Seven years after tweeting his desire to build a “Tesla supertruck with crazy torque, dynamic air suspension” that “corners like it’s on rails”, the tech entrepreneur unveiled his Tesla Cybertruck to motoring fans in Los Angeles.
Capable of outpacing a Porsche 911 and with door panels immune to a 9mm handgun, the ambitious car company’s sixth model could well live up to the hype.
But after allowing people to batter the door panels – made from the same alloys used in spacecraft – with a sledgehammer, to minimal effect, it was Tesla’s chief designer Franz von Holzhausen’s turn to demonstrate the strength of the armoured glass windows.
Unfortunately for Mr Musk, launching a small metal ball at the “shatterproof” windows did not have the desired effect.
“Oh my f****** god,” Mr Musk exclaimed, as the glass immediately smashed.
As Mr Holzhausen decided to have another go, instantly smashing another window, Mr Musk said: “Well, maybe that was a little too hard. It didn’t go through, so that’s a plus … room for improvement.”
It appears to have been an expensive experiment. In the day that followed,Tesla’s stock price plunged six per cent, leaving Mr Musk $768m out of pocket, according to Forbes.
As the 41st richest person in the world, Mr Musk still has a fortune of some $23.6bn.
While Mr Musk is no stranger to taking calculated risks, the costly experiment seems to have been more of an unexpected error and less of a gamble.
The billionaire later shared footage on Twitter of Mr von Holzhausen performing the same test with markedly different effects “right before launch”.
Franz throws steel ball at Cybertruck window right before launch. Guess we have some improvements to make before production haha. pic.twitter.com/eB0o4tlPoz
While the debacle meant the Tesla CEO had to finish the presentation against a backdrop of the semi-destroyed vehicle, the remainder of the launch went relatively smoothly.
Lending credence to the Cybertruck’s tagline, “Better utility than a truck with more performance than a sports car”, the crowd were shown footage of the vehicle outpacing a Porsche 911, and out-towing a Ford F-150 truck.
Mr Musk has previously described the venture as “a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck”.
Despite the broken glass, Blade Runner’s art director Syd Mead told Business Insider that Mr Musk has “completely changed the vocabulary of the personal truck market design”.
He previously told Recode that he was “truly flattered” the film had served as inspiration.
Ahead of the launch, Mr Musk wrote on Twitter: “Tesla Cybertruck (pressurised edition) will be official truck of Mars.”
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