Innovative new products always seem a little weird at first.
Case in point: The new Tesla Cybertruck that Elon Musk announced late last week. It definitely looks weird, like something out of a sci-fi movie with straight lines made of what looks like flat sheet metal. I can understand the comparisons to the original Apple Mouse. It also looks a bit like a DeLorean and also the cars from the Blade Runner series.
To be honest, I'm not sure I care.
Worldwide, about 1.3 million people die from car accidents every year. In the U.S., the number of fatalities went up for a couple of years, although they are expected to go down this year. The rise might have been due to cell phone use, and the reversal could be related to people finally realizing they should not use their phones in the car. Stats for this year are still to come, but they are sobering to say the least.
One thing is clear about the Cybertruck, however. It will save lives.
The truck is built using what is called 30X cold-rolled stainless-steel, and one explanation for the flat design is that this material can't be formed into a shape. Most trucks are slightly bulbous and have a curved and stylish look. The Cybertruck is considered "impenetrable" with bullet-proof glass and sides that can withstand the impact of a sledgehammer.
Musk explained the material this way:
Reason Cybertruck is so planar is that you can't stamp ultra-hard 30X steel, because it breaks the stamping press-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2019
My question is whether it can reduce traffic fatalities.
One interesting state to be aware of here.
About 58% of all traffic fatalities involved only one car, which means it was likely a roll-over or some other incident. I'd be interested in finding out more about crash test reports for the Cybertruck, which won't even go into production until late 2021. Typically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets their hands on vehicles long before they hit the showroom floor, so we'll see how this all turns out.
For now, I'm a fan of the design. I've come to view cars and trucks as mechanical beasts that are intended for transporting us--moving us from one place to another. That's what happens when you've tested around 500 vehicles over an eight-year period. I'm fascinated by the design and features still, but mostly curious about the safety. If the Cybertruck has to look like an Apple Mouse but keeps us safe, I'm fine with it.
I'd rather drive a toaster than something less safe.