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An exoskeleton fit for a Cybertruck

03 February 2020

To say that the Cybertruck is different is an understatement. Since its launch, people have talked about its high towing and payload capability, longer driving range, increased battery capacity and reasonably tiered pricing. However, most of the discussion pertains to Tesla’s bold aesthetic design. Here, Ben Smye, head of growth at Matmatch, examines the influence of material selection in the design and aesthetic of the vehicle.

The Cybertruck sports a radical, futuristic look and does not follow the conventional pickup truck form, which is precisely one of the things pointed out by Elon Musk that hasn’t changed much for a hundred years, since the early 1900s. Looking at the conceptualisation of the Cybertruck, is the planar design just a whimsical decision or a result of material choice and manufacturing considerations? Let’s take a look at these factors.

The Cybertruck exoskeleton steel grade

The Cybertruck exoskeleton is made from Tesla’s own stainless-steel alloy, referred to as the “Ultra-hard 30X Cold-rolled Stainless Steel”. While the blend is proprietary, Elon mentioned during the product launch that the exoskeleton material of the vehicle is the same as the SpaceX Starship shell. If that is indeed the case, Musk has previously confirmed in an interview regarding the use of high quality 300 series stainless steel for the Starship as the material of choice instead of the advanced carbon fibre that his team was initially working with.

Stainless steel was decided to be utilised for the Starship due to the following factors:

• Stainless steel costs half of the advanced carbon fibre material
• It can withstand cryogenic temperatures for ascending
• It has a high melting point for spaceship re-entry.

The initial material for the Cybertruck skins was supposed to be titanium but, with this, it can be deduced that the stainless steel “30X” is a kind of steel grade under the 300 series code.

Read the full article in the February issue of DPA.


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