Tesla: Here's Why the Cybertruck's Armor Glass Windows Cracked
It was the throw seen round the world—and Elon Musk has an explanation for the shattering performance.
Whether or not you watched the livestream of the debut of Tesla's much-hyped Cybertruck electric pickup, it's likely that you only remember one thing: The "armor" glass windows breaking during a stunt intended to show off the glass's imperviousness. The ball was supposed to bounce off the glass harmlessly, as it did in an earlier demo using the same ball and a sample pane of glass. Instead, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk beckoned the company's lead designer, Franz von Holzhausen, to throw the metal ball at the prototype Cybertruck's driver's side window, it busted the glass. Franz, again at Musk's direction, then took aim at the rear window, seeking redemption—and busted it, too. Musk then had to finish out his presentation standing before two conspicuously broken "Armor Glass" windows. So, what happened?
On his favorite communication medium, Twitter, Elon Musk offered up an explanation for the botched demonstration the very next day. According to him, Tesla did in fact try the demo ahead of time, and he offered up video proof of Franz hurling the infamous metal ball at a Cybertruck window and causing no damage.
To explain away the opposite happening during the pickup's world debut, Elon explained in a separate tweet that the that the glass was weakened from below when Franz hit the truck's door with a sledgehammer earlier in the presentation. (The point of that exercise was, of course, to also highlight how strong the Cybertruck's allegedly bulletproof stainless-steel skin is.) In his words: "Yup. Sledgehammer impact on door cracked base of glass, which is why steel ball didn't bounce off. Should have done steel ball on window, *then* sledgehammer the door. Next time …"
We're not sure whether this is what actually happened, or a convenient excuse. And as some Twitter users point out, Franz only hit the front door with the sledgehammer—so why did the back window also break? Either way, Musk's explanation somewhat undermines Tesla's boasts of the Cybertruck's toughness, since it implies that the strength of certain components may be dependent on the order in which they're stressed. Sure, the windows are made from "armor glass," but a severe door ding might crack them, making their failure easier? We're being a little sassy, yes, and it should be pointed out that Musk admits there is work to be done on the Cybertruck which is, for now, merely a prototype anyway.
Tesla aimed to blow people's minds with an over-the-top, crazy-promise-filled debut, and it sure put on a show. The company even gave potential customers and media—including us—rides in the early Cybertruck prototype on hand. You will never see General Motors or Toyota sticking people in some proof-of-concept test mule, let alone a prototype that was just broken on stage during its reveal minutes earlier. (Tesla quickly fixed the truck's windows between the stage debut and the ride portion of its reveal event Thursday.) It's too bad the armor-glass window stunt went awry, because it means most people won't remember key details such as the truck's stainless-steel skin being resistant to 9mm ammunition, or the video showing a Cybertruck dragging a feebly tire-spinning Ford F-150 backwards uphill in a tug-of-war.