In brief: Tesla, and Elon Musk, in particular, generated so much hype over the Cybertruck that it sold more than 200,000 in less than a week, and it's not even slated for production until 2021. This was even after the shatter-proof windows shattered in the demonstration, and people made fun of its design online.
To say that the unveiling of Tesla's Cybertruck last week did not go smoothly might be a bit of an understatement. In a demonstration of the truck's "unbreakable" glass, design lead Franz von Holzhausen threw a metal ball at both of the driver-side windows. Much to Elon Musk's chagrin, both windows shattered. He could even be heard muttering, "Oh my [expletive] god."
"It didn't go through, so that's the plus side," Musk said, trying to mask his embarrassment.
In a tweet on Sunday, the Tesla boss said they figured out what had gone wrong. Immediately before the glass demo, von Holzhausen was slamming the truck's doors with a sledgehammer to show the durability of the vehicle's body. That demo went as planned and was quite impressive as the hits would have destroyed any other car.
Yup. Sledgehammer impact on door cracked base of glass, which is why steel ball didn’t bounce off. Should have done steel ball on window, *then* sledgehammer the door. Next time …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2019
However, the pounding managed to crack the panes of glass at the base housed inside the door. These cracks weakened the glass causing it to shatter. The excuse does seem reasonable, and Musk subsequently posted a video of von Holzhausen performing the same demo in slow motion before the event with the ball harmlessly bouncing off the window.
Franz throws steel ball at Cybertruck window right before launch. Guess we have some improvements to make before production haha. pic.twitter.com/eB0o4tlPoz— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2019
The smashed windows certainly threw a damper on the presentation, but the internet's reaction to the reveal made for a bumpy ride as well. Viewers roasted the Cybertruck's design.
"The new Tesla truck looks like a Pontiac Aztek as rendered in Goldeneye for the N64," tweeted one viewer.
Another posted, "Everyone is making fun of the new Tesla truck, but it has a very low poly count, which means that it renders way faster in the simulation." This last was a reference to Musk's comments that we could be living in an advanced civilization's computer simulation.
Despite the Cybertruck's rough reveal, the internet criticism, and the company's stock dropping by six percent after the unveiling, pre-orders for the pickup reached over 200,000 by Sunday. Those early buyers still have at least a two-year wait before they can drive their vehicle, since the truck won't even go into production until late 2021.