Tesla Cybertruck's stiff structure and sharp design raise safety concerns

  • Tesla said that the cold-rolled stainless body panels of Cybertruck are designed to absorb impact during a crash.
Tesla
Tesla said that the cold-rolled stainless body panels of Cybertruck are designed to absorb impact during a crash.
Tesla
Tesla said that the cold-rolled stainless body panels of Cybertruck are designed to absorb impact during a crash.

It's been just a few days since Tesla started delivering its most awaited electric vehicle in the last five years, the Cybertruck. Almost immediately after that, the electric pickup truck's stiff structure and sharp design have raised safety concerns among automotive experts, claims a Reuters report. The design of the Tesla Cybertruck could hurt pedestrians and cyclists and damage other vehicles on roads, many automotive safety experts reportedly believe.

Tesla Cybertruck comes with a design that grabs attention almost immediately. The pure electric pickup truck comes with an unusual design compared to other pickup trucks. Automotive safety experts reportedly believe that the vehicle's angular shape and stiff stainless steel exoskeleton could pose a safety threat to pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles on roads.

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Tesla has claimed that the structure of the pickup truck can absorb impact during a crash. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a social media post on Tuesday that he was highly confident that Cybertruck will be safer than other pickup trucks for occupants and pedestrians. While it is about making the vehicle safe, automotive experts fear that could pose a safety threat to others. The EV gets flat panels and long linear edges which are visually distinct. Musk even claimed that the material used in the EV had broken the stamping machine that forms the panels.

Tesla said that the cold-rolled stainless body panels of Cybertruck are designed to absorb impact during a crash. The front and rear structures of the vehicle claim to have energy-absorbing ribs that help dissipate energy, and during a side impact the skin of the door carried a majority of the crash load. In fact, Musk hinted that Cybertruck comes with a rigid and stiff structure. "If you have an argument with another car, you will win," Musk said.

Speaking about the safety concern related to the Tesla Cybertruck's design and structure Adrian Lund, the former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), whose vehicle crash tests are an industry standard, said that the EV's skin is very stiff due to use of thick stainless steel. "The big problem there is if they really make the skin of the vehicle very stiff by using thick stainless steel, then when people hit their heads on it, it's going to cause more damage to them," he said.

The thick hard metal and overall design of the car minimise its crumple zones, which is another point of concern for experts. George Washington University's automotive safety professor Samer Hamdar believes that there might be a possibility of a shock-absorbent mechanism that will limit the fact that the Cybertruck has a limited crumple zone. David Friedman, the former acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said that it would be highly problematic for other cars in a crash situation with Cybertruck. "If you're in a crash with another vehicle that has a crumple zone and your car is more stiff, then their cars are going to crush and yours is resistant," he said.

First Published Date: 09 Dec 2023, 09:35 AM IST
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