We contacted industrial designers and asked them questions about Cybertrack, which Musk introduced on November 21.
Why is he so chopped? Why is there a “marble” countertop inside? Why the helm, not the steering wheel? Is that “aerodynamic” render true? Experienced experts answered amateurish questions: Christopher Edward – Chief of Design for BMW Group, and Gorden Wagener: Chief Design Officer Daimler AG.
1. Cybertrack is tall and angular. It seems to the layman that such a pickup, all other things being equal, is more dangerous than cars with sloping forms. Is it so? And are there any requirements for the shape of the front of the cars?
Indeed, there are now high pedestrian safety standards. But they are mainly applied only to cars. There is such an unpleasant feature that on cars with high ground clearance, a pedestrian during hitting falls directly under the car, and it doesn’t matter how sloping the body is. In a passenger car, on the contrary, a person “lays down” on the hood. And there it matters the correct shape of the hood, headlights and bumper. There are also more subtle requirements, designed to reduce injuries in a collision. For example, there is a regulation on the size of fillets on the faces of surfaces, but here, as I can visually judge, Tesla either satisfies them or is close to them.
“Security” – it is not clear what. There is no such button in engineering software. But there is a geometry check and requirements for the minimum radii of the outer surface – 2–2.5 mm. Rather small radii, you can visually make a “hard” volume with “sharp” corners. Moreover, the emblem on the hood may be more geometrically sharp if it breaks off. You can make a cube with a very sharp angle, but the angle of the soft material itself is polyurethane foam. It’s not a problem. At the front, you can’t do something really sharp and hard, glass.
Another “safety” is that the knocked down pedestrian gently rests on the high hood. I didn’t break my legs, but “bent” my legs, that is, the angles on the machine should approximately be in the places of the “hinges” of a certain average person. And the places where the soft tissues of the face and head will fall should be correspondingly softer. Modern hoods are fired towards the pedestrian falling on them, having an even more mitigating move. Soon they will adopt the standard for outdoor cushions and inflated bubbles, and the cars will very gently catch pedestrians in their arms, rather than knock them down. (And just in case, automatically shoot this on a video that has already been implemented.)
2. What about the @JustinWMartin14 aerodynamics calculations of CYBRTRCK?
I am not a specialist in aerodynamics. But I can say that visually there should be much more problems with aerodynamics than we see in this simulation. So either Tesla is good, or the test is not accurate enough. An important point that plays into the hands of electric cars is that they can easily make a flat bottom due to the lack of an exhaust system and the presence of a flat battery at the bottom. On traditional cars, the differences on the bottom surface create a lot of problems for aerodynamics.
The lack of paint on the surface can only reduce the weight by a couple of kilos and thereby save some micro-percentage charge.
The shape is very elongated and raised high above the ground. Elongation is very good, and Cd should have been even lower than 0.2. There is no point in comparing the concept with a strongly beveled glass to the “lobed” Fords designed in the last century. A high location above the ground is bad for flow around, because at high speeds (where flow is necessary, it is important) the air from below can lift the car and tear it off the asphalt. And this is very bad. Another minus is open wheels. They greatly reduce the smoothness of the flow around, whirling air flows. No wonder Formula 1 has flow ratios like trucks due to open wheels. In the formula E, they seem to have already decided to fight this, let’s see what it will lead to. So open wheels are evil. And even worse, a deep off-road tread.
The thickness of the “armor” and unpainted – this is some kind of nonsense. Or advertising … The proportion of coloration in air resistance is relatively small, but gaps and gaps, especially perpendicular to the flow (as engineers usually divide the surface into parts) – this is bad. Now all new cars have rubber bands at the edges of doors and connectors, covering the slots in the closed position.
In this simulation, even the proportions walk a little (not similar to the concept), there are no cracks and internal resistance, the wheel arches are not similar, the wheels most likely do not spin, and so on. Everything is a little wrong. But, of course, square Fords will lose. The figure 0.3, to which Musk forces his engineers to approach, is still a lot and practically peremptorily says that all shaping is style and hype.
And do not forget that this marketing “streamlining” is only along the car at a certain speed. Lateral gusts of wind and other complex and transient cases are much more complicated and dangerous. And here an acute-angled box whistling in the wind should be very bad.
It would be more interesting to compare this shape from planes and the same with the licked round corners, like the VW-XL1. Or with the first Lamborghini Countach, Gandini are similar, and in the series there the roof was “round”, the first concept was with an angle and without box pockets to cool the rear engine.
3. Are the details of the chopped form really easier to manufacture? Even if they are made of steel, not aluminum?
As far as it is known from the presentation, they plan to make the body flexible, rather than stamping, as is now the case with “traditional” cars. Metal stamping is expensive due to the high cost of equipment, bending is much cheaper, but the body shape is more “condo”, which we see in the design. It is hard to imagine a business class sedan in such a way, and there are already fewer questions about a utilitarian pickup.
There is not much difference. In traditional stamping, thin metal planes will play like a membrane. We will need internal amplifiers, welded by one-sided (not through) laser welding or ribs with “crosses”, as on canisters.
Steel or aluminum in this case, in my opinion, is not important. Now almost all new cars have all the aluminum alloy doors / hoods / luggage racks – but something does not happen in the design of the cars. Moreover, these materials are refined / selected at the last stages of design, saving weight. That is, they do not have a sufficient impact on the approved design a couple of years ago.
4. Why did not the steering wheel, and the helm?
It seems to me that Tesla, as a leading company in the autonomy of transport, can no longer show something with traditional governing bodies. Again, as far as I can tell from the pictures, the Cybertrack has very large massive long front pillars that cover a large area of visibility. And this is the moment that is of great importance in managing a person and absolutely nothing in autonomous movement. I believe that the age of autonomy has not yet come, and such decisions can lead to tragic consequences. Either Musk simply thinks differently, or they will still change the design on the way to the conveyor. The same thing will happen with the steering wheel.
I needed the spirit of high technology, the future, non-land. Because otherwise it turned out to be a utilitarian box instead of cyberpunk. “Convenient / not convenient” – all the same. They can also replace it with a round one, saying that they have improved consumer properties. And they can even remove it – such as a drone. By the time of his series, the autopilot could already have time to become a serial technology. Teslovskaya or Google’s is not the point.
5. “Marble” panel instead of the classic interior – is it safe? And in general, why could such a decision be chosen?
This, of course, is not real marble, but the material “under it.” The Renault EZ-Ultimo concept also used such material.
Tesla’s interior continues the theme of the exterior. It is utilitarian and simple, such material is easy to wash, and the entire dashboard was transformed into a kind of countertop, hinting at the autonomous world of this vehicle. This is no longer a “wrapped” design system of devices, keys, air ducts and airbags, but a table from the living room with a TV on it, on which you can throw paper and a bag of chips on the road.
This is “spirit”, at least something “reliable” and “neat”, “monumental” in appearance. These qualities were sorely lacking in the seemingly cheap box.
6. The pickup did not have mirrors at the presentation. Concepts generally seem to have none at all. Can a cyber truck go to mass production with cameras instead of classic mirrors?
Technically, this is possible, but according to the laws of all countries except Japan, no. And in the interior you cannot see the screens on which these mirror-cameras should be displayed. And here either the interior at this stage, in principle, has not been worked out much, or ordinary mirrors will go into the series.
Yes. This is already permitted in the Japanese market and will soon arrive in all other countries. The question is not technical, but legal (as well as to a greater extent with drones). The drone does not need mirrors, as, for example, to illuminate the road with visible light or to indicate its movement with the blinking of turn signals.
7. Is the air suspension reliable, useful and convenient, or a feature for the sake of a feature?
I think it’s all at once. The video from the presentation shows that an ATV can enter the body using the telescopic ramp built into the rear side. It looks interesting. If they can implement in the series, then this will be a strong plus in front of competitors.
This is a necessary measure. A high-raised car will not be able to drive fast on asphalt – which means it needs to be lowered and raised for different roads. And air is the simplest and well-designed system for cases of depressurization and debugging.
8. Tesla is known for making even glove compartments with a servo drive. Against this background, the hinged side, which must be pulled out manually, looks clumsy. Was it a rush or simplicity for the sake of reliability?
Automatic tailgate opening will require complex construction. I’m sure that they thought about it, it’s hard to say exactly why they could not offer such an option. Perhaps there was simply not enough space, and the financial side of the issue should not be ruled out. It can be expensive, but it will not bring a qualitative improvement in daily operation.
Rush. This is easy to add later.
9. How do you like Cybertrack? What does it mean for the industry?
At first, like most completely new unusual things, Cybertrack seemed very strange. But over time, I came to the conclusion that this is a practically revolutionary product in the long-stagnant automotive world. For the first time in decades, a product specifically addressing the objectives has appeared. This electric car is designed for hardcore operating conditions. He is unpretentious from the word “completely.” His body is not painted, he is not afraid of chips, dents, he will not rust. A large body without wheel arches will accommodate a bulk load that will sink easier than competitors, thanks to the built-in ramp. The standard for today’s description from the category “does not fit him” in the new generation, we increased the length by 30 mm, put a new screen 2 inches more and wheels 20 inches ”. He is generally different! And this is awesome. I think for Tesla this is the only way to stay alive. In terms of traditional motorism, Tesla loses to its price competitors. She has no love for details, for where which materials are needed, for how and with what sound what works. This is not about them. The more dissimilar products they create, the stronger will be the separation from competitors, the greater the chance of success for Tesla.
Calmly. Does not mean anything. Let the American sleepers of pickup trucks be seduced – that’s good. In my opinion, there is nothing revolutionary about it. And the product is raw, incomprehensible to anyone made. The military and the state (and a little dudes) are, perhaps, its consumer audience. However, if you discuss it for six months on TV in evening programs and shoot in high-quality cinema, the buyer will be “grown up”.
For me, the most interesting thing is the comparison with the Lamborghini Countach. I really like the very first concept of this car and much less – the serial version. And the difference is miserable – just a “fracture” on the roof. Like Cybertrack, but the latter is damp and rude.
And even if they show such a crude concept, then with money (or promises) they again are not very good. Apparently, all the same, the production of sedans and SUVs is somewhere at the edge of cost or at a loss. Cars (or, if you like, electric cars) are a very unprofitable business and the fact that enthusiasts and millionaires continue to deal with them is some incredible miracle.
10. Is it difficult for a designer to fight resistance if he offers an innovative and unlike other solution?
In the modern auto business, the designer generally does not have the opportunity to create something in the literal sense of the new. Now car design is about giving an emotion, character to an inanimate object. Giving it features combining it with other cars of the same brand in one family and distinguishing it from others. With new ideas and technologies, suppliers come interested in selling the technology. And the task of the designer is to endow them with the inherent features of the brand. And it is precisely in small companies such as Tesla, where one person can decide on a complete change of design paradigms, such an unusual, unlike anything product may appear.
A professional designer does not fight, he follows the ToR. He cannot come up with new technological processes or something like that. His area is the customer’s experience of the subject.
People “get used” to the “visual quality” of a Mercedes and begin to demand the same lines and connectors from the BMW. Just “something different” can mean poor quality to the buyer. Do not exaggerate the craving for the beautiful.