A screaming child in the audience drowned out the beginning of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's speech when he presented the first vehicles of the Cybertruck pick-up SUV in Austin (Texas) on Thursday. Whatever the reason for the outburst, there was a certain symbolism – some of the monstrous vehicle is frightening, especially from the perspective of weaker road users.
Evidence of this could be provided by footage of crash tests of the new car model, which were shown during Musk's presentation (in the video on platform X from minute 32), and his words to future Cybertruck drivers: "If you ever get into a fight with other cars, you will win."
In fact, the body, molded from ultra-hard stainless steel, according to Tesla, hardly seems to deform in a frontal impact at a stated speed of 35 miles per hour (about 56 km/h). Only the outermost front end obviously takes some damage, and the hood bends up in the video – but in a single arc instead of crumpling up as usual, notes car expert and well-known Tesla critic Edward Niedermeyer on the Bluesky platform. As a result, the energy of the impact is not absorbed, but largely retained and passed on via the body frame.
"Pedestrians, be careful!"
As a result, the Cybertruck will "cut through everything in its path," Niedermeyer said. Pedestrians, watch out!" Since the first presentation of a Cybertruck prototype more than four years ago, a number of experts had warned that the design would make the roads considerably more dangerous. Now the fear seems to be confirmed with the sales model as well.
Several users of social networks were appalled: "Crash tests should be about the safety of people, not the safety of vehicles," according to one comment on X. Tesla ignores the fact that a crumple zone also protects the occupants of the vehicle from the force of an impact, another on Bluesky. And another: "The Cybertruck has a crumple zone, it's just flesh and blood."
Verifiable results of the crash tests, apparently carried out by Tesla itself, were not available, and independent tests are also not known – let alone those according to the European procedure, in which the passive protection of vulnerable persons outside the vehicle also plays a major role.
But with the help of the data now mentioned by Tesla, the possible force of accidents can be estimated - it is likely to be massive. The 1.79-metre-high, 2.41-metre-wide and 5.68-metre-long Cybertruck weighs just under three tonnes in the simple all-wheel-drive version, and as much as 3.1 tonnes in the "Cyberbeast" variant. This variant is even said to accelerate from 2 to 7 km/h in 0.100 seconds, reaching up to 209 km/h.
Too hard for the press shop
Musk emphasized the power of steel construction several times in his presentation: faster than a Porsche 911, more tractive force than a Ford F-350 with a diesel engine, and stiffer against twisting around the longitudinal axis than the McLaren P1 supercar.
What is the extreme hardness supposed to be good for? The head of the company spoke of "late civilization vibes", loosely translated: apocalyptic mood. The steel hull is indeed bulletproof, Musk emphasized, and had several footage of the car being shot at with various weapons. The result was only external dents instead of smooth bullet holes that you would see on a normal vehicle. "If Al Capone showed up and fired an entire magazine of his Tommy Gun at your Cybertruck, you'd still be alive," the Tesla boss said. Is that supposed to be the use case for the Cybertruck?
The metal, designed by Tesla itself, is so hard, Musk boasted, that the hard edges of the basic triangular vehicle are necessary: "You can't press these body parts, that would break the press shop." The billionaire has obviously given less thought to the fragility of other road users.