The Cybertruck will indeed be a seafaring vessel. In 2022 prior to the truck's release, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Cybertruck would be able to "serve briefly as a boat," but most tech insiders didn't take his statement seriously.
At the time, Musk said the intention behind waterproofing the electric pickup truck was purely logistical. To load the vehicles from their Starbase facility in Texas, Cybertrucks have to cross a small channel to nearby South Padre Island.
Rather than purchasing and modifying a ferry to transport them, the idea was to float the trucks to their shipping depot.
It's worth noting that the Starbase facility sits on a coastal point similar to a breakwall and serves as the launch site for SpaceX's rocket program. South Padre Island is roughly 500 m (1640 feet) from the edge of the facility at its nearest point.
As with all things Musk, it was a novel problem with an ambitious solution, but from a logistical standpoint it made good sense. Since neither Tesla nor Space-X are short on engineering capability it seemed like a solvable, albeit interesting, problem.
It also got the nautical community's attention.
Now it appears Tesla's unique shipping problem will become an aftermarket upgrade.
In a recent tweet from X user Sawyer Merritt, Musk chimed in to clarify that Tesla will offer a "mod package" to enable to the Cybertruck to float.
According to Musk, the package would involve upgrading the seals on the cabin doors so the Cybertruck could "traverse at least 100 m as a boat."
It's unlikely the upgrade would involve a built-in propeller or secondary motor, so propulsion would probably come from the tires or a detachable outboard. The spinning tire concept isn't new, all-terrain vehicles like the Argo have used it for decades, although like the Cybertruck their primary use isn't as a 'boat.' Other propeller-driven floating vehicles like the Amphicar, which had a secondary engine and a propeller, were not particularly effective despite their beloved status with car aficionados.
In the video clip posted by Merrit from an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage featuring the Cybertruck, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering Lars Moravy says: “Elon did want to make it a boat. The vehicle almost floats; maybe you have to add a little bit of extra buoyancy just to keep it up. If you’re creative, and you want, you could figure out how to put an outboard motor, plugged in to your outlet there, turn it on from your screen, and go boating.”
Moravy goes on to say that Tesla "hasn't engineered that one yet, but I'm sure you could."
There's no word yet on what the "mod package" might entail, but if any company can design a plug-in 12v electric outboard to convert a truck into a boat, it's Tesla.
That being said, Musk and co. aren't the first to develop boating modifications for the Cybertruck. As Marine Industry New UK reported last year, a Seattle engineer has developed a pontoon package that converts the Cybertruck to a hydrofoiling catamaran. Aptly dubbed the Cybercatamaran, the conversion kit attaches two inflatable pontoons to the truck's suspension. A string of five 50 kW electric outboards behind the pontoons lifts the contraption out of the water to produce an estimated top speed of over 25 mph.
As for a Tesla-produced catamaran conversion kit, like a Space-X rocket that's still up in the air. But if Musk says a "mod package" for the Cybertruck is in the queue, one can rightly expect boaters will test its potential at the launch ramp.