The Tesla Cybertruck was unveiled last week at a launch event hosted by CEO Elon Musk. It was an interesting night. The truck itself looks like an 80s version of the future and was roundly met with hate and disbelief. Yet, that was only part of the fuss. There was also the matter of its “armor glass” windows shattering during a demonstration.
While onstage in front of the assembled masses, Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhuasen was asked to throw a steel ball directly at the driver’s side window. The assumption was that the window would remain intact. That assumption was wrong.
Instead the glass broke, surprising Musk who uttered, “Oh my f****** God.” Undeterred, he asked Franz to throw it at the rear side window, which yielded the same result. He quipped that there was room for improvement and delivered the rest of his presentation in front of a Cybertruck with two smashed windows.
Clearly, the expectation was that the windows would hold. Musk later posted a tweet showing the same test performed without incident prior to the reveal.
Franz throws steel ball at Cybertruck window right before launch. Guess we have some improvements to make before production haha. pic.twitter.com/eB0o4tlPoz
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2019
That proves it worked at some point, but doesn’t explain what the heck happened to make it all go wrong during the reveal. Turns out the order of operation rules you learned in math class mattered when it came to demonstrating the durability of the Cybertruck.
Before Franz threw steel balls at the windows, he whacked the front door with a sledgehammer. This part of the demonstration went off without a hitch. Franz swung the sledgehammer and it bounced off the door panel without a scratch. It looked like a success, but it caused the glass failure moments later.
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 …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2019
The theory is that if they’d simply demonstrated the windows first and then taken to the doors with a sledgehammer, everything would have been just fine. While the outcome was not as hoped, that didn’t stop customers from plunking down $100 to reserve the Cybertruck once it’s available. Musk tweeted that there are over 200,000 orders so far.
Production isn’t set to begin until late 2021, so who knows how many of those orders will actually result in a delivered truck. While it might not outsell the Ford F-150, even a small percentage of those customers taking delivery would be impressive.