Before it took its current form as a cyberpunk, stainless steel truck with sharp lines and edges, the Tesla Cybertruck went through various iterations. Originally, it had curves and an aluminum exterior. CEO Elon Musk and Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen collaborated in a design studio, often on Fridays, behind the SpaceX Headquarters in Los Angeles.
These previously unknown details about the Cybertruck are included in Walter Issacson’s biography Elon Musk, which is set to be released on September 11. A leaked book excerpt was given to reporters at Teslarati.
In its early days, Tesla faced significant challenges, including near bankruptcy, multiple vehicle launches, and what Musk referred to as “production hell” surrounding the Model 3 launch. In early 2017, Musk and Von Holzhausen began brainstorming ideas for the Cybertruck. The Cybertruck would eventually be unveiled after over two years of development.
Initial designs for the Cybertruck were far from what we know it as today. They explored traditional designs, even using a Chevrolet Silverado as a model for inspiration.
However, Musk desired something more exciting and surprising. Historical vehicles like the El Camino provided inspiration with their cool vibes. Von Holzhausen designed a pickup truck in a similar style, but upon closer inspection, they felt it lacked the authoritative presence of a true pickup truck.
A significant turning point occurred when Musk and Franz visited the Petersen Automotive Museum. They realized that pickup truck designs had remained relatively unchanged for about eighty years. This realization became a key point in their presentation for the Cybertruck’s unveiling in November 2019.
They then began brainstorming ideas on how to create a unique pickup truck. The first consideration was the choice of material, initially favoring aluminum for its suitability. However, titanium was also discussed due to its durability.
After weeks of contemplating various materials, Musk surprised everyone by announcing that he would manufacture the entire vehicle using stainless steel.
Not everyone in the Tesla Design Studio was convinced. Rumors circulated about strong opposition to the Cybertruck project, with some hoping Musk would opt for a more conventional design.
Musk reassured the team, saying, “We’re not doing a traditional boring truck. We can always do that later. I want to build something that’s cool. Like, don’t resist me.”
In November 2019, Musk and Franz unveiled the highly futuristic Cybertruck.
Fast forward almost four years, and the Cybertruck is now on the verge of its first deliveries. Tesla plans to hand over the initial units by the end of this year.