By on December 9, 2019

Coming into work under false pretenses is what December’s all about. Everyone’s productivity is whittled down to a bare minimum in order to spend additional time browsing the internet for gift ideas, travel arrangements, and polishing off their list of must-watch holiday films. As a result, the news cycle gets slow and silly.

Over the weekend, the big automotive story was Elon Musk showboating the Tesla Cybertruck around Malibu while on his way to pick up some Japanese food — smacking into a traffic pylon and breezing through a red light after leaving the eatery. While a quick satellite view of the area absolves the CEO of any illegal maneuvers (Nobu’s parking lot is before the intersection), the fate of that poor barricade left us wondering about Musk’s driving ability and/or the visibility available from inside the Cybertruck. 

Presumably the test platform we’ve seen before, the truck showcased quite a bit of body roll upon exiting the restaurant. It also had the same manufacturer plates we’ve seen before. Whether or not it’s the same truck we saw at the model’s bizarre debut, it’s clearly not a production-ready vehicle.

Frankly, we’ve wondered how Tesla could ever get the model to pass regulations as-is. It’s missing several essential components (wipers, mirrors, etc.) and has a shape that looks to be unfriendly to pedestrians and those peering out from the driver’s seat. Smacking into a two-foot-tall pylon seems to further hint that this may be a problem. A bummer for Musk, as this was turning out to be some decent free advertising for the brand.

On Saturday, the gossip kings at TMZ reported that Musk drove Cybertruck to dinner at Nobu in Malibu, California. The CEO was quickly met with fans eager to snap a picture, paparazzi, and even a few alleged celebrity encounters. Unfortunately, the point of the evening that stood out most was Elon hitting the pylon before slipping off into the night (video below). Everyone noticed and it became the soup du jour.

In truth, this was a supremely minor issue. Blind spots aren’t unknown on other vehicle models and this simply could have been the result of Musk having a momentary lapse in judgement. Your author once folded the edge of a no parking sign with a large box truck while pulling out of a warehouse garage. Nobody’s perfect. But, unlike Tesla, I wasn’t trying to frame that truck as automotive perfection and did not have the world’s eyes upon me ⁠— just one very amused co-worker.

We wouldn’t take this as a sign of Cybertruck’s failings. The odds of the pickup heading to market in its current state seem exceptionally low. Tesla isn’t even expecting to commence production until late 2021, leaving it plenty of time to address blind spots. Maybe it isn’t even fair to report on breaking glass and smashed barriers as failures, but Musk’s way of promoting products makes it difficult to resist. Tesla routinely makes big claims and continuously unloads some of the most in-your-face marketing in the industry. It often feels like we’re being dared to poke holes anytime the automaker attempts to deliver (or create) something worthy of coverage.

Then again, perhaps Elon knew hitting a small, inconsequential object would gather more media attention than a seamless exit — and we’ve all fallen into his trap.

[Images: Tesla]

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46 Comments on “Cybertruck Showboating Calls Model’s Visibility Into Question...”


  • avatar
    EGSE

    Maybe he was Bogarting a Cheech and Chong-sized doobie. You know that someone of his social standing will have only the best weed.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    My main question is how Tesla will handle the preorders, if they do build a truck it’ll likely look like a Model Y with the upper half of an SSR, it also wont work nearly as well as the F-150s driven by Teslas repairmen.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I would be more concerned with fulfillment of the preorders. Anyone can take in cash money in return for a promise to deliver ‘something that resembles this Cybertruck” at some undisclosed future date, but making it happen is quite a different thing.

      There’s precedent for that. Saw it happen with the first-deliveries of ALL of Tesla’s products – always a day late and a dollar short.

      But what sustains it is the futuristic look it projects and the great curbside appeal it will have as a toy truck for the wealthy, or those with money to burn.

      There’ll be waiting lines but it remains to be seen if it is as capable as the other ICE pickup trucks it will compete against.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “a toy truck for the wealthy”

        Do you mean the same ‘wealthy’ people who spend the same money on pickups today?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          SCE to AUX, there’s wide range of pricing for ICE pickups today, but the EV pickups will come in above most ICE pickups.

          True, some wealthy people buy the top end pickups today but for that they get range, refueling infrastructure and ’round-the-clock drive-ability, something that no EV can offer due to charging downtime.

          I read somewhere that a Rivian at trim level similar to an F150 XLT will come in at nearly $90K and that lower trim levels will not be available, the only option being a bigger battery.

          Considering that, I may have to reassess my own interest in a Rivian pickup truck when push comes to shove.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Are the sloping A-pillars supposed to protect the occupants from decapitation when the autonomous pickup drives under a tractor trailer?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is exactly the sort of driving I’d expect from Elon, and explains a lot about Tesla’s approach to safety.

    It’s just a good thing that was a flex post instead of a three-year-old.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Speaking of underdone, I see TTAC is sticking with the dumb update from last week, which is utterly useless.

    Is there anybody in charge, or does the hapless commentariat have to stick with fourth rate updates?

    Cannot Healey or anyone with even a minor clue not able to see that the commenting is worse than useless? If you’re not taken back to your comment after you post it, what’s the point?

    Then each time you access an article, the entire rest of the site is tagged onto the end of it.

    If there was a better word than incompetent, I’d use it.

    Fix the damn site!

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      “Read all comments” still sucks.

    • 0 avatar
      How_Embarrassing_4You

      Gotta agree with you there. This place is broken. Who tested the new changes, Elon?

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        “Gotta agree with you there. This place is broken. Who tested the new changes, Elon?”

        Nah, even Tesla does better than this. I don’t know why they don’t just put the Read More on the mobile version of the site.

        This is more like Tesla installing a butt plug on all the cars to check your temperature. Yes you get data, but it is useless garbage.

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      +1

      What’s the valid business reason for making us click a link to read more than two comments?

      It should be a good one, because from a user perspective it’s an unnecessary pain.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Yeah, I remember the first time I tried hash.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Watching this video over and over, it looks like the front wheels are almost straight ahead as the truck leaves the driveway. The back wheel hits the cone, not the front. Is the rear track that much wider? I haven’t studied other photos, but the truck does take on a double-wide appearance from behind. That could be a problem- no room for aftermarket dualies.

    It’s obvious that those long A-pillars will obstruct the front quarter views. For turns at intersections, the driver (and pedestrians!) better be aware of this yard-long blind spot. Front visibility would actually be better than in a typical square-fronted shape, though.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    What’s amazing to me is that Musk’s company, which obviously does not have to spend a nickel on advertising since everything it does is on the internet 24/7, can’t make a buck in profit.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Growth oriented companies often don’t make money.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        For over 8 years?

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994. Amazon did not report a full-year profit until 2003.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          For as long as you have aggressive growth, yes.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            How long did it take Ford Motor Company to make a profit? Their innovations, vertical integration, and scope make Tesla look like a rent-seeking fraud, so it must have taken them much longer to turn a profit, right?

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Are we starting the clock for Ford in 1896, or 1903?

            1903 Ford Model A [only available in red] did not have side mirrors, so it might not count. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903, one hundred years before Tesla Motors. The ICE-powered car had been invented seventeen years earlier. The electric car was invented some time between 1832 and 1839, and what a leap forward it was when the ICE car superseded it. Something’s telling me that building River Rouge didn’t stop Ford from making money in less than sixteen years in spite of the rest of the auto industry not having to subsidize every car he made by $5,200 in addition to the $7,500 federal taxpayer-funded rebate and the state taxpayer rebates and huge tariffs levied on Tesla’s competitors in some other countries. Musk can’t make a profit with his snout in every trough that command economy fascists can fill for him.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Whoa whoa – lot of jumping around here. Construction began on the Ford River Rouge Complex (yes, Ford had a Complex) in 1917 and it was completed in 1928.

            The first products produced at the Rouge plant were Eagle-class patrol craft – first vessel was launched in 1918. Possibly taxpayer-funded. For the war effort – WWI that is (not sure where this falls in your “command economy”).

            Now where were we? The next products produced at the Rouge were Fordson tractors.

            Automobile production didn’t begin at the Rouge until 1927, with the introduction of the Model A. (Not that Model A, the other Model A.)

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            The Rouge made Model T parts, but the Model T was assembled at Highland Park (not that Highland Park, the other Highland Park).

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    You have to admit the look of that thing sticks out like a sore thumb.

    And then there’s the Clustertruck…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Now the long lost Edsel pickup truck has finally been discovered. More at 11.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Does the US actually have pedestrian safety regs as Europe does? The market for full-size and then some pickup trucks in the olde countries rounds to zero.

    I agree the lack of wipers and mirrors is a bit of a problem – but much less of one there than here, since I believe the Europeans are now allowing camera side mirrors.

    Is Musk capable of doing anything without being a complete and utter tool?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “Is Musk capable of doing anything without being a complete and utter tool?”

      Sure, but you wouldn’t read about it on TTAC or if it was published here, it would be spun into something negative.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        For those who may not have seen a modern reusable rocket launch and landing:

        3 minute version…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVqWEoyiaBA

        Compressed 7 minute version with timeline and some more detail (does not show core landing)…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKs84KjhBAM

        .

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    True the Edsel at least hac some effort going into its styling even if it was misguided. This truck looks like something a preschooler would design. Find it hard to believe people would put down money on this thing to buy it. Just proves that you can sell anything (i.e. pet rock and mood ring).

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    A long bed is obvious overkill for many users and applications, regardless of specified cab. Power companies/utilities/subs prefer RCSBs (in the 1/2 ton class) since they’re ideal for getting in and out of tight spaces and just need to carry a small tool box and driver usually, but can handle a 1,000 lbs load or 5,000 trailer in a pinch.

    Midsize trucks have (quietly) excused themselves from this niche, but remaining Ford/Ram do maximize fullsize RCSB profits since they build hundreds in a row, all identical (no variation/options), Fleet White, etc, so they fly off the assembly line, and end users don’t usually complain if fit and finish is just a little off, small quality/warranty issues they might fix themselves (or ignore), and simply drive them into the ground and come back for more RCSBs.

    GM will come around.

    I’m seriously considering a regular cab, except long bed 4X4/V8 (they do exist), otherwise base spec (crank windows if allowed) for my next truck, after using my dad’s RCLB for a month last summer. It’s just a righteous truck. And so cheap (even before rebates) it seems sinful, and or get one before they’re banned.

  • avatar
    GoNavy99

    Its entirely possible that the man is a bad driver. He works most hours of the day, leaving few hours for driving. I’m going to assume that – like most people with better things to do with their lives – he doesn’t “commute” like the rest of us does and instead utilizes a driver. No doubt he has many special cars (F1 among them), but he probably spends no more than an hour or two in them in a given month.

    So what we really have here is a guy who last drove seriously 20 years ago. No surprise he’s blowing lights and rolling over obstacles.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “perhaps Elon knew hitting a small, inconsequential object would gather more media attention than a seamless exit — and we’ve all fallen into his trap”

    You always do.

  • avatar
    levaris

    That driveway is not well designed, but he did NOT exit before the intersection. Southbound PCH has a stop bar before the NOBU driveway, and you can clearly see in the video that traffic in both directions had a green light yet had to wait for both the Cybertruck as well as a car that followed.

    Further, the “pylon” that he hit is actually a sign that says Right Turn Only.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    The truck seems to have a license plate on it, but I wonder if it is even actually street legal. Did it have wipers, side view mirrors, etc. on it? Or can manufacturers drive whatever they want on the streets while prototype testing?

    • 0 avatar
      How_Embarrassing_4You

      It seems to me that the laws for prototype testing dont include “out hobnobbing with celebrities”….call me crazy here, thats just an uneducated guess. Even if it isnt something thats ohhhh, LAWFUL, I highly doubt the geniuses in charge of anything Cali would do anything to hurt his majesty and his Logan’s Run mobile.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    So preorder is a free loan to Tesla, and the cybertruck is a way to make the Mars rocket alloy more affordable, right?

    Even if they only sell like 50000 of them during the lifetime, it will make the Mars rockets dramatically cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The interest lost to you on that free loan to Tesla is about $5 per year, so maybe 10 or 15 bucks.

      They already have over 200k preorders, so I imagine they’ll sell more than 50k of these.

      As for the rocket alloy, that’s paid for by your tax dollars.

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