It doesn’t look like you’ll get the Cybertruck that you ordered

The Cybertruck was widely criticized for its weird shape, but that was mainly because of how it looked. Soon after the unveiling, a lot of other practical problems came to light, such as parking woes, truckbed usability to haul longer objects, and so on. One such glaring problem that raised a lot of eyebrows was the safety aspect. The Cybertruck sure has strong components, but how can it be tested for crash ratings and how will it fare in case of a rollover? With a lot of questions unanswered, an expert in Europe has deemed the Cybertruck to be far from road-legal. This is a huge blow to the company. Will Tesla heavily modify the Cybertruck to attain road legality?

The Cybertruck In Its Original Avatar Will Not Be Road-Legal In Europe

If You Pre-Ordered the Tesla Cybertruck in Europe, You Might Want to Cancel It Exterior
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The odd-shape of the Cybertruck has been the talk of the town since it was launched, and it doesn’t seem to be fit for the European roads according to an expert. As reported by Spiegel Online, Stephan Teller, an automotive functional safety expert at SGS-TÜV Saar GmbH, has said that the Cybertruck in this form cannot clear the European standards for safety.

He said that for the Cybertruck to attain legal status, "strong modifications to the basic structure" need to be made.

In the U.S., automakers have the option to certify the cars themselves in terms of road-worthiness. However, that’s not the case in Europe. There automakers have to go through a string of different criteria that involves the automaker itself, the government, and independent technical services like the TÜV. Also, the Cybertruck qualifies as a light-duty truck in the States which exempts in from passive safety of the occupants. On the other hand, Europe is stringent about passive and pedestrian safety.

If You Pre-Ordered the Tesla Cybertruck in Europe, You Might Want to Cancel It Exterior
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Teller said, "The front of the vehicle must not be stiff,". "The bumper and bonnet must be able to absorb energy to protect the pedestrians." This is very important for the pedestrians as the body is designed in such a way that it deliberately deforms in an accident and absorbs the energy of the impact in order to minimize injuries. But, the Cybertruck is built from cold-rolled stainless steel, the same steel that was used to build the SpaceX rocket, that cannot be deformed, thus making pedestrians vulnerable to higher risks and fatalities.

As far as passengers of the Cybertruck are concerned, they have it just as bad. Teller added,

"Nothing is deformed in the event of an impact; instead, enormous forces act on the occupants. Airbags then no longer help."

So, unless Elon Musk invents the same inertial dampers that keep the characters in Star Trek from smashing into their ship’s bulkheads when jumping to warp, passengers are in for a bad time as well.

To become legal in Europe, the Cybertruck will have to be heavily modified. No changes are recommended as of now, but there are a few glaringly obvious things that will have to be changed. For starters, the cold-rolled stainless steel itself will have to make way for the standard stainless steel that can absorb impacts and deform. Then there’s the rollover test – how will the Cybertruck perform in that?

It’s More Than Just The Safety Aspects

If You Pre-Ordered the Tesla Cybertruck in Europe, You Might Want to Cancel It Exterior
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Other than the safety aspects, the Cybertruck must come with some essential must-haves to run on the road - a lot of which we didn’t see on the debut prototype. These include wing mirrors, rounded-off edges, and smaller tires that can be used on smoothly on the tarmac, to name a few. Given the shape of the roof, the truck can’t go turtle, which plays in Tesla’s favor. And, given Tesla’s technical know-how is bringing a low center of gravity, this should be easy-peasy. Remember how the NHTSA struggled to roll over a Model X? But, what if the roof’s role of being the cross member to add rigidity to the chassis itself proves to be fatal? Also, how will it fare in a head-on collision?

Musk was spotted driving around the Cybertruck on a couple of occasions. He rolled up to the hotspot Nobu where the truck was parked in front of the restaurant, allowing passerby and paparazzi to shoot videos and photos. However, Musk himself underestimated the dimensions of the truck and ended up running over a traffic service bollard while exiting after dinner. Perhaps, rearview mirrors would’ve helped him in this case (wink!).

The Tri-Motor Cybertruck Will Come Before the Base Single-Motor Trim

If You Pre-Ordered the Tesla Cybertruck in Europe, You Might Want to Cancel It
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Tesla recently announced a change in its production timeline.

Previously, the single motor Cybertruck was to enter production first and the tri-motor truck at the end. However, the latest schedule says that the tri-motor Cybertruck will begin production in 2021, whereas the single motor trim will hit the production line in late 2022. Also, Tesla will be introducing a Plaid version of the Cybertruck for some berserk ludicrous performance (pun intended). According to Motor Trend, the Plaid-powertrain could produce 800 horses and 1,000 pound-feet of torque. Just like the Plaid-powered Model S and X, the Cybertruck will have one motor on the front axle and two at the rear. The Plaid-powered truck will help increase the truck’s off-road abilities by a huge margin and opens a lot of possibilities. While the standard variants could feature just the locking differential, the Plain powertrain equipped in the Cybertruck could come with torque-vectoring as well.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck specifications
Single-motor RWD Dual-motor AWD Tri-motor AWD
Horsepower: >400 HP 690 HP 800 HP
Torque: TBA 824 LB-FT 1,000 LB-FT
Range: 250+ miles 300+ miles 500+ miles
0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds 4.5 seconds 2.9 seconds
Top Speed: 110 mph 120 mph 130 mph
Payload Capacity: 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds
Towing Capacity: 7,500 pounds 10,000 pounds 14,000 pounds

Final Thoughts

If You Pre-Ordered the Tesla Cybertruck in Europe, You Might Want to Cancel It Exterior
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Whether you like it or hate it, the Tesla Cybertruck will be in news constantly for some reason or another. As stated by the safety technical expert Stephan Teller, the Cybertruck will need to go through a heavy modification. Although Tesla is coming up with a factory in Germany, it won’t be the birthplace of the Cybertruck. It won’t be feasible to build two different bodies of the same truck; so, it leaves the company with multiple options here –

  • Tesla pushes the launch of the truck for European markets
  • Tesla pushes the launch of the truck for the U.S. market
  • The Cybertruck is modified completely for both the markets
  • The Berlin Gigafactory also builds the Cybertruck

What do you think Tesla will do about this? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Source: Spiegel Online

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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