Design

This Mars rover concept gives off Tesla Cybertruck vibes

Elon Musk has suggested that the Cybertruck could be the “official truck of Mars.” But it might need some modifications first.

Radek Štěpán

Tesla’s Cybertruck SUV, which is expected to ship in 2022 and was recently spotted driving through NYC, is a controversial vehicle. The brutalist, futuristic-looking car ditches everything we expect a truck to look like. Some people love it while others hate it.

Tesla

But the Cybertruck is Tesla’s vision for future SUVs, and Elon Musk has even quipped that it would be the “official truck of Mars” when another of his companies, SpaceX, begins making journeys to the Red Planet. It certainly has the sci-fi look going for it.

If that’s going to happen, though, the car might need some modifications, like a pressurized cabin. So several designers have already begun thinking about what such a lunar vehicle might look like. The latest comes from Radek Štěpán, who’s created a vehicle called the “Pandemax Concept.”

Radek Štěpán
Radek Štěpán

The Pandemax has Cybertruck touches all around, like that big windshield and the signature LED strip headlights at front and rear. Štěpán doesn’t explicitly state that the Pandemax is inspired by the Cybertruck but it’s hard not to see the resemblance.

The Pandemax Concept, though, adds modifications that would imply the car could operate in harsh environments. Its tires are clearly meant for all types of terrain, and the vehicle also has quite high clearance. The doors look large enough to navigate in a spacesuit.

And the cockpit overhangs the front wheelbase, with its panoramic windshield allowing explorers to get a full view of their surroundings. That’s going to be important in space where any accidents come with much worse consequences.

Whether we’ll actually see a vehicle like this reach Mars is pure speculation. Musk has already sent a car to space once before, and has said that SpaceX’s Starship rocket intended for Mars missions could have the payload capacity to hold a Cybertruck.

Twitter/@ericrihlmann

But weight considerations are significant and costly in space; other mission-critical goods would likely get priority. And a vehicle optimized for Earth is not a vehicle optimized for Mars where there’s little atmosphere to speak of. So it might not actually look much like a Cybertruck in the end.