In Review

Tesla Cybertruck 2021: Elon Musk reveals why windows smashed in botched demo

Divisive design hasn’t stopped 200,000 customers pre-ordering the electric pickup

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed why the metal-reinforced windows of the new Cybertruck cracked during last week’s disastrous launch event. 

In a bid to demonstrate the vehicle’s super strong glass, which can reportedly withstand a 9mm bullet being fired at it, Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen inadvertently smashed the front left window after throwing a metal ball at it. The same thing happened when he threw a ball at the rear left-side window.

Responding to a fan on Twitter, Musk said an earlier demonstration, in which von Holzhausen highlighted the car’s armoured doors by hitting them with a sledgehammer, caused a small crack to form in the passenger window.

“Sledgehammer impact on door cracked base of glass, which is why steel ball didn’t bounce off,” he said. “Should have done steel ball on window, *then* sledgehammer the door.” 

The “futuristic” pickup truck was unveiled on Thursday at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, where the Cybertruck’s “angular” stainless steel bodywork “drew a mixed response” from fans and critics, the BBC reports. 

That said, Tesla has already accepted more than 200,000 “pre-orders” for the “divisive” electric truck, says The Verge. Customers must to place a $100 (£77) refundable deposit to reserve their very own Cybertruck, meaning the EV firm has made $20m (£15.5m) in pre-orders alone. 

Whether you love it or loathe it, there are plenty of new features to get fans excited about the electric pickup:

Price and release 

Only entry-level, single-motor models costing $39,900 (£31,000) will be available when the Cybertruck launches in the US in late 2021, says Auto Express. This will be followed by a mid-range, dual-motor version priced at $49,900 (£39,000) and a $69,900 (£55,000) “Plaid” performance model in 2022. 

Tesla, however, has yet to reveal the launch schedule or pricing for the European market. 

Design and interior 

Simply put, there’s nothing even remotely like the Cybertruck on the market today.  

The wedge-shaped vehicle clearly takes inspiration from the sci-fi world, particularly from the futuristic vehicle styling of the late 1970s and early 80s. 

Musk claims that the Lotus Esprit from the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me was a key inspiration for the Cybertruck’s design, though there appears to be elements taken from the time-travelling DeLorean DMC-12 from 1985’s Back to the Future.

The body is made from the same steel used by Musk’s SpaceX company in the construction of its Starship rocket and the CEO says it’s tough enough to withstand a 9mm bullet, reports the Financial Times

The sloping rear roofline conceals the rear bed of the vehicle and retracts when drivers need to store something behind the cabin. There’s also a ramp built into the tailgate, allowing owners to ride a bicycle or quad bike straight on to the rear bed. 

It’s just as futuristic in the cabin as it is on the outside. There are angles aplenty on the seats and trim panels, with a single 17in display sitting in the centre of the dashboard. The steering wheel is similar to that of the Tesla Roadster, sporting a “flat bottom” and a “cut-off top”, says Auto Express

Battery range and performance

The car’s battery specs look just as impressive. Range-topping models will be capable of travelling 500 miles on a single charge, as well as sprinting from 0-60mph in a hypercar-baiting 2.9 seconds, says Autocar.  

Entry-level cars will offer 250 miles of range on a single charge and a 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds, the magazine says. Mid-spec models up the range to 300 miles and lower the 0-60mph dash to 4.5 seconds.  

It’s practical, too. As reported by Auto Express, the pickup can carry a payload of up to 1,587kg, and has 2,832 litres of lockable exterior storage and a towing capacity of 6,350kg.

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