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Elon’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea: The Cybertruck ‘Boat Mod’

Elon Musk this week doubled down on the idea of a Cybertruck boat, and it needs to be stopped.

Tesla cybertruck boat(Image generated with AI)
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I really, really wanted to fight the good fight and stick it out on our beautiful, blue space pearl. Up until yesterday, I figured that despite edging to the precipice of oblivion — with the Doomsday Clock this year advancing to 90 seconds before midnight — humanity had at least a Hail Mary shot of doing just enough right to preserve life on our planet.

But today, I say to hell with it all. Beam me up, Scotty. Time to blow this pop stand. As Biff wisely advised, “Make like a tree and get outta’ here!”

I say that, not because of the seemingly intractable conflicts across the globe, or the fact that humanity’s combined efforts to avert climate change roughly amount to repeatedly pressing the “+30 Seconds” button on a microwave. I can fight those fights.

I reached the tipping point because Elon Musk confirmed that The Deplorean (commonly known as the Cybertruck) will have a “boat mod” that will allow it to traverse roughly a football field across open water, Electrek reported. This comes a year after Musk quizzically proffered up the idea of a seaworthy Cybertruck.

As much as we all disagree on so many things, at the very least, whether liberal or conservative, we all agree to not drive our vehicle into the river. It’s the last, tattered thread of decency we all have. So, consider this my last, desperate attempt to literally keep the wheels on the road.

Cybertruck Boat Mod

The notion of a Cybertruck-Boat — which I’m calling the Charge Barge — is regaining momentum because Musk and VP of Engineering, Lars Moravy, added a few new details. Moravy remarked to renowned car enthusiast Jay Leno how an electric outboard motor would connect to the back of a Cybertruck (also known as the Mystery Science Aztek 3000). To this, CEO Musk outlined more of the Charge Barge vision.

So if you’re keeping score, you have a 7,000-pound Cybertruck (affectionately dubbed Abominus Prime) that “almost floats,” has watertight seals, and an outboard motor. What could go wrong?

What Could Go Wrong

My first reaction was probably the same as everyone else’s: “Sweet!” Obviously, a techno-future car that’s bulletproof and floats on water sounds extremely cool. In all honesty, part of me really wants one. But then I start to think about that pesky little thing called reality.

First off, “almost floats” is probably the single worst thing you could say about any vehicle destined for “rivers, lakes & even seas that aren’t too choppy.” But let’s assume that’s a minor — if profoundly important — engineering hiccup the fine folks at Tesla will handle.

The bigger problem here is the fragile fabric of society. Think how angry you get when someone crosses a double yellow line to pass you, or makes a sharp turn in front of you on a red light. It’s selfish, dangerous, and stupid behavior. So what happens when there are no yellow lines and no red lights?

In short, imagine the worst driver you’ve ever seen, encase them behind stainless steel and bulletproof glass, and give them the power to cut you off and not use their blinker by land and sea.

Think of it: You’re stuck in gridlock traffic, inching forward in the dammed-up stream of brake lights, and you look over to see a bunch of “My Kid’s an Honor Student” and Punisher stickers bobbing across the retention pond. Swans and ducks squawk and take flight as these metal monstrosities (El Caminopes, if you will) brazenly ford their way along with sheer impunity.

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The Beauty of Boats

Now, you might say, “Don’t be ridiculous — no one’s going to break the law. It’s just a fun add-on.” I ask you — what for? In what world do you need to strap an outboard motor onto your car and boat around for 400 feet? None. It makes no sense — people will have to find reasons to use this inane mod.

More importantly, not everyone should have the power to embark on a maritime adventure. There’s something to be said for learning to do something right, and investing the time and money to do it properly. Boats are beautiful because they are boats.

You need to learn how to operate one. You have to be so enamored of boating that you invest a good deal of money to own one. You have to learn to tow it, how to drive around with it, and how to pilot it into the launch.

It’s not prohibitively difficult, but it’s not easy, either. It’s just hard enough to keep every goofball from — and I cannot stress this enough — driving into the lake. It’s not foolproof; there are whackos on the water. But for the most part, the majority of boaters respect the rules of the terrain.

Tesla cybertruck boat
(Image generated with AI)

Remember ‘Jurassic Park’

If my pleas to avert the catastrophe that is a bunch of waterborne Cybertrucks (aka Starship Poopers) don’t resonate, perhaps you’ll heed the warnings of an actual (fake) Ph.D. I’m talking about Jeff Goldblum’s iconic portrayal of Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park when he famously admonished, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

With enough money, you can make just about anything, but that doesn’t mean you ought to. If nothing else, what happens when your 3.5-ton Cyberboat breaks down? At least you can paddle a real boat.

But I digress. If Musk plows ahead with this boat mod nonsense, then I’ll have to echo Mr. Malcolm one more time when I see it in the wild:

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