Radical Truck Design Sends Tesla Down 6% But Batteries and Price Show Future Dominance

Tesla’s stock is down 6% because of the radical Cybertruck design and broken windows during the presentation yesterday.

The market is ignoring the fact that Tesla can place a different more conventional truck design on top of the Cybertruck skateboard.

Tesla can sell the Cybertruck and a regular truck. Tesla has about 18 months before they actually start building the Cybertruck. They can react to the number of $100 deposits and determine what to do.

Tesla showed massive battery and pricing capabilities will arrive within two years. They will offer a $39,900 vehicle with 250+ mile range with 5 seats and 100 cubic feet of capacity. The vehicle has about 100 kwh of battery for the lower-end cybertruck. This means Tesla can profitably sell large vehicles at lower prices. They were also offering over 500 mile range on the $70,000 version.

Electric vehicles are built on skateboards. Tesla can easily change the top seats and roof. SpaceX has shown how quickly development with stainless steel can shift and adapt.

Tesla can create a regular truck and a large SUV at prices at or below combustion engine vehicles.

62 thoughts on “Radical Truck Design Sends Tesla Down 6% But Batteries and Price Show Future Dominance”

  1. It’s just too improbable that a team like Tesla, with input from SpaceX etc, after everything they’ve learned the hard way, would make such a basic mistake. Not impossible, just not plausible enough to really take for granted, esp when there were mentions of what’s in that previously filmed video.

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  2. I’m starting to believe you are correct. And I think that when we need a new car in about 5 years time, we will also buy a Cybertruck. My wife is actually favorably inclined..

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  3. New information seems to confirm you theory. There is a film of Franz throwing the same (presumably?) size metal ball at the car window before the demonstration.

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  4. They can’t flatten the roof of break the sloping rear. They intend to revolutionize how cars are made, and they have dropped the unibody and go instead for an exoskeleton (Musk’s words) that provides all the structural integrity. That simplicity allows them to reach such an incredible low price, but also mandates them those flat and triangular shapes.

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  5. Yeah, but that glass wasn’t framed, so it bounced quite a lot. While the glasses on the side windows where framed and couldn’t flex to absorb the impact energy.

    They just didn’t test it beyond the most superficial trial. Unbelievable but true.

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  6. But you can damage the surface slightly, then there is an initiating point. These impacts are not in the same position so one impact can produce a surface scratch and the next impact can be to the side so that the scratch is now in an area of tensile stress.

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  7. I will agree that

    • Doing multiple impacts on the same window can result in surface damage, which will now make the whole thing more likely to shatter. Especially if the impact position isn’t the same each time. Drop weight tests usually land in the same spot, but just throwing the ball is obviously random.
    • Making the glass more securely mounted will increase the odds of breaking. Maybe the testing was with loose, or at least padded, mounts and the windows in the actual vehicle were more secure?
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  8. No. What basis would I have to say it’s the most likely? I would take DrPat’s word if I assumed his experience is as he describes. Over someone who seems motivated to pick his favorite partisan explanation over impartiality.

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  9. You go from ‘how about this’ hypothesis, to taking it for granted.

    It’s more like you don’t know any more than any of us here in the comments. Even if we agree, let’s be real about that.

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  10. Some things are not cheaper on a small car compared to a large car, but many are. For instance, load bearing structures, motor and batteries. Also the small car could forego the air suspension, the 1110VAC and the 230 VAC outlets, the stainless steel and the armored glass with these savings, it may be possible to approach half price with a vanilla car of half the weight..

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  11. How about this for an explanation? The team tried lots of other objects before the demonstration and because the free pane could withstand the ball being dropped on it, they just assumed that the window in the truck would also manage it.

    But it couldn’t. It would always have broken on the first try with the ball bearing. Thats why both windows broke at the first try.

    The moral is: always try exactly that what you want to demonstrate. Not something “worse”or something equivalent, try *exactly* what you want to demonstrate…

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  12. Come on… The doofus team tried smaller objects before the demonstration and the windows were ok and they just assumed that the windows would also manage being subjected to the ball bearing.

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  13. It could have a market in Iraq, Syria and maybe Lebanon. Some of the bush survivalist in USA could buy a few. What a disaster and what a missed opportunity. I think that after innovating and disrupting the electric vehicle market, shown the right way, now Musk is more liability than a resource for Tesla. And i highly doubt that he will be able to swallow his pride and redesign the truck into something that could be sold.

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  14. I’m trying to guess how many people at Tesla actually use a pick up. Pick up folks like versatility in what they can carry. How you going to carry long things, like pipe or lumber in this thing? How you going to mount a rack on it? If you do put a rack on it will you be too tall for parking garages? Oh, and loading things that high up… This is more in the class of the Explorer and Ridgeline trucks which keep the sedan amenities and offer diluted pick up truck functionality. Tesla should put this thing in a rocket around the sun and be done with it.

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  15. Ah, hello…if both windows are made exactly the same, yes, absolutely they will suffer the exact same failure after being subjected to same cycles of abuse or use .

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  16. It has lockable side storage accessible from outside the bed on both sides as well as the frunk. 100 cubic feet of lockable outside storage in total.

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  17. It’s not low probability if the vehicle was tested repeatedly before. It would fit with Musk (I forget when) saying later in the presentation that that same vehicle is the one that was in the videos/trials. (I forget which one)

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  18. So the saboteur found a replacement glass with exactly the same thickness, color and correct strength, managed to sneak this other glass into a purchase order for the glass.

    This saboteur was tech savvy enough to find a glass that was strong enough to withstand a lot of preceding tests when the team threw other things at the window, but weak enough to break when the ball bearing was thrown at it. Don’t you hear how stupid this sounds?

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  19. The surfaces are not exactly flat. There is a distinct bend of all the metal surfaces at about waist height, for instance. So the metal sheets have to be pressed anyway. So why not give them a somewhat smoother shape? Why not have part of the roof be horizontal? No, its not technology, it’s about aesthetics…

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  20. So there was a low chance of breaking the front window and it happened to happen on the first try. And then the same low probability happened for the second window on the first try. Now how likely is that? Two low probability events back to back?

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  21. The traction on asphalt is really only set by the friction coefficient of the rubber against asphalt. Do you really think Tesla has invented a radical new rubber? Please consider that the f150 had wheels spinning in its forward direction.

    Also, the lightest F150 weights 6100 pounds, meaning that the cybertruck probably weights substantially more than this…

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  22. So is the stock down 6% because market analysts don’t think this pickup truck has what stock analysts consider to be good styling? Or because a Rocket blew up yesterday that is part of the same overall technological industrial conglomerate?

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  23. I’ve worked in the area of glass breaking under impact loads, and having the window supports come loose would not cause the fracture we saw.

    The thing about impact fracture is that when you are close to the critical point it’s a statistical thing. X joules of impact has a Y % chance of fracture. If Y is only 10% then you can test it 5 times, get no fracture, then the 6th time it breaks.

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  24. There are lots of things you need the same amount of regardless of size and weight. You can’t make 2 half versions for the same price. 2 wheels is a motorcycle. Which do you want a windshield or a back window? Half a steering wheel?
    Also, a vehicle of the same weight but better traction should be able to out pull the other. Further if your truck is rear wheel drive and 65% of the weight is on the front axle, and the other truck is 4 wheel drive…what do you think will happen?

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  25. Yes, all who uses pickups at work complained that you could not access the sides who is there you have the tool lockers.

    Yes with side hatches it maks more sense.

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  26. The Honda Ridgeline is still a unibody, they just made it look more like the taditional pickup. They even improved on their previous gas mileage in the redesign.

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  27. Don’t get too caught up in the design. What you see before you is not even legal in North America. That strip of lights intended to be the headlight? It’s a no-go to the DOT. Notice it’s also missing turn signals fore and aft? No side marker lights. No side view mirrors. They haven’t been crash tested it. The chassis and powertrain are likely a done deal. The body not so much.

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  28. Yeah, it feels like a rough draft of what could be a cool, interesting design. It just looks like a prototype and not a finished product.

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  29. I would bet (tho I’m not certain) that it has to with the sledgehammer hits preceding the window hits. The bare panes of glass that they dropped balls onto were repeatedly tightened in place, whereas the truck door assembly was visibly shaking with each sledgehammer impact – you could see the handles wiggling.

    It wouldn’t be surprising if the truck window had come loose, although from a physics POV I don’t think I understand how that would have helped cracks at the point of impact rather than at whatever points the window attaches to the door – those being the points of most stress.

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  30. It seems quite strange to me, than Tesla and Elon Musk would allow such a amateur error like not sufficiently testing glass for cracks before it is demonstrated in public, since so moch is at stake and stock did drop quite a few percent.

    In my opinion it smells like an industrial sabotage, a smart way how to humiliate Musk in public or drive tesla stock down or just some competitive automaker giving some bucks to someone,…
    It seems very smart way to humiliate Musk, since Elon talked about how strong the steel is and the glass, draw parallels with armoured personal carriers, etc,… and then just glass cracks and cybertruck is shown as weak and Musk totatally humiliated.

    Tesla had serious problems with internal sabouters,… It is quite reasonable, since they have so many enemies with larger amouts of capital.

    Of course the people testing knew, what the glass can sustain and what not. Glass should be much stronger and deflect much more than that simple ball – otherwise they wouldn’t publicly go with it, they are not dumb.

    So the question is did someone change the glass or knew and lied about the glass intentionally? Would be quite illogical to allow themselves such a flop, at least in my opinion.
    Seemed really bad for Musk, man, destroyed the presentation.

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  31. My understanding is the triangular design is in large part to accommodate the unusual exoskeleton/uni body design choice. Since this is a truck, it needs to be able to handle to massive torsional strain from towing. I think Honda was the only other truck to try it and they shied away from it quickly. Based on the need to tow I don’t believe its as simple as slapping a new body on the skateboard…

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  32. They should flatten the roof to eliminate that ugly ‘peak’ and break that long sloping rear line behind the rear windows to give it some flat bed length. It’ll then be recognizable as a pickup, but keep a lot of the hard edges.

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  33. The corollary of Brians observation is that Tesla should be able to produce some really low price cars as well. The only way the cybertruck could tow the Ford F150 is it weights more (it’s a question of friction and basic physics), so Tesla can make a 6100 pound+ truck for less than 40 kUSD.

    So, a smallish car weighting 3000 pounds with a 50 kWh battery, single motor, should not cost more than 20 kUSD. Granted, this would not be for the US market, but this car could be a massive hit on the global market. At this price point, it would kill all IC-cars.

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  34. It doesn’t really matter what the profit margins are if it sells 1,000 vehicles a quarter instead of 40,000.

    Styling matters.

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  35. Brian is correct about the cost implications. A price tag of 40 kUSD that includes a 100 kWh battery implies a pack price of much less than 100 USD per kWh, which is amazing. Come to think of it, it probably implies an even lower price.

    Today, Tesla operates with a gross profit margin of 23%. So let’s assume this for the cybertruck as well. That would mean that there would be something like 31 kUSD to build the whole car and finance the battery. Given that the car is big, surely this implies that the battery costs less than, say 8 kUSD? I.e. less than 80 USD per kWh at the pack level. Just amazing….

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  36. Also notice that it’s not a *bad* idea to have the skin of stainless steel. And if it is possible to use the skin as a load bearing structure, why not? Just make it into a shape that most people can like, and it’s a killer selling point.

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  37. 6% percent is substantial. I guess the market is predicting that the cybertruck will not sell in large volumes. Such a wasted opportunity….

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  38. Tesla *could* offer different designs, just as you said. But will they? God I hope they will. The engineering is *great*, the design is not. Just let the customers choose from the same performance with “cyberpunk” and without “cyberpunk”.

    A real full size SUV at 70 kUSD with 500+ miles of range would be a real boost for Tesla as a company. I just hope that Elon can swallow his pride and let the public choose for themselves what they want…. But somehow, I am not sure that he will give us this choice..

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  39. Too early to say if it’s a failure.

    But the first impressions matter for a new product, and in general (and for the comments I’ve seen), it seems this one was too avant-garde or too retro for the current public’s taste.

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