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Tesla Introduces Cybertruck

22nd November 2019

Tesla introduced its Cybertruck on Thursday, to mixed reviews.

Tesla has a cadre of fanboys and girls that will fall over themselves over anything the company does. Its products thus far (the original Roadster, Model S, Model X, Model 3) have great features and (mostly) attractive packages. The upcoming Model Y seems to continue this. Further ahead, Tesla will (someday, one can presume) begin producing and selling the new Roadster and the Semi. Every one of these products has an attractive, distinctive design inside and out, long-range batteries, amazing acceleration and have garnered a cult-like following. A version of the Model 3 is the most efficient vehicle you can buy in the United States, getting a rating of 141 MPGe from the US EPA. Clearly, the company has a lot going for it.

Thursday, Tesla seemed to consciously put all of that on the line with the introduction of the Cybertruck. With a design that can be generously described as “unique”, Tesla seemed to say, “Let’s see how ugly we can make a vehicle and have people still fawn all over it.” This seemed like a joke. One might be excused if they were waiting for the punchline at the end. Surely, they would show the real Cybertruck soon, right? Nope. If there is a punchline, it wasn’t revealed yet.

The design is made up of entirely flat panels – there are no compound curves, no rounded surfaces. Frankly, I think an 8-year old drew this in art class, and Musk decided to make it as a joke. Besides being a (cough…cough) distinctive design, the only good reason to design a vehicle like this is to save tooling cost. When a typical exterior panel has the kind of surfaces you’re used to seeing, the part must go through multiple steps of stamping. The different tools required to do this are quite expensive and can really add up to many millions of dollars. This design requires none of that multi-step process and is certainly a big part in keeping the starting price less than $40,000.

One “feature” in particular has made a lot of news: the supposed armored glass windows. Musk described them as being like a transparent steel. To demonstrate this, well, just watch:

So much for “unbreakable” glass!

What do you think? Will this be a success? Do you like it? Am I being too harsh? I’d love to hear your opinions!

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