The Cybertruck has sparked intense debate since its initial reveal, given its unique angular design and ambitious promises. While opinions on its appearance vary, the vehicle faces substantial concerns beyond its reflective exterior. Numerous design and quality issues plague a car that’s still awaiting consumer release.
Elon Musk initially promised the pickup to be available in 2021, but delivery was delayed. Later, he announced production for 2022. This date then got postponed to early 2023. Now, the release has been pushed back again to “late 2023.”
While Tesla attributed the delays to supply chain issues, industry experts believe that the Cybertruck might have to start over from scratch before it can be mass-produced.
The Issue of Flat Panels
One such expert is Adrian Clarke, a professional car designer and columnist for The Autopian. Upon initially seeing the Cybertruck, Clarke immediately predicted that it wouldn’t be able to enter production.
Clarke was concerned about the Cybertruck’s ability to comply with crash and pedestrian impact regulations. He also noted the challenge of manufacturing its pristine, straight panels.
In a conversation with Jesus Diaz of Fast Company, Clarke explained that car panels are typically curved during production. This curving is designed to maintain the panels’ shape when they are stamped with large metal hydraulic presses.
However, the Cybertruck’s entirely flat panels present a problem. Flat panels vibrate and struggle to retain their shape, leading to significant stamping difficulties.
Additionally, the misalignment between the Cybertruck’s doors and body highlights concerns about the vehicle’s overall build quality.
Clarke suggested that Tesla may need to incorporate foam or sound deadening materials to properly stamp the completely flat panels.
Why Tesla’s Solutions Are Inadequate
Musk himself has acknowledged that the truck’s straight edges cause even minor assembly errors to become blindingly obvious. Musk has attempted to compensate for this issue by designing the Cybertruck with unprecedented accuracy. He’s instructed employees that all Cybertruck parts need to be accurate within 10 microns.
However, in light of the thermal expansion and contraction that occurs in the auto manufacturing process, many analysts believe Musk’s order to be impossible to fulfill.
The angular design of Tesla’s Cybertruck, which Musk has highlighted, also foreshadows a concerning aspect for future drivers: repairing even a minor dent will be a daunting task. Due to the stainless steel body, imperfections cannot be painted over. Imperfections will be permanent unless the entire panel is replaced or a meticulous repair job is undertaken.
Without a complete redesign, it’s quite possible that the handful of Cybertrucks that have been spotted in recent weeks could be some of the only ones that are ever produced.