It’s been over a year since Tesla unveiled Cybertruck, the Blade Runner-inspired electric pickup that was supposed to rattle the conventional notion of utility trucks. Yet, the world still hasn’t quite come to terms with the Cybertruck’s eccentric look—so much so that Elon Musk said he might actually introduce a more “normal-looking” pickup if the current version doesn’t sell.
In a YouTube video last week, acclaimed automobile designer Frank Stephenson, who has designed cars for Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren and other world-famous automakers, shared his thoughts on Tesla’s controversial truck (which is expected to start delivery next year.)
Stephenson’s main issue with the Cybertruck is how quickly it may fall out of fashion. “In every OEM project I’ve worked on, my responsibility has been to create a car that will still feel fresh at least ten years into the future,” the designer said in the video.
The designer compared the electric pickup to Sony’s original PlayStation, whose video game graphics stunned the world upon its release in 1995 but became dated in just a few years as computer graphic processing rapidly advanced.
“The Cybertruck is a low-poly rendering of something that has the potential to be extremely beautiful,” Stephenson explained. Noting the increasingly streamlined look of race cars in Sony’s video games, he added, “This just makes it obvious that, over the generations of this vehicle’s evolution, like the evolution of video games, the pursuit is going to be of something more reminiscent of the natural world…If technological progress does not march into the future hand in hand with nature, then it is no progress at all.”
While the Cybertruck is certainly not a universally appealing truck, its fans have given credit to how revolutionary its design is. But Stephenson said it was hardly Tesla’s invention to make a triangle-shaped car.
“When you’ve been around cars for as long as I have, you wouldn’t be too shocked, because maybe you’ve seen it before,” he said.
An example would be French automaker Citroën’s 1980s concept car, Karin, which featured a similar “pyramidal” shape to the Cybertruck and actually had a much better designed interior than Tesla, according to Stephenson.
The interiors of the two vehicles “are equally minimal, yet the Cybertruck feels cold and isolated like a Mars rover,” he said, “while the Karin looks warm and with an essential amount of buttons for you to explore. The fabric of the seats and carpet makes you feel in a lounge on wheels.”
A modern-day example of a sensibly designed futuristic vehicle, in Stephenson’s opinion, would be Buick’s new electric concept, Electra, which features a bulky shape similar to that of a Cybertruck but without the sharp angles.
“Straight away, I feel I’m looking at a vision of the future that I will buy into,” said the designer. “The treatment of the surface looks organic. And it just invites you touch it. The attractiveness of the design makes a Cybertruck seem almost repulsive.”
Watch the video below: