Tesla’s Cybertruck looks weird because otherwise it would break the machines that make it

November 24, 2019

In comments on Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared some more information about Tesla’s recently revealed Cybertruck and some of the reasons for its controversial design.

The Cybertruck was unveiled on Thursday to… mixed reviews. The design is certainly polarizing, and a lot of people are not a fan of how different it looks.

There’s been a lot of memes passed around comparing the truck to the Pontiac Aztek, to bad early 3D models with a few polygons, to strange 1970s concept cars, or outdated concepts of what the future should look like.

Others have really liked the design, calling it a refreshing take on the pickup truck, which hasn’t changed much in a century.

Today on Twitter, we got a little more insight into one of the reasons the truck is so angular, and that’s because machines aren’t strong enough to make it curvy:

As Musk and designer Franz von Holzhausen demonstrated on stage, the Cybertruck is built for abuse. Instead of using stamped aluminum or steel like Tesla’s other cars (and most other vehicles on the road), Tesla is using 30X cold-rolled steel.

Tesla’s Cybertruck design differs from traditional autos because it uses a stainless steel exoskeleton instead of a traditional body-on-frame design.  In the traditional design, the car body doesn’t have as much structural integrity and is mainly used for aerodynamic and styling purposes, and to protect occupants from the elements.

In the Cybertruck’s design, the entire vehicle exterior is used as a stressed member, allowing it to do double duty as both the body and the frame.  This reduces complexity, and since Tesla is using ultra-hard steel, increases sturdiness of the vehicle’s exterior.

This is why the doors were able to resist a sledgehammer swing from von Holzhausen, and were shown to be bulletproof in a demonstration video shown by Tesla during the reveal event.

The problem with this hardened steel exterior is that traditional auto-body stamping machines are made to deal with much smaller, more malleable pieces of sheet metal. These machines take a flat piece of metal and then smash it against a mold, creating the curve of each body panel separately.

But since the panels of the Cybertruck are so stiff, machines aren’t strong enough to stamp them. In order to add curves to the Cybertruck’s body, Tesla would need to build a whole new type of stamping press — or just design the car without curves.  They did the latter.

Electrek’s Take

I know this will seem anathema to many readers here, and I speak for myself personally with this one rather than the site as a whole (one of our writers is among the 41,000 people who ordered yesterday, another penned this piece on the Brutalist inspiration of the Cybertruck), but: I still hate how it looks.

I know there are reasons for it, including those mentioned above.  And inside the truck, it feels great. It was smooth, spacious, and comfortable. My test ride was excellent.

But it’s ugly and the design won’t grow on me. If you can get over that, great. If you just straight up like it and don’t think there’s anything to get over, also great. If it ushers in a new era of automotive design that reduces costs and increases durability and changes the way the world sees automobiles, that’s all cool too. Genuinely. But I still don’t like how it looks.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Black Friday

Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.

[embedded content]

View Original Article Source