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Tesla putting Cybertruck's skin to the test

by Tom Simic August 20, 2020

Tesla putting Cybertruck's skin to the test

There is no question that Cybertruck is polarizing in many regards. Its specs no doubt shock and awe, from its tri-motor option to its possible laser windshield wipers, over its Armor Glass to its extreme, angular design.


The controversial look isn't just a matter of CEO Elon Musk’s love for the Blade Runner movie or the "Hog" vehicle in Microsoft's Halo. Its unique aesthetics are in large part due to the structural integrity needed for its exoskeleton design.


The prototype revealed last year has been discussed by Sandy Munro, from Munro & Associates, on multiple occasions in a very positive light. Mr. Munro has pointed out not only his struggle to bring similar designs to consumers but also all the advantages of it, in particular the reduced cost of manufacturing.


The Cybertruck won't have the modular vehicle platform like the standard vehicle designs you see on the street. Its body will bear the entire weight of the vehicle, eliminating the need for a chassis.


To further underline its strength, Tesla originally announced it would use a 3mm thick, proprietary type of metal--"30x, cold-rolled steel." While heavier than the aluminum, predominantly used for most of Tesla's current models, it would still offer reduced weight, according to Mr. Munro. And meanwhile, it would render the Cybertruck bulletproof. Elon him self made remarks that the Cybertruck could be shot at with a 9mm handgun, leaving a mark without structural damage, however.


However, like all companies that Elon Musk steers--which have a proclivity for vertical integration--better design or materials are constantly implemented on the fly. Cybertruck won't be an exception.

As a case in point, last month, referencing steel used on SpaceX’ Starship, Musk indicated on Twitter that tweaks are already in progress:

“We’re rapidly changing alloy constituents & forming methods, so traditional names like 304L will become more of an approximation.”

And when asked whether the alloy slated for Cybertruck would be changing, too, the Tesla CEO replied with a simple: “Yes.”

And while Tesla works on one of its concoctions, the EV maker is also testing out its samples in the wild. Just like any product that needs to take the abuse of everyday life's wear and tear, Tesla is conducting tests in the environments in which the vehicles will eventually occupy.

 

Based on Tesla's field technician's statement, Tesla has deployed different types of steel across its service vehicle fleet in the form of a steel plate, mounted as a front license plate (depicted below).


The ingenuity in this approach illustrates Tesla's R&D is anything but standard, reflecting cost-effectiveness and a solid variety of test areas and data aggregation while mitigating a need for additional impact on resources.


While the final design is still to come, Elon has already pointed out certain characteristics that are beyond contention, one of which is the vehicle's dimensions. Whether Cybertruck will remain bulletproof could, for example, the change should there be a shift in the material used.


The originally proposed material prompted Mr. Munro to make a small presentation during an interview. He was presenting different size ammunitions, from 9mm up to .50 caliber rifle round, making a point that all but the last round would be stopped by the vehicle's materials.


This is one of the electric truck's properties that, understandably, has appealed to law enforcement agencies across the globe, contributing to multiple vehicle orders. Should this characteristic be lost to a newly chosen metal/design, the current count of preorders for the Cybertruck could be seen taking a hit.

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Article edited by @SmokeyShorts, you can follow him on Twitter




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