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Tesla Truck - why we're all wrong about the Cybertruck design

Feb 27, 2020
Something happened recently that nearly broke the internet: the reveal of the Tesla Cyber


. Going in, we knew the Tesla


would be unique and stand out. Elon had been warning us that it did look like something from Bladerunner after all, but that didn't stop the collective panic we saw in the media and online. That is... until about 48 hours later, when a common refrain began to surface: "It's growing on me." We've seen this happen before... and as a


er, I'm fascinated when I see this kind of thing, so I thought it would be fun to take a closer look.
tesla truck   why we re all wrong about the cybertruck design
Why does it seem like we viscerally hate something at first and then come to love it a bit later? And is this

design I'm Matt Ferrell... welcome to Undecided. Regardless of whether you love or hate the look of the Tesla Cybertruck, it's getting a lot of attention for how different it is. The feedback has been polarizing and swift. With non-stop memes popping up on social media and lots of "hate" comments on my Cybertruck video. It shouldn't come as a surprise to everyone, because it's been well studied and documented, but humans hate change. We are programmed in our DNA to fear new things because those new things might want to hurt us.
tesla truck   why we re all wrong about the cybertruck design

More Interesting Facts About,

tesla truck why we re all wrong about the cybertruck design...

There's also a social angle where all of us collectively agree on what's pretty, what's ugly, and what's normal. Get too far away from it and you may be embarrassed or rejected by others. Tom Vanderbilt wrote a book called "You Might Like It Too" which explores taste and how it came to be. In an interview in The Atlantic, he said something that goes straight to the point: “There is no miracle theory to explain anyone's taste. It is always a mixture of exposure, of culture, of a person's personality. And none of these are particularly static or fixed. The good thing about tastes is that they are subject to change.
tesla truck   why we re all wrong about the cybertruck design
We can always reinvent them and reinvent ourselves a little bit.” The key is exposure. There are plenty of examples you can look at to see how this has played out before. A good example from just a few years ago would be the Apple AirPods. When they were first announced, there were a lot of memes. So many reaction articles about how ugly and dumb they were. I have a friend who made fun of me for wanting to buy a pair because of how stupid they look... only to get him excited to buy a pair six months later.
tesla truck   why we re all wrong about the cybertruck design
He still thought they looked silly, but he got used to them and loved how they worked. AirPods are the best-selling wireless headphones on the market and will sell around 50 million this year. That's a revenue stream of $8 billion. And now we have a host of other truly wireless earphones to choose from as well. Flavor is subject to change. You can even see this trend in the movies. Linking this directly to the Cybertruck: Bladerunner. It is considered a classic science fiction movie and is often considered one of the best, but it was a complete flop when it was released.
The 1982 movie cost $28 million to make and only made $6 million in its opening weekend. And while reviews were mixed when it was released, over time the film finally began to gain popularity and garnered an enormous following on home video. And more importantly, Bladerunner changed the look of sci-fi movies forever. You can see the influences in everything from The Fifth Element to the Matrix movies. Flavor is subject to change. So how does this apply directly to the Cybertruck? Well, a lot of the memes and comments are about how simplistic it looks. A five year old could have designed it.
Or my personal favourite, comparing it to Homer Simpson's car. As fun as they are, it's a shock to see a truck so different from what we've been used to for nearly 100 years. I was surprised too, but as a designer, we have to train ourselves to ignore that reaction and evaluate a design as objectively as possible. Every designer seeks to make something unique that absolutely matches the desired features of that product. But we're also balancing how that thing should be made and maintained alongside how it looks and works. When done right, it looks and feels effortless. So when I looked at the truck, I immediately started spinning my wheels trying to understand why it ended up looking the way it does.
To try to understand the complete design of the truck...not just the appearance. Throughout my career, I've learned that when something feels easy to use or looks incredibly simple, it's not easy to achieve. I like to call it tricky simplicity. From a great Motortrend interview with Tesla's chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen: To the untrained eye, the lines of a Cybertruck can appear basic, like a children's Tangram puzzle spread out on the dining room table. But it's actually more due to the very complicated military design of the modern era, from the F-22 stealth fighter to the Zumwalt-class destroyer. "People will argue that this is too simplistic.
I call it a lack of design," Franz said in a recent interview. "Erasing design normalization out of our heads was a long and exhausting process. We started with a shape like this, then had to go around the world to get back to this. It's so different from what 'I did." It's something that's been haunting me since the reveal, and one that I can't stop thinking about with the design of the truck. And as a designer, I always find it frustrating that we collectively use the word "design" to refer to how something looks... ...the aesthetic. The design is the whole enchilada.
It's how it works. It is how it should be used. It's the material choices and how they're assembled. And, yes,... it's also the appearance. I've had the pleasure of working with some immensely talented UI/UX designers in my career. And even though I work in software, not hardware and manufacturing, all great designers understand the whole system. They understand the technologies used to build what they are designing, so they know the constraints and limitations that computer engineers will need to work with. They understand what the business requirements are. They understand what users want and need the product to be able to do.
All these things influence the appearance of the final product. . And this is where the Tesla Cybertruck absolutely blows me away. Elon has spoken at length in previous interviews about how they apply first principles thinking at Tesla, which is about breaking down complicated problems to come up with original solutions. If you are trying to build a truck and using basic principle thinking, you will ask yourself what features of a truck are important and create a list of those things to include. Then discover the best method to deliver those features without being constrained by the way things have been done for the last 100 years.
I would also be trying to keep in mind how to keep manufacturing costs down, as well as overall weight to improve range. Remember, Tesla said that the Cybertruck weighs about the same as the Ford F-150, and that includes the heavy battery. A friend from the channel, who has a background in aeronautical and structural engineering, gave me some of his views, which focused on how design isn't typical form over function... it's function over form. Since they are trying to maximize space and strength, as well as keep the overall number of parts to a minimum, they went with their 30X cold rolled stainless steel, which is the same material used on the SpaceX spacecraft.
It is so hard that it would break the stamping presses used to shape typical truck and car panels. They have to mark the material and then fold in a straight line. Only being able to bend in a straight line leads to the triangular design. Triangles the strongest shape you can use. That's why you see it used on bridges so often because it helps distribute the load throughout the structure. Therefore, the Cybertruck's triangular frame-like body should give it plenty of strength. In the end it's like an oragami truck. The benefit is the strength and rigidity of stainless steel and the triangular design.
A side benefit is that you don't need large and expensive stamping machinery to build the truck, so it should be cheaper to make. It's pretty clear that by taking this approach, they didn't need to be constrained by standard body-on-frame designs, like on the Ford F-150. YouTube channel, created a fantastic video detailing the difference between a typical truck frame and the Cybertruck. It's worth checking out. There is no need for a driveshaft from the front of the truck to the rear wheels, which means no driveshaft tunnel the length of the truck. And since there's no ladder-like frame for the cab, truck bed, and engine bed to sit on, the seats can be lowered and the truck's overall height can be reduced.
And the simplified exoskeleton means fewer parts and reduced weight, helping to offset the weight of the battery. When you look at the truck objectively, it's pure down-to-earth brilliance. Or deceptive simplicity. There is much more than meets the eye with the truck. Does that mean I think it's a beautiful truck? No, I'm still getting used to it like everyone else. But I'm also a fan of Halo, Bladerunner, and Back to the Future, so I might enjoy it a bit. There is beauty in pragmatism. There is beauty in simplicity. And over time, it can become beautiful for all of us.
We just have to give it time and let our brain adjust. Taste is subject to change, after all. Based on the comments on my previous video, it seemed like they were a little more in the likes field than not, but not by much. I'm curious how everyone is feeling now. Jump into the comments and let me know. And let me know if you can think of any other examples of products that set you back at first, but grew to like you over time. Please like this video if you liked it and share it with your friends because it really helps support the channel.
Check out the links in my description for some fun Tesla inspired t-shirts, and some great gear and discounts. And as always, many thanks to all my Patreon followers. Your support is really helping make these videos possible. Be sure to check out my Patreon page for additional details on how to join the crew. If you haven't already, consider subscribing and hitting the notification bell to get alerts when I post a new video. And as always, thanks so much for watching, see you in the next one.

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