes Unimog an inspiration for Tesla's Cybertruck?

Posted on January 09, 2020 by Iqtidar Ali

Over the holidays, there was a party hosted at Tesla's Design Center in Hawthorne, California. An intriguing spy shot surfaced showcasing a Unimog truck parked next to Tesla's new Cybertruck. Was the Mercedes Unimog an inspiration for Cybertruck? Or, perhaps, was the Unimog simply on-site to help accomplish some construction-type tasks at (or near) Tesla's Design Center? 

Cybertruck side-by-side with a Mercedes Unimog at the Tesla Design Center.

Above: Cybertruck side-by-side with a Mercedes Unimog at the Tesla Design Center (Source: @laspeed / Instagram)

Well... we don't know. But the trucks parked side-by-side provide some entertaining fodder for speculation. After all, the Cybertruck is expected to be classified as a medium-duty truck just like the Unimog. Maybe Tesla wanted to compare-and-contrast its new pickup with this trucking classic? At one point, even Arnold Schwarzenegger owned one — although The Governator has since moved on to supporting electric vehicles more recently. 

Granted, there are other well-known, medium-duty pickup trucks out there. According to Auto News, "Class 2B pickups have a gross vehicle weight rating between 8,501–10,000 lbs. The 2B classification covers Ford's F-250 Super Duty, Fiat Chrysler's Ram 2500 and General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado 2500." But, like Cybertruck, the Unimog has a far more irreverent look.

Above: The disruptive design aesthetic of the Cybertruck as evidenced during Tesla's holiday party (YouTube: Iqtidar Ali via u/backstreetatnight / Reddit)

In addition, the Unimog is sort of like a Swiss Army Knife of trucks — it has no less than 10 utilitarian use cases identified by Top Gear. Could Cybertruck, like the Mercedes Unimog, accomplish tasks like street sweeping, lawn mowing, snowploughing, off-roading, hedge trimming, craning, wood chipping and towing? Heck, Motor 1 even shows off the Unimog's impressive camping abilities.

Let's also take a peek inside. In the Cybertruck subreddit, u/backstreetatnight posted a great spy shot of the Cybertruck interior — the photo clearly showcases the video-display rearview mirror, center touchscreen, and a sleek dashboard design which likely has it's roots (at least some of it) in the original Model 3 design. Although the steering wheel has influences that call-to-mind Tesla's next generation Roadster.

Tesla Cybertruck Interior

Top: Tesla's Cybertruck interior (Image: u/backstreetatnight / Reddit); Bottom: Unimog's more conventional interior design (Image: Mercedes)

Meanwhile, unlike it's distinctive exterior, the Unimog interior looks far more traditional. In any case, as Top Gear points out, Unimogs are: "hyper versatile goliaths from Mercedes [which] are pretty much the ultimate go anywhere, do anything" trucks that have long captivated its fans. This begs the question: will Tesla's fan-favorite, its new Cybertruck, have some of the same unexpected, multi-purpose functionality many have grown to love with the Mercedes Unimog?

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Written by: Iqtidar Ali. An earlier version of this article was originally published on X Auto.

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