There has been a lot of buzz lately about all-electric pickup trucks. Tesla has teased one, Ford invested half a billion dollars into EV truck startup Rivian, GM promises it will build one, and Ohio's Workhorse is trying to buy GM's idle Lordstown plant to build its own battery-powered pick 'em up.
None of those battery-powered pickups have yet come to fruition, however. So Simone Giertz built her own electric pickup out of a Tesla Model 3.
Giertz has a popular (1.7 million followers) YouTube channel wherein the Swedish-raised, San Francisco-based builder, inventor, and robotics enthusiast entertains her viewers by creating practically impractical robots and other gizmos. How entertaining is she? Entertaining enough that the build video for the electric truck has already gotten almost 6 million views in just one week.
The self-professed “queen of shitty robots” has developed inventions such as a robotic lipstick applicator and an alarm clock that slaps the user into wakefulness, but in the case of what she is calling “Truckla,” she had a real practical need. As was obvious when I went to load two 8-foot pieces of lumber into my little Honda Fit yesterday, if you make stuff, sooner or later you're going to need a truck with a bed.
In the case of Giertz's Tesla pickup, that bed was sourced from a Ford F-150, and the back window and bulkhead came out of a GMC Canyon.
The project took a year, aided by fellow YouTuber Marcos Ramirez and a few others. It might have been finished earlier, but Giertz had to take time off to have a benign brain tumor removed.
Giertz said that she chose a Model 3 because it has a superstructure made of steel, which is easier to work with than the aluminum that makes up the Model S and Model X. The job required removing half of the roof, the rear deck, and a couple of structural beams. Round and square steel tubing were welded in to maintain structural integrity before the bed and bulkhead were installed. A utility rack mounted with rally lights is integrated into the new framing.
There's still some work to be done. The seams aren't waterproof yet and the truck needs a bedliner, but it was still complete enough for Giertz and her crew to shoot a humorous faux-commercial for Truckla with the tagline “Truckla. Available Nowhere.”
Time will tell whether or not Elon Musk will ever produce a Tesla truck, but for the time being, Simone Giertz has proven that it can be done.