EngineeringClicks

What do engineers REALLY think about Tesla’s Cybertruck?

This week Tesla unveiled their highly anticipated cyberpunk inspired Cybertruck much to the amusement of the automobile industry experts. Elon Musk presented Cybertruck as a long-needed update to the pickup truck design which remained unchallenged for the best part of 100 years. The truck is priced at $39,900 and over, with production scheduled to begin in late 2021.

Public’s reaction to Cybertruck was that of dislike and ridicule

During the presentation the supposedly bullet proof glass windows couldn’t take the blow and cracked severely. Elon Musk has always been good at stirring controversy and using unconventional marketing techniques – could this be one of his clever ploys or was it a real mistake? What do you think? Please comment below.

Compared to its direct rivals running on electricity, Bollinger B2 and  2021 Rivian RT1,  Tesla’s Cybertruck wins in terms of price and claimed range distance, but loses in terms of looks and realistic market potential. The overwhelming public response to the unveiling was that of disappointment and ridicule. Twitter went particularly wild. Everyone commented on the simplistic shape of the vehicle.

Commentators kept comparing it to the cars in Blade Runner, while its photo reminded me of Total Recall. What do you think? Please do comment!

This announcement was not well received on Wall Street with Tesla shares falling by over 6% on the day after the announcement. The analysts concurred that the overly futuristic design is likely to keep this car destined to a very niche market and will not threaten the well-established manufacturers. They also felt that the release was rushed as the car was surprisingly lacking wind mirrors and screen wipers.

Cybertruck has some commendable features nonetheless

There is, of course, plenty of support from those who admire Tesla’s bravery and innovation. Some will surely find the fact that this truck is made from the same stainless steel alloy as SpaceXStarship very appealing. Cybertrucks’ Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel exterior surely does look impressive. Additionally, according to Tesla, the powerful drivetrain and low center of gravity enables acceleration from 0-60 mph in as little as 2.9 seconds and up to 500 miles of range.

Just two days after the unveiling, Elon Musk annouced that 146,000 Cybertruck orders have been received with 42% choosing dual, 41% tri and 17% single motor. The number of orders continues to grow every day.

 

I am terribly curious of what the real engineers have to say about this metal beast. Please comment below or under our LinkedIn post and I will summarise your views and opinions in the article for the world to see!

Here’s what our engineering community had to say so far:

Boothby171 says:

It looks horrible. It looks like Elon ran into the prototyping shop three weeks before the reveal, and said, “Guys! You’ve got to help me! I need something truckish for the big show in three weeks! What can you give me?”

First off, it’s origami. It’s folded sheet metal. Someone made a mockup using oak tag, and then transcribed the flat pattern out onto sheet steel. Then they took it to the press brake and folded it back up again. The side panels are flat. The glass is flat. Looks like a rush job to me.

And, sure you can smash a 10-lb sledge into it. All they probably had was some 1/4″ steel in the shop. The thing probably loses 100 miles of range just because of excess body panel weight. The walls are not yet optimized. When they do, it will dent up just like any other door panel.

Secondly, with all the concern about pedestrian safety–especially with silent electric vehicles (Honda now has airbags on the OUTSIDE of some of their cars)–do you think that Trucky “16 Corners” McTruckface is going to pass muster? If that thing backs up into you–or if you lean over too far trying to load the bed–it’ll split you open from crotch to throat.

Third–just how usable is the bed? Where are the tie-downs? where are the rails? How do I mount my bike rack to the sidewalls? Again–it’s a rush job. It’s a raw “proof of concept” vehicle. Don’t fall in love with it just yet. Also (too late for me!) don’t go hating on it too much yet, either!

Steven W says:

First of all, prejudice declared. I tend to be skeptical of all things Musk. I try to be fair – he has some good guys working for him, but the prejudice exists. This seems to have some impressive specs, but I wonder if they matter. Who is using their pickup to drag race? On the other hand, I question practicality. The shape of the cab restricts useful internal space. The shape of the bed reduces accessibility. Those headlights look completely useless. Isn’t panel crumpling a safety feature? Old cars crumple far less. You get hit hard, your car might survive, but you might not. And, yeah, no wipers, or side mirrors (didn’t hear mention of cameras to replace them either) etc. A pickup is supposed to be an appliance. It just keeps doing what it does. Boring and reliable. The hip urbanites that are Telsa’s bread and butter might love this. But they aren’t buying pickups (neither have I ever, for that matter, so take this with a grain of salt). Don’t know if this is right for the target audience – at all.

Also, let’s talk stainless for a second. A) It’s typically softer than steel, so that makes it weaker, not stronger. Hardened steel is going to be harder and stronger than hardened stainless. B) It is stainless because of its passive oxide layer. Unless all Cybertrucks are going to be bare metal, they’re likely going to have to be activated to paint. Bye-bye stainless. C) Not sure what kind of stainless he’s using, but in all likelihood, its going to be more prone to cracking than steel would be.

EC says:

Looks like the south end of a northbound horse. UGLY. Now we know where the designers of the Pontiac Aztek landed after GM sacked them.

BF says:

When they said they wanted to minimize tooling for the body panels, it all made sense….what would a truck look like if only formed on a press brake….

EV says:

Shape looks like going back to 1970 when plate deforming was difficult so cars were not curved much.

SW says:

Assuming that the function isn’t effected (though I think it is), I kind of like the look. It’s different – edgy and cool. Almost military.  And if that can be achieved with simple bends – so much the better. I’m a big fan of simplicity.  …and I’m not a huge fan of Musk, or Tesla, in general.

G_M says:

This is very intelligently pitched disruption, by revisiting essential requirements for a modern truck, leveraging current state-of-the-art technology, materials and astute manufacturing nouse. I love the originality of the design for this specific market and applaud Musk’s courage and game-changing response to a challenge that every other potential player shied away from or played predictably.

mlombard says:

I’m a mechanical engineer, a product designer, and a Tesla fan. I dislike the truck design for several reasons:
1. The ramp in the tailgate is the only clue that this is supposed to have the function of a pickup truck.
2. I get that yes, this looks “different”, but was just different really the point? The flat panels just seem so unimaginative.
3. Flat panels will oil can like crazy
4. Shape reminds me more of the F117 fighter, but it shares none of the same reasons for having that shape.
5. If this is the outside, what do you imagine the inside is like to sit in/use?
6. Regardless of why they did this, there are hundreds of other things they could have done with the exterior shape to achieve whatever those goals were more effectively (unless they just want to generate a lot of [negative] attention).