Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck

Potential devastating danger of Tesla ute

THE world's most radical pick-up truck may be a CO2-friendly boon to the environment but could pose dangers to other road users, according to the head of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the leading crash test authority in Australia.

ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin says the angular shape and stainless steel construction of the all-electric Cybertruck would likely pose risks to pedestrians and cyclists, which are among the most vulnerable road users and account for almost one in five fatalities.

"Thinking about other road users there, it's got a fairly harsh front and not a whole lot of areas that would provide some give if there was a strike with a pedestrian," said Goodwin of the Cybertruck.

The Tesla’s angular edges could prove dangerous during a collision with a pedestrian.
The Tesla’s angular edges could prove dangerous during a collision with a pedestrian.

"We do both head form and leg form impacts … the (frontal) rake would look like it's not very forgiving in terms of legs."

Goodwin said Tesla had a history of prioritising occupant protection ahead of other areas of ANCAP testing, including pedestrians and cyclists.

He pointed to the most recent Tesla Model 3 ANCAP rating. While it scored five stars, the vulnerable road user score was the lowest of the four categories evaluated, at just 74 per cent.

"We've got a concern that Tesla is very interested in the occupants of the vehicle, but it can't ignore the other road users as well," said Goodwin. "ANCAP's protocols are well known and what we would expect is that a vehicle should be able to protect the occupants of the vehicle as well as those other road users … including pedestrians and cyclists."

Elon Musk unveils the futuristic Tesla Cybertruck ute.
Elon Musk unveils the futuristic Tesla Cybertruck ute.

Goodwin also questioned the thick steel "exoskeleton", which Elon Musk says makes it tough and resistant to dents, something demonstrated by attacking the concept car with a sledge hammer, something that left no marks.

"We would expect that a vehicle should be able to absorb some (crash) energy because if it doesn't absorb some energy … it will be the people inside the vehicle who bear the brunt."

Goodwin also queried whether the Cybertruck would be approved for sale in Australia in its current guise, citing fundamental design issues that have led others to speculate significant changes would be required to make it road legal.

The thick steel “exoskeleton” could make it more dangerous for passengers.
The thick steel “exoskeleton” could make it more dangerous for passengers.

While the Cybertruck is clearly a concept - there are no indicators, airbags or windscreen wipers - the chunky tyres protrude from the wheel arches, something that would need to be corrected for production versions.

Such changes could lead to substantial tweaks to the radical Blade Runner-inspired styling, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk says has prompted more than 200,000 people to pop down a US$100 ($150) refundable deposit for a place in the queue ahead of planned production in 2021.


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