Safety concerns have arisen over Tesla’s Cybertruck due to its unique stiff stainless-steel exoskeleton, prompting worries among experts regarding potential harm to pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles in the event of a collision. Six safety professors and officials, who reviewed crash test videos live-streamed by Tesla during a recent webcast delivery event, raised concerns about the angular design of the electric pickup truck.
The crash test videos, showcased on November 30, fueled discussions on social media. Safety experts interviewed by Reuters emphasized the need for comprehensive crash-test data to draw definitive conclusions about the Cybertruck’s safety. Adrian Lund, former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, highlighted a potential issue with the vehicle’s stiff exterior, stating that it could cause more harm to individuals upon impact.
Tesla, however, has touted the strength of the truck’s structure, emphasizing its ability to absorb impact during crashes. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, expressed high confidence in the Cybertruck’s safety for both occupants and pedestrians. Despite this assurance, safety experts, including those at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, sought more information to evaluate the vehicle’s safety performance.
The Cybertruck’s distinctive design features flat planes and long, linear edges, making it visually distinct in the automotive landscape. The stainless-steel exterior, a departure from conventional materials, is intended to enhance durability and toughness. Tesla highlighted features such as energy-absorbing ribs in the front and rear structures, designed to dissipate crash energy.
George Washington University auto safety professor Samer Hamdar raised concerns about potential limitations in crumple zones, areas of a car designed to deform and absorb energy during a crash. Despite these concerns, he suggested the possibility of shock-absorbent mechanisms compensating for a limited crumple zone.
Yes, we are highly confident that Cybertruck will be much safer per mile than other trucks, both for occupants and pedestrians https://t.co/RydoYYn4FU
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 5, 2023
The Cybertruck, with a starting price of $60,990, is not expected to be a high-volume vehicle like Tesla’s Model Y. However, Elon Musk has outlined plans to achieve a production rate of approximately 250,000 Cybertrucks per year by 2025.
Critics and safety experts expressed “red flags” regarding the impact on other vehicles involved in a collision with the Cybertruck. Concerns were raised about the heavy weight and high acceleration of the trucks, posing potential risks to non-occupants. Julia Griswold from the University of California, Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research Center expressed alarm after viewing Tesla’s crash test videos.
Furthermore, questions were raised about the Cybertruck’s compatibility with European safety standards. EU safety rules, particularly those aimed at protecting pedestrians by limiting external protrusions, could pose challenges for the vehicle’s entry into the European market. The European Transport Safety Council, a Brussels-based nonprofit, expressed apprehension about the potential lethality of the Cybertruck in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.
While U.S. regulators rely on automakers to self-test and certify adherence to safety standards, Elon Musk stated that the Cybertruck had passed regulatory review. Despite these assurances, concerns persist among safety experts and critics, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive crash-test data to validate the Cybertruck’s safety claims.