Tesla’s big unveiling of the “Cybertruck,” its long-awaited electric pickup truck, Thursday night didn’t go quite as planned.
During a demonstration, Tesla CEO Elon Musk touted Cybertruck’s robust exterior, which is made of the same stainless steel material used to make SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft, and its “armored glass” windows.
To prove it, Musk asked his chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, to sling a sledgehammer at the truck. The driver’s side door bounced the sledgehammer right off without leaving a mark. Von Holzhausen then took a small steel ball and tossed it at the truck’s glass window—which immediately shattered.
“Oh my f—ing god!” Musk exclaimed, adding, “maybe that was a little too hard.”
He allowed von Holzhausen to try again but at a different spot—only to see another crack.
“It didn’t go through, so that’s a plus side,” Musk noted, “room for improvement.”
Those watching the live event saw the incident more like entertainment rather than a quality disaster.
“It’s classic Tesla. It’s poetic,” Gene Munster, co-founder of Loup Ventures, which invests in frontier technology startups, told Bloomberg. “I applaud the company for taking risks: this was not a boring presentation. The broken glass was unpredictable. This wasn’t practiced.”
“This obviously wasn’t a true production vehicle, so Tesla gets a pass for now,” said Akshay Anand, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “But if they are going to market the glass as a differentiator, they better be able to show stronger tests leading up to launch.”
Production of the “Cybertruck” is expected to begin in late 2021, Musk said, with the price starting at $39,900.
Compared to the yet to be improved glass windows, auto analysts and potential buyers are more concerned about the look of the truck.
“Musk has been enthusiastic about his Blade Runner-inspired design for months, but we were still surprised how futuristic he went with this one and believe it may shatter his dreams,” analysts of investment bank Cowen wrote in a note. “While we are pleased to see Tesla enter the most profitable segment of the North American passenger car market, we do not see this vehicle in its current form being a success.”
Opinions are widely divided among Tesla fans on Twitter. While some rushed to place the pre-order deposit, others went down a different path to create memes around the conceptual-looking vehicle.