Last night, Tesla presented the world with their latest vehicle, the Cybertruck, at an unveiling event in Los Angeles. Arrays of red laser beams spanned across the stage in true Cyber Punk fashion as the crowd patiently awaited the debut. The Blade Runner visuals were definitely in full effect. Elon Musk is introduced by his (obviously recorded actress) Artificially Intelligent female assistant. He enters the stage and briefly proclaims that we've got to break our long standing oil addiction and runs a quick Powerpoint-like slideshow of the history of pickup truck design, which hasn't changed much in the 100 or so years since they've been in production. So finally, he summons the truck and it slowly rolls out while the lasers go crazy and fire billows from the sides of the stage. The pyrotechnic introduction is reminiscent of the city skyline in the iconic Blade Runner city flyover scene set in an imaged 2019 Downtown Los Angeles.
Here it is, the Tesla Cybertruck
The Cybertruck's Design
The crowd seems somewhat shocked by the simplistic geometric, angular design of the Cybertruck. For those of us that played video games with early 3D graphics, the form factor is reminiscent of the low-poly models of those games. It's definitely different than anything on the market today. But what's the point of the design? Is there any functional reason that it has to look like that? Well sort of. Elon says that the main tenet of design here is that, unlike pretty much all trucks in production today, which have their load bearing structure built into the interior chassis of the vehicle, the Cybertruck is designed with an exoskeleton which gives the truck its structure and bears the weight of any load it carries. Elon calls this a 'stress skin design' since the exterior carries weight itself instead of sitting on top of an interior skeleton and functioning only as styling and aerodynamics.
The Cybertruck's exoskeleton design
Anyone that remembers studying biology in school will remember that this is the major difference between insect bodies and those of other animals. The skeleton is on the outside, which works pretty well for them, so why not give it a go in the world of engineering? The exoskeleton is made of stainless steel-- the same ultra-hard, Cold Rolled stainless that's used on Spacex's Starship Rocket. The stainless steel skin is so tough in fact, that it's actually literally bulletproof (to a 9 millimeter handgun though so I wouldn't drive through any assault rifle fire with it just yet.) It's been a while since we've seen any vehicles with a stainless steel exterior... the last one entered history as the most futuristic automobile, basically ever. Can't get more futuristic than going Back to the Future, right?
The DMC Delorean
I think it's safe to say that some design inspiration was taken from the DeLorean, but the Cyber Truck is still pretty unique in it's own right.
Cybertruck on the open road
Rear solar panel for getting a little extra energy form the sun when possible
Of course the rear cover / solar panel slides out of the way to open up the bed
A fairly standard looking interior inside the Cybertruck. (Wouldn't want to bump your shin on that dashboard though!)
So, what do you think of this design? Could you see yourself making the switch from a Ford or a GMC gas guzzler over to one of these bad boys? Well, if you're truly about that Cyberpunk life, you can't lie that riding around in a bullet-proof, electric vehicle, made of actual Space-ship grade materials isn't at least a little bit appealing. Personally, I'd like an upgrade on that glass before I'd commit to making a purchase based on that though because the live demo didn't go quite as planned. Tesla's Armor Glass doesn't yet live up to its name, but it would be cool if there was just an option to switch that out for some good old fashioned bullet-proof glass. Maybe the Tesla hackers out there can come up with aftermarket options if the company itself won't.
They Cybertruck is set to go on sale around the end of 2021 and will carry a starting price of $39,900, so you've got time to start saving up those Bitcoins! It will come in three different versions:
A single motor rear-wheel drive at $39,900
A dual motor all-while drive at $49,900
and a tri motor all-while drive version at $69,900.
The tri motor option will have a tow rating of 14,000lbs. That's about as much as an African Bull Elephant, so if you ever need to tow one of those around, you know which version you need to get.