During an exchange with followers on Twitter, Elon Musk admitted that the Cybertruck might flop, but he’s particularly fond of the design. The Cybertruck debuted in 2019 at one of Musk’s many product reveal events, during which design leader Franz von Holzhausen threw a metal ball at the windows to demonstrate their shatter-resistant features. The windows did crack but didn’t break all the way through.
Within weeks of the debut, Tesla had more than 250,000 pre-orders of the Cybertruck. By the time Tesla held its Battery Day event last September, it had well over half a million orders – so many, Musk said, that “We stopped counting.”
Its release as a production-ready vehicle has seen several delays, however. At the investor meeting for Q1 2021, Tesla listed the Cybertruck as still “in development.” Recent changes to the Cybertruck include a four-wheel drive designed to help it maneuver out of a tight spot, which will hopefully make it more competitive with vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV and its “crab mode.” Other competing models include the more traditional-looking electric version of the Ford F-150 Lightning. Tesla is expected to issue an update on the Cybertruck at the Q2 2021 meeting on July 26.
Elon Musk has also announced that the Cybertruck will have no door handles and instead be capable of opening its own doors when it recognizes its owner.
Even so, the Cybertruck may find its niche among consumers who want something unique-looking. Some gamers thought that it looked like a low-resolution version of the trucks in their favorite games. Others just like it because, like Musk, they think it looks cool and different from most pickup trucks.
If it can be combined with Tesla’s camera-based Sentinel Mode, the Cybertruck’s shatter-resistant windows will make an attractive tool in Tesla vehicles’ crime-fighting arsenal. The company may have done some work on improving its windows since Holzhausen threw the metal ball at the showroom model.
Although privacy advocates are not particularly fond of the onboard cameras that make Sentinel Mode and Tesla’s driver assist programs possible, Tesla cameras have helped law enforcement officials crack cases like a string of hate crimes in Missouri and some weird highway shootings with a BB gun in California. Sentinel Mode has also captured video evidence in cases of vandalism and theft targeting Tesla vehicles. In response to attempted thefts and work done by security researchers, Tesla did fix one possible security flaw involving the key fob that would have enabled thieves to steal a vehicle in only a few minutes.
The Cybertruck’s design will hopefully be finalized by the time Tesla’s Gigafactory in Austin is ready to start producing it. Gigafactory Austin is expected to employ 10,000 people and manufacture larger vehicles like the Cybertruck and Tesla Semi. Tesla already has job openings for Gigafactory Austin listed on its careers page.