PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA - Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Saturday that his company had received around 150 000 orders for its controversial looking Cybertruck, which was unveiled late last week.

"146k Cybertruck orders so far, with 42% choosing dual, 41% tri & 17% single motor", Musk said in a tweet, adding separately that the orders were achieved without any advertising or paid endorsements.

The launch of the Cybertruck pickup suffered a setback when its "armored glass" windows shattered in a much-anticipated unveiling. The overall look of the electric vehicle had worried Wall Street on Friday.

At the launch, Musk had taken aim at the design, power and durability of mainstream trucks, only to be shaken when the windows of Tesla's new vehicle shattered while being tested.

The blunder overshadowed the launch, which was live-streamed from Los Angeles and made #cybertruck a trending word on Twitter.

Some Wall Street analysts praised the launch, but others doubted the futuristic design's mass appeal.

With a starting price of $39 900 (R585 000), the Cybertruck's angular body in gun-metal gray resembles an armored vehicle. Its website shows that an immediate payment of $100 is required to reserve an order for the Cybertruck.

The Cybertruck's bodyshell is made from ultra-hard 30 x cold-rolled stainless steel and it is said to be resistant to dents and long-term corrosion. 

Tesla is selling it in three versions, the range-topping tri-motor all-wheel-drive model offering a range of over 800km. For the more budget conscious, Tesla will also be offering a dual-motor AWD model, with a 483km range, as well as a rear-driven single-motor variant that achieves a more humble 400km range.

Tesla plans to start manufacturing the truck around late 2021.

The US pickup truck market is one of the world's most profitable vehicle segments and is dominated by Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler.

Reuters