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Tesla launches Cyber electric truck, but shatterproof window snafu steals the show

Image credit: reuters

Tesla has unveiled its first electric pickup truck, showing off a futuristic angular body, but its “shatterproof” windows were easily smashed during its first demonstration, proving something of an embarrassment for founder Elon Musk.

Tesla says the vehicle has “more utility than a truck, with more performance than a sports car”, while Musk attempted to show off its ruggedness with a live demonstration.

As part of the unveiling, Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla's head of design, threw a metal ball at two of the vehicle’s supposedly shatterproof windows. Unfortunately for Musk, both windows instantly shattered.

“At least it didn’t go through”, Musk said somewhat sheepishly, while admitting there was “room for improvement”.

With a starting price of $39,900 (£31,000), the Cyber truck is less expensive than initially thought, but its unusual design could limit its broader appeal.

The truck was unveiled at a launch event in Los Angeles, where it emerged other versions will be priced at $49,900 and $69,900, with the most expensive model offering a range of over 500 miles (800km). Production is expected to begin in late 2021.

“We need sustainable energy now. If we don’t have a pickup truck, we can’t solve it", Musk said. "The top three selling vehicles in America are pickup trucks. To solve sustainable energy, we have to have a pickup truck”.

Tesla also said the top of the range, triple electric motor version of the CyberTruck would be capable of going from zero to 60 miles an hour in 2.9 seconds - comparable with many sports cars.

The truck’s hulking, sharp, geometric body was made from stainless steel, set atop massive tires and had windows made from armoured glass.

Musk has been teasing the idea of creating a truck for some time, first tweeting about such an idea in 2012 before including it in his so-called “master plan” for the company, published in 2016.

“It will be a niche product at best and poses no threat in the pickup market as we know it today,” wrote Matt DeLorenzo, senior executive editor at automotive research company Kelley Blue Book.

Musk also claimed the truck’s “ultra-hard” exterior “won’t scratch and dent”, despite the armoured glass snafu.

The vehicle marks the first foray by Tesla into pickup trucks, a market dominated by Ford’s F-150, along with models by General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. Tesla's Model 3 sedan is the world’s best-selling battery electric car. 

In April this year, Musk said that Tesla was less than two years away from producing a fully driverless vehicle.

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