The Augusta area is home to at least three of America’s first Cybertruck owners

Do you enjoy meeting new people? Then buy a Tesla Cybertruck.

“No matter where I go, people come up to me asking questions and wanting to look at the interior,” said Wayland Lamar Jr., who operates the Expedia Cruises travel agency in Martinez. “Everywhere I stop, I have to work in about ten minutes to interact with people.”

With its unconventional angular profile and roll-top cargo box, the all-electric Cybertruck with stainless steel body is easily one of the most eye-catching vehicles on the road. The connection with outspoken billionaire Elon Musk adds to the buzz.

Lamar was one of the first 5,000 people to pay $100 to reserve one of the highly anticipated electric trucks once they went into production.

That was in 2019.

“For a long time we thought it was a stunt, that they just talked about it but didn’t actually want to do it,” Lamar said. “Then I got a phone call in March asking, ‘Did I really want to go through with it?’ That’s why I decided to pull the trigger.”

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Lamar picked up his new Cybertruck on June 4 in Savannah, at one of seven Tesla dealers in Georgia. Prices often start at $99,900, increasing with option packages. Lamar’s “Foundation Package,” which he purchased rather than delay his purchase any further, cost an additional $20,000.

There are no external Tesla brand badges on the Cybertruck, adding to public curiosity. The low loader is 1.80 meters long and 1.20 meters wide. It can be driven with the roll top pulled back, making it look more like a conventional truck, but keeping it closed improves aerodynamic efficiency, Lamar said.

There is no trunk, but there is a ‘frunk’, a small front hatch that resembles the trunk of a small sports car. The non-wheel steering wheel is called a ‘squircle’ and contains buttons instead of external levers that control basic functions such as turn signals.

Instead of relying on power steering, the Cybertruck is America’s first production car to utilize full “steer-by-wire” technology commonly found in winged aircraft. The wheels rotate independently for better control, especially when reversing into spaces.

Like other electric vehicles without regular fossil fuel engines, the Cybertruck delivers instant torque. Tesla’s claim of reaching 60 mph in 2.6 seconds is correct. No engine also means no engine noise, so virtually no cabin noise.

The range of the vehicle on a single battery charge varies depending on the driving length. Highway driving takes about 270 miles, and city driving increases the range to about 210 miles, Lamar said. A recent weekend trip to Charlotte, NC, required just 30 minutes of battery charging at a station near restaurants and other attractions.

Along the way, Lamar questioned the safety of motorists racing to catch a glimpse of a moving Cybertruck.

“On I-20, people were racing towards you side by side, taking videos and photos,” he said. “We were like, ‘Watch where you’re driving!'”

Lamar knows of only two other Cybertruck owners in the Augusta area. Incredibly, of the estimated 5,000 trucks delivered, one of the other owners works less than a mile from Lamar’s office. He declined to be interviewed Friday, hoping to cling to whatever remaining anonymity he may have had. Although he doesn’t park the car particularly conspicuously, he still gets “about twenty” curiosity seekers a day asking about it.

Lamar is not an eco-warrior. His favorite vehicles to date have been Ford and GMC trucks, although he is not a diehard brand loyalist. He normally doesn’t even buy a car in the first round of production because he remembers his father’s advice to wait for the automakers to work out the kinks.

But he thought waiting five years was enough for an all-electric truck with the curb weight of a Toyota Tundra but the handling of a sports car.

“It’s a whole new world,” Lamar said.