People’s opinion regarding the Cybertruck is mostly informed by whether they love or hate the truck’s angular exposed stainless steel design or not.
From the outside, the Cybertruck is certainly one of the most radical-looking vehicles. And not just from a looks perspective but also function. There aren’t a lot of bulletproof and arrowproof vehicles you can buy straight from the factory with shatter-resistant glass.
The Tesla “Cyberbeast” Cybertruck Face-off Against $110,000 Ford F-150 Raptor R – Ford is in Trouble, There’s a New King in Town! @Tesla @elonmusk @WholeMarsBlog #cybertruck https://t.co/20N86mgqGK
— Torque News (@torquenewsauto) December 9, 2023
The Cybertruck’s exterior is certainly a showstopper, however, looking at those marvelous stainless steel edges, you might neglect to realize the even more radical engineering breakthroughs “under the hood” that make the Cybertruck what it is.
And this is why the “Teardown Titan” Sandy Munro exists. With decades of work building and tearing down vehicles, Sandy is the perfect person to educate the public on all the breakthroughs that make the Cybertruck the most advanced vehicle currently out on the roads.
Thankfully, Tesla gave Sandy unprecedented access to the top engineering executives at Tesla which allowed him to share with us some of the behind the scene marvels of the truck straight from the people tasked with designing them.
In his latest episode covering the Cybertruck, Sandy released a blockbuster interview with the top 5 engineering-related heads at Tesla.
The rockstar team in attendance included – Tesla’s Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen; Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy, Drew Baglino; Director of Low-Voltage and Autopilot Hardware, Pete Bannon; and finally VP of Software Engineering, David Lau.
MKBHD Releases Cybertruck 2nd Impressions Video – “All the Numbers Except 0 to 60 Mph are Worst Than They Promised, 1st Time That’s True for Tesla” @elonmusk @Tesla#Cybertruckhttps://t.co/WeMNCizGMh
— Torque News (@torquenewsauto) December 8, 2023
These are the people tasked with heading up all the engineering breakthroughs that have arrived with the Cybertruck. The almost hour-long video is full of fascinating details about the behind-the-scenes of some of the engineering decisions, the culture working at Tesla that makes the EV maker so successful, and other nitty-gritty engineering details.
I highly recommend you watch the video in its entirety, however, just to whet your appetite, these are some of the highlights of the interview. One thing really smart Tesla did for this interview was systematically lay out all the individual components that the EV maker felt were important or revolutionary to show to Sandy.
This allowed the Tesla executives to walk from one part to the next and discuss all the improvements in a more palatable and organized manner.
The main headline-grabbing Cybertruck breakthroughs include – First, the Cybertruck is the first vehicle to be built entirely using a 48-volt low-voltage architecture. The low voltage architecture is what everything in the vehicle that is electronic excluding the powertrain and A/C is powered by.
These include things like the audio system, frunk, trunk, infotainment, seat controls, window controls, and so on.
Every other car for the past 70 years except for the Cybertruck is powered by a 12-volt battery. The 12-volt system was okay for decades when the only thing the low-voltage system powered was a radio and maybe windows.
However, the electricity need of current vehicles has grown so significantly that to power everything in a modern car using a 12-volt architecture means thick heavy wires and multiple heat sinks to manage all the heat produced by passing high power at such a low voltage.
This increases weight, cost, and complexity which are bad enough in conventional vehicles but are even more harmful in electric vehicles which are, thanks to their batteries, heavy and expensive to begin with.
As discussed in the video, by going from a 12-volt system to a 48-volt Tesla was able to multiply the voltage by 4 times. This decreases heat generated by the low voltage system 16 times. This is because the two variables have a square function.
The second headline-grabbing Cybertruck improvement is the steer-by-wire variable gain steering ratio steering system. I’ve discussed the Cybertruck’s revolutionary steering wheel system in a previous article however, just to recap, a steer-by-wire system completely decouples the steering wheel from the wheels and tires.
A computer measures your steering wheel input and the data is transferred through a data cable to a motor which then turns the wheels. The fact that there is no permanent link between the steering wheel and the wheels means the tires’ response to a steering wheel input is entirely controlled by software.
This allows the vehicle to have different tire rotation responses at different speeds. In slower speeds, for example, when doing a 5-point turn, you want to be able to quickly turn the wheels with minimal steering wheel input however, at higher speeds, you don’t want a minimal steering input causing exaggerated rotation as that can cause an accident.
A steer-by-wire system allows you to have the best of both worlds at higher and lower speeds. Although the need for a steer-by-wire system sounds obvious this is yet another first for the automotive industry.
The third breakthrough is the move to high-bandwidth ethernet cabling to transfer data throughout the vehicle. Pete Bannon, Director of Low-Voltage and Autopilot Hardware, and David Lau, VP of Software Engineering, go into detail explaining the benefits of using an ethernet cable to transfer data and connect the entirety of the vehicle.
According to Tesla’s Director of Low-Voltage and Autopilot Hardware, this has allowed to cut the weight of data cable by a whopping 83%. In addition, Tesla’s VP of Software engineering also explained some of the added functionality afforded by connecting the vehicle through an ethernet loop.
Elon Musk Hints Cybertruck Can be Sold in Europe, Refutes Tesla Truck is “Unable to Pass European Pedestrian Safety Regulations” @Tesla @elonmusk#Cybertruck https://t.co/EOEh5VekoU
— Torque News (@torquenewsauto) December 7, 2023
One example he gave was data coming from the suspension and dampers, data coming from microphones that detect noise, and the speakers that emit noise in reaction to these inputs by using active noise cancelation can all travel through one data loop.
This not only improves latency but according to David Lau also enables to diagnose issues arising in the vehicle much more easily. Lau explains, that since every component of the vehicle is connected through a single ethernet cable loop, just by plugging in one point, you can get an entire read of every component of the vehicle.
These are all the breakthroughs exclusive to the Cybertruck however, other advancements that just started to roll out with Tesla's other vehicles have also made their way to the Cybertruck.
Most of these have to do with Tesla’s fourth-generation powertrain. With the Model Y Performance, Tesla has rolled out next-generation hairpin motors which are much cheaper and quicker to produce because their entire production can be automated as they eliminate the need to hand wind the motor stator.
According to Drew Baglino, who’s Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy, the Cybertruck also features these hairpin motors which should improve the truck’s production.
As I’ve mentioned above, Sandy’s interview with Tesla executives contains an in-depth explanation of some of the most advanced components of the Cybertruck and I highly recommend you watch the video in its entirety.
Finally, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Excited to learn about all the breakthroughs coming with the Cybertruck in addition to its stainless steel exoskeleton? Also, what is your favorite feature about the Cybertruck? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.