Tesla’s Beaut Cybertruck Ute:  Body As Tough As Steel, Windows As Weak As Glass.

Tesla Cybertruck electric ute / pickup

Tesla’s Cybertruck reveal was a smashing success.

I am sitting in the SolarQuotes office awaiting revelation.  In just one hour, plus 20-30 minutes to allow for Tesla time, Elon Musk will reveal to the world the wonders of the Tesla electric ute.  The first wonder is it’s not called a ute, it’s called a Cybertruck.  Personally, I would have gone with Wonder Ute myself, but if you fail to keep me on a retainer that kind of genius is just going to pass you by, Elon.

Cybertruck is a ute, but Americans don’t call them that.  They are pickup trucks over there.  This is a stupid name because they don’t have arms and so can’t pick up anything.  Or maybe now they can.  Perhaps robo-arms will be one of its many wonders.

Pickup utes are a rapidly growing segment of the US car market because, well… no one knows.  Not even Americans seem to have a clue.  They bought 2.8 million of them last year and only 15% are used for any kind of work purpose, so I just don’t get it.  Surely there can’t be that many Americans who are thinking one day they may need to get rid of a lot of bodies.

My friend James has a big luxury ute that he uses to drive to his pilates class and I know why he has it.  He’s an idiot.1  But surely the people who put men on the moon, gave us triple bacon and can’t-legally-be-described-as-cheese-in-this-country burgers, and put 5 blades on a disposable razor can’t be stupid?

Tesla Cybertruck electric ute exterior

The angular Tesla Cybertruck electric vehicle is clearly marketed at American men who hate curves.

What’s In A Name?  (Apart From Murder Cyborgs)

While the prefix “mega” officially became uncool in 1992, the “cyber” prefix never became entirely lame despite the fact the first cyberpunk novel was written way back in 1984 and mentioned a black market deal involving 4 megabytes of RAM.

So naming the Tesla electric ute the “Cybertruck” may seem like a good idea.  Unless of course you grew up watching classic Doctor Who, in which case it sounds like something that would be used by murder cyborgs from the planet Mondas.

But with any luck the Cybertruck will come with a couple of Cyberpeople who’ll give relaxing shoulder massages.

But I guess Tesla had to call it something and Cybertruck will do.  Just so long as they put some couches around any they display in Adelaide, so I’ll have something to hide behind.

Mind you, it may be some time before Tesla start displaying Cybertrucks here because they won’t become ready for Americans to buy until at least late 2022.

And So It Begins…

What?  The presentation is starting now?  But Elon has only kept us waiting 5 minutes, not 20!  And in this context being only 5 minutes late counts as being on time.  I can’t believe it!  Tesla being on time has shaken the very foundations of my understanding of reality!  I may have to check the sky isn’t made of fairy floss and concrete doesn’t taste like donuts.2

Elon, dressed like the Terminator, has completed a brief introduction and the Tesla Cybertruck is being driven onto the stage…

Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup interior

There are 6 seats inside the Tesla Cybertruck and I really hope that angular dash is made of something soft.

The Reveal Is…  A Mars Rover?

A couple of people who were watching with me with thought the Cybertruck’s appearance was a put on and the real truck would be wheeled out in a minute.  But I figured it was fair dinkum.  My reasoning was simple.  Elon is into space and, like at least one or two other billionaires3, he has some issues with his ego and would have forced everyone on the design team to agree that the mars rover aesthetic was the way to go.

I thought the Cybertruck looked cheap.  The angular appearance looked suitable for low production costs.  But to me, that’s a good thing.  If you can keep the costs down while having a funky looking design, why not do it?  (In retrospect, I probably should have explained to my second wife before she became my second ex-wife, that I use the word cheap as a compliment.)

I didn’t like the Cybertruck wheel wells as their aerodynamics didn’t look great, but I see vehicles with worse design choices made from the point of view of energy efficiency all the time, so it’s no biggie.

But Tesla did cheat by not putting side view mirrors on it.  In Australia they aren’t optional extras.  You need at least one.

There’s also no back window on the Cybertruck, but I presume there is a camera and screen that functions as a rear view mirror.  Or there will be, as I can’t see one in the photo of the interior above.

Update 23rd November:  The ute part of the vehicle is hidden behind sliding doors.  So while you can’t see the tray in the pictures it’s definitely there.  They drove an electric quad bike into the back of it. 

Also, it will come with power points for tradies to run their tools or you could plug an electric fire into it when you go camping and there is a total fire ban.

Tesla Cybertruck electric vehicle

This vehicle is designed for Australia’s red heart. Because it looks like Mars there.

The Cybertruck Body Is Strong

The body of the truck was unpainted and Elon explained it was stainless steel so strong it could stop a bullet.  There was video of a 9mm bullet failing to penetrate that would have been fired from a handgun.  This is impressive.  If you think a normal car door can stop a bullet you’ve either been watching too many movies or not shooting enough cars.

Why it needs to be bullet-proof, I don’t know.  Is this a South African thing?  Did people shoot at Elon’s car when he used to bullseye womp rats in Beggars Canyon back home?  Maybe, instead of building bullet-proof cars, he just needs to be better a making friends?

In a display of showmanship he probably felt certain couldn’t possibly go wrong in any way, Elon got a hefty guy to beat the door of a normal pick up truck with a rubber mallet and leave clear dents.  Then he got him to beat the Cybertruck door and it didn’t leave a mark.  I doubt there was any trickery.  The door looked like it could take a hit.

Elon explained the strength of the car was in the metal of the body.  Today’s cars are different as it’s in the frame and the exterior metal is a lightweight shell.  We used to have cars with strong exteriors.  After an accident you’d hose the driver out and the vehicle would still be okay.  I presume the Cybertruck has some kind of crumple zones and we’re not going back to the murder cars of the 1950s.

Tesla Cybertruck electric vehicle side view

Tesla: Making cars easier for pre-schoolers to draw since 2022.

The Cybertruck Windows Aren’t So Strong

Elon said the windows of the Cybertruck were incredibly tough.  To demonstrate this balls of steel were dropped from various heights onto sheets of glass of a type we were told was used for the windows.  The glass was completely unharmed.

Then Elon had the rubber mallet guy hurl a steel ball at the passenger window of the Cybertruck.  I was worried because I thought the giant ball bearing would bounce off the window and potentially break his toes.  But that didn’t happen.  Instead the ute’s window broke.  For a moment or two I felt as though there was something missing.  Then I realized TV had trained me to expect a laugh track when things like this happen.

In a probably not very wise move, Elon then okayed the guy to throw the steel ball at another window, which also broke.  It was pretty funny.  Well, funny for us watching the farce.  Obviously, it wasn’t so much fun for Elon.

A good public speaker might have been able to make the best of this unfortunate turn of events but Elon Musk is not a good public speaker.  He painfully continued his presentation in a distracted state while standing in front of his smashed up truck.  After we stopped laughing we felt sorry for him.  Despite all his billions, not one of us would have wanted to be in his shoes.  Except me.  I’d do it for $2.50.  It’s a free trip to California and — teleportation!  How cool is that?  The only problem is, his feet look a bit small.

Tesla Cybertruck window test fail

Smashed Windows Aren’t Good But Don’t Mean Much

The smashed windows don’t look good for Tesla, but don’t mean much.  Sure, it makes them look incompetent, but it’s no secret that the company doesn’t run like clockwork.  This incident might cause people to adjust the incompetence dials on their Tesla-o-meters by a notch or two, but apart from that won’t have much effect.  If the company goes down this won’t be the reason.  It will just be the one we point and laugh at.

I have no idea why the ute’s windows broke.  To me it looked like they weren’t designed to resist that sort of impact at all.  The dude’s second throw was piss weak and the window broke anyway.

Maybe they were stand ins used while they were waiting for the ultra tough windows to be ready, and Tesla screwed up and put them in the vehicle.  But, if they can’t keep Elon away from Twitter, we may get some crazed story about a Tesla short seller sabotaging the event.4

Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup photo

The Tesla Press Pack released this picture to emphasize the empty loneliness of our lives and the barren futility of our existences. So why not distract yourself from despair with an electric ute?

Three Cybertruck Price Points

There will be three versions of the Cybertruck, each more expensive than the last.  In US dollars their promised prices are:

  • $39,900
  • $49,000
  • $69,900

Below I’ve put the approximate Australian price at today’s exchange rate, including GST and Luxury Car Tax for the most expensive Cybertruck.  I haven’t included any other costs.  I’ll also give Tesla’s figures for range, towing capacity, and acceleration time from 0 to 100 km/h:

  • AUD $64,500    Range: 400 km   Tow:  3.4 tonnes  0-100 km/h:  6.4 seconds
  • AUD $79,300    Range: 480 km   Tow: 4.54 tonnes   0-100 km/h: 4.5 seconds
  • AUD $121,300   Range: 800 km   Tow: 6.36 tonnes   0-100 km/h: 2.6 seconds

For comparison, large American utes can often tow up to or around 6 tonnes.  No information has been given on how towing affects range of the Tesla Cybertruck.  Because of the nature of electric vehicles the decrease in range should be comparatively less than for petrol or diesel vehicles.

As we’ve seen in the past, Tesla doesn’t always come in on the price they promise, but hopefully they won’t be more expensive by the time they are supposed to become available in late 2022.

I don’t know how popular Cybertrucks will be once they can be purchased here, but who knows?  Maybe Tesla will shatter all sales records.

Tesla Cybertruck windows smashed

Footnotes

  1. Also his wife is an Engineer at Caltex and her bosses are probably quite glad their vehicle only gets about 6 kilometers per litre.  (Also, for no reason at all, I’ll mention there aren’t a large number of female engineers at Caltex, but she was able to break the glass ceiling.)
  2. It has since been revealed to me that the countdown timer for the event actually jumped back a couple of minutes, so Tesla actually wasn’t on time.  All is well with the universe.
  3. Elon’s net worth is supposedly $35 billion Australian, but it might have taken a little dip today.
  4. You may be interested to know that Stalin, former dictator of the Soviet Union, was also obsessed with both sabotage and colonizing mars.  His favorite science fiction novel was about sabotage on mars.
About Ronald Brakels

Many years ago now, Ronald Brakels was born in Toowoomba. He first rose to international prominence when his township took up a collection to send him to Japan, which was the furthest they could manage with the money they raised. He became passionately interested in environmental matters upon his return to Australia when the local Mayor met him at the airport and explained it was far too dangerous for him to return to Toowoomba on account of climate change and mutant attack goats. Ronald then moved to a property in the Adelaide Hills where he now lives with his horse, Tonto 23.

Comments

  1. Quite a humorous take… .

    For an equally funny assessment:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-11-22/you-only-want-the-good-stocks-in-the-index

    Read on from ‘A metaphor’….

    • Ronald Brakels says

      After rewatching the window smashing scene I think they are lucky the windows broke. If it had bounced off after the first throw, the steel ball may have ended up hitting Holzhausen’s balls.

  2. Where do I sign: I want one NOW!

    Anything to rub SCOMOs nose in it!

    Seriously, an ideal vehicle for a slide-on camper. You can even dithch the Lead Acid battery from the camper, & use the Tesla Battery which also has a 220v outlet apparently: Hopefully 240/50Hz for Aust.
    Grey nomads unite! It might even Time-Travel! (Then Grey Nomads forever, much to SCOMOs chagrin….)

    • Yes, we’d already considered a B2TF number plate, Doug!*

      Wife, a keen gardener, commented “Back to the Fuschias?”

      Grey Nomads? More likely Silver Budgies!

      * or maybe brUTE444

  3. Keith Johnston says

    It’s clearly sabotage. The company is not that incompetent but the ruling establishment are terrified of Musk and will do anything to discredit him. Bribing a couple of people to install the wrong windows doesn’t seem crazy at all mate. You clearly know what side your bread is buttered on.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      One day my dad put dish washing powder in the soup instead of salt. A stupid mistake… or SABOTAGE?

      But I have to admit it is well known I am actually a mole for the coal industry. A very deep mole. So deep I started in Pennsylvania, took a wrong turn at Albuquerque, and ended up in Adelaide.

  4. Erik Christiansen says

    Errrr … if it’s supposed to be a ute, where’s the tray?
    Six seats? Then it’s a bus.

    Still waiting for a an affordable, well engineered, EV ute to appear on this planet.

    With 7.2 km of boundary fence, all of it around 3/4 of a century old, a good load of fenceposts and wire need to go on board. (Or at least a sling of steel pickets for a quick fix of a sagging fence section.) And 3/4 tonne loads of firewood – where do they go in the Tesla bus?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      The ute part is hidden behind a sliding door. I should have mentioned that. And yeah, I see people diving beasts that seat six people and pretending that the little tray on the back makes it a ute. So I guess by those same standards this gets to be called a ute. (But the Cybertruck tray isn’t small.)

      Article updated.

  5. Ronald, your “rubber mallet guy” who was doing the demo with Musk is actually Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s head of design. He and Musk go back a long way, so you’d think their presentations would be a lot more polished by now.

    I’ve watched a few of Musk’s product unveils over the years, and it seems that his presentation skills are getting worse!

    • Ronald Brakels says

      “Holzhausen”? That’s German for greenwood. Or Dutch for Kaboom-hole. After that performance I’m thinking he must be Dutch. And we all know what I think of the Dutch:

      • Interesting thing about opinions, thanks for your take “brackets”. Even though its not your taste, it wouldn’t suit everyone.

        When it comes to your reveiw of the car, perhaps stick to a topic that you know.

        Pre-orders well over 200,000 since the launch but you have every right to stick to your Ford or similar conventional in my opinion (boring) alternatives.

        By the by your translater is faulty, try again with correct translations. However even with a last name like yours you probably wouldn’t know the difference between german or dutch anyways.

        Another thing fling a large ball bearing at your car window it will do a mile more damage than that.

        Also that stint got every clown with writing ability to share the cybertruck launch.
        Not even a question, Elon mind is above your comprehension and most, thats why he is where he is. Elon sits amongst the 1%ers of the world.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Let me get this straight. A guy says the windows on his car are unbreakable and then proceeds to break not one but two of them in an attempt to demonstrate how tough they are and you don’t find it funny at all? That’s got to be an automatic fail on the Voight-Kampff test.

          • But y’gotta admit: he had balls!

          • Honestly I didn’t expect it not to cause an indentation in the glass.
            If you have ever seen bulletproof glass after being shot at, bullets don’t bounce off without “breaking the glass” either. Whether intentional or not, this expectation from most is why this launch has gone viral globally. (Free global advertising)
            Fail on launch due to something as insignificant such as the glass, which is such an easy fix.
            Now this funny!

            Other than that I would of liked a close up of the glass after the impact though.

            Just for reference:

            Watch “Will a BULLET PROOF Tesla actually stop bullets?” on YouTube
            https://youtu.be/bAlGzsVsbLE

            https://science.howstuffworks.com/question476.htm

          • Ronald Brakels says

            Yes, the mess up may have been as simple as someone being told to install glass that would stop a thrown steel ball without it being made clear what was wanted was glass that wouldn’t show a mark rather than just stop penetration.

          • Ronald Brakels says

            I have looked at the new footage (bittage?) of the Cybertruck window being hit and not breaking. A reasonable sounding explanation on internet as to why they broke during the reveal is they weren’t wound up all the way so they weren’t able to distribute the force as designed.

  6. You won’t be laughing when you are full of holes from the bullets that passed through your flimsy sheet metal car.

  7. Ahhh, that old feud between the Belgians and the Dutch!

    Hope ya enjoyed that link… .

    Nice conclusion:

    “In a movie, if an eccentric billionaire was building tunnels under the earth and sending rockets to Mars, it would be part of a nefarious plan to destroy the world. But no, he just likes tunnels and rockets!“I’m going to build a cartoon truck and then throw metal balls at it until it breaks!” What? Why? Who does that? Elon Musk does that! I’m so glad he does.”

    To my astonishment, my wife likes the design. We figure we’ll buy the dual-motor version… and effoff around Australia… .

  8. I suppose these are the stealth utes that will cart the gold back to the mother ship when Musk goes there for a bit of holiday minerals fossiking.

  9. So, when one of the neanderthals, like the members of the feral government, drops a rock from a freeway overpass, or, throws one from the side of a road, as happens in this intellectually challenged country, and the rock impacts on the windscreen, the driver of the car, being of the nature that he does not like to get his perm or his manicure, messed up, copies Spock in the above GIF, but, does not get out of the car, to examine the damage, in case any wind dislodges his perm, and, calls for a truck to come and move his dented pride.

    I think these toys would not be able to complete a Leyland Brothers trip, or a Book of Eli road trip, or a Mad Max trip (“Ah, gidday mate – how many thousand miles, to a place with electricity, for refuelling?”). And, if one of these was able to chase Eli, an arrow with a broadhead, would likely go through the special bulletproof glass, and nobble the driver.

    Now, a Land Rover Defender (pre-2017) 130 dual cab ute, could go where one of these fake kiddies’ battery powered Delorean Hummer H2 disposable (“in the desert, no-one can charge your batteries”) expensive toys, could not go.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I think it would be a lot easier to be Mad Max if you can run your interceptor off solar panels. Especially since electric motors are far simpler than internal combustion engines and simply don’t wear out like they do.

    • Elon just tweeted that the Cybertruck will have a solar roof option to add 24 kms of range per day.

      Beats kneeling beside an abandoned semi, with a hubcap catching dripping fuel!

      • I am surprised that anyone still believes him, with his demonstrated mental instability and irrational behaviour.

        And, I am not referring to paying people to throw steel balls at the windows of his cars.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          His organizations achieve a considerable amount of what he says they will. Just generally not on time and/or budget. Still waiting on them solar tiles that will be cheaper than a normal roof to appear.

          But yeah, if you give Tesla a deposit for a product that isn’t available to the public yet… Well, I’m not saying you need your head examined, but maybe some parts, perhaps the amygdala, could do with looking at.

        • We can dislike his often irrational behaviour and brash promises, but incorrect timelines notwithstanding, Musk delivers.

          The real quandary for us is: Should we put down A$100 US on the 824 km version, gambling that the USbuck will fall by late 2022, or buy the dual-motor version and suffer running out of juice, out-in-the-middle, during the apocalyptic post-Armageddon scenario Bret of WA believes likely?*

          Only a hundred bucks, so the LR version is probably the way-to-go. 🙂

          * Bret has however correctly reasoned that despite Teslas’ 360 degree cameras filming ‘denters-and-scratchers’ the Cybertruck won’t capture overpass rockers. As we know, ICE vehicles are immune from evil-doers.

          • Ronald Brakels says

            Only $100? I am surprised!

            Looking it up I see it is currently $150 on the Australian site. That’s apparently a deposit. But the site also says US figures are used so that may be $220 Australian. My guess is that “likes” are currently more important to Tesla than deposit money at the moment.

          • You’re correct, Ron. There is confusion… . Note my ‘A$100 US’ for example.

            I figure it’s actually A$150, given the current exchange rate. The site is probably wrong, given the US/AU rates.

            I’ll post your comment on the Cybertruck sites I google alert… and see what happens.

          • Ronald Brakels says

            Futures markets predict a mild increase in the Australian dollar out through 2024. Of course, this is the market’s best guess. It’s turned out to be wrong plenty of times.

          • All the feedback indicates A$150.00, Ron.

            I believe there are now US$10 bil worth of pre-orders.

            Mind you, our youngest son in Montreal was given a C$1000 pre-order on a Model 3, as a present from his GF… and he hasn’t exercised that option, yet.
            Wonder if it’s transferable to the CT?

  10. Not a problem. Since about 1995 cars have generally been built out of toughened plastic.

  11. Poor Musk. If only he’d heard of Land Rovers. How much time and effort might have been saved… .

  12. The article above, is missing the most revealing picture of the vehicle, as discovered by the ABC investigate reporters:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/11733560-3×2-940×627.jpg

  13. EDIT: I’ve removed this comment because Elon Musk’s beliefs in supernatural forces are not relevant.

    Even if they are kinkier than average.

    • I’d remove all the posts re ‘perms’ as well, if I was you, son.

      It’s not always realised by rock-chuckers, but glass houses _also_ have glass windows. When you actually _qualify_ for a perm, you might actually get away with that kinda crack!~

      (Gawd I laffed when I realised why ‘perms’ were an issue 4U! 🙂 )

  14. It is certainly the most interesting vehicle I have seen in at least 40 years and I’m only 36 years old.

    It defiantly divides the masses. Everyone I speak to either loves it, hates it or hasn’t heard of it yet.

    I fall into the former category. It is amazing!

  15. I recall us laffing at the VW Beetle, back in the fifties, Nick. As teens, we referred to them as ‘Pregnant Pasties’. Yet these strangely unique vehicles were a huge success and were manufactured for 65 years. We were actually in Mexico when the last few rolled off the assembly lines… .

    If everyone who (so far) placed deposit/orders proceeded, the Cybertruck has US$6 bil worth of turnover.

    Is it pretty? Well, I ain’t pretty*… but I’m pretty sure we’re going to go ahead.
    Can’t take it with us, so we might as well drive it… and enjoy it!~

    * Sorry, Bret. Just couldn’t help it… . 😉

  16. Update:

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Musk-touts-187-000-Cybertruck-orders-two-days-14859434.php

    … so… US$7.5 billion in pre-orders, if they all proceed to buy the _cheapest_ <US$40K model… .

  17. I think this will catch the “teens’n’tradies” vote that Morrison put the frighteners in last election. Even the fact that it will probably be a few years before these vehicles hit our shores, that demographic will WANT that vehicle so bad they can taste it, and like sharks smelling blood in the water, those votes will cause the pollies on both sides (and even the Greens but for different reasons) to start circling and planning to introduce the concept of subsidies. I’d keep an eye on the media, and see if/when there is positive discussion on “e-utes” in “the bubble”.

  18. Martyn also in Western Australia but without all the odd hangups says

    Lessor, it’s late, I’m tired and the neurones just aren’t firing. But I gotta know. What’s the bg on the perms?

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