Tesla Kristallnacht – The CyberTruck Wardrobe Malfunction

November 21, 2019. The night of the broken glass for Tesla Motors. We think it may be one of those strange seminal inflection points usually unrecognized at the time, but hailed in arrears as THE moment in time. On this night, Tesla Motors transitioned from challenger to the status quo automobile industry to DOMINANCE and heir apparent to the throne of the automobile industry.

Many anticipated a Tesla pickup truck model for many months after Tesla head Elon Musk alluded to it a couple of years ago. At the Q3 earnings call in 2019 he actually characterized it as the one project he was most personally excited about at Tesla. And finally, on November 21, with laser light shows and fog machines akimbo, they finally rolled out the Tesla CyberTruck – pickup truck from the future. The excitement among the crowd of Fanboyz on hand was palpable.

The vehicle rolled out on stage to gasps of astonishment, wails of angst, and tearful fanboyz tearing their hair out in horror. The immediate and universal reaction was that this could not BE the Tesla pickup truck – it was HORRIFICALLY UGLY. The hunchback of Notre Dame in a romantic closeup scene with elephant man. And several thousand attendees EYES WIDE with shock and disbelief.

But wait, there’s more. It gets better.

Franz Holzhauser stepped up to the plate and delivered several manly blows to the truck with a 12 lb sledge hammer. Not a dent in the gleaming 301 stainless steel side of the vehicle. A brief but bizarre demonstration of chrome balls sliding down a gerbil tube to bounce off of a glass science project. Demonstrating a new kind of windshield glass? And Franz heaving a 1 pound chromium ball into the drivers side glass window of the CyberTruck, shattering it catastrophically.

Mystified confusion descended on the room. Was this on purpose? An accident? Franz looked confused. Musk clearly furious. Do it again he orders.

Franz dutifully heaved it at the rear drivers side window with EXACTLY the same results, a pie pan sized bash in the window. “Well at least it didn’t go through” mugged Musk.

The remainder of the unveil was clearly hurried, rushed, and designed to get Elon Musk off stage and beyond the image of him framed by the two broken windows and the direct side-on view of the truck.

It was the ultimate wardrobe malfunction. Janet Jackson should have been on stage with Musk instead of the girl android/robot.


The U.S. automobile market for 2018 was up 0.3% from 2017 levels to 17,274,250 units. Truck and SUV sales for the full year were up 8.0% to 11,786,069 units, while passenger car sales were down 13.1% to 5,488,181 units for 2018. Tesla has thus far offered ONLY passenger cars with no SUV or truck available at all, with the possible exception of the $125k Model X.

Tesla Model Y, a crossover SUV, has been announced and hopefully available summer of 2020. But the remarkable thing about the U.S. automotive market is that THE TOP THREE sellers in 2018 were the big three pickup trucks. America is all about pickup trucks.

1. Ford F-Series – 909,330
2. Chevrolet Silverado – 585,581
3. Dodge Ram – 536,980

Together, just these THREE pickup trucks comprise 2,031,891 unit sales or 11.76% of the entire U.S. automotive market. The Ford F series has been the top selling passenger vehicle worldwide for nearly 40 years. The pickup truck market was UP about 2.1% in 2018.

Tesla produced 350,000 total cars in 2018 among three models – about 2% of the U.S market. But that’s about 6.4% of the PASSENGER CAR sales in the U.S. for 2018 which is actually a pretty impressive number little discussed.

The average price of a new full-size pickup truck checked in at $48,369. And so we see that just the numbers of the top 3 at that average price looks like sounds like a $98,280,535,779 market just for the top three trucks. That’s 98 BILLION with a B.

Assuming Tesla could knock down 10% of that, $9.8 billion per year in annual revenue. More implies better.

And Tesla already has that.  Musk has announced 200,000 orders as of November 24th, which is a smooth $10 BILLION in orders.  10% market share in the first 3 days after unveil.

In the weeks leading up to the Tesla CyberTruck unveil, we noted several announcements from other manufacturers that we can only interpret as pickup panic. Ford, which had earlier announced they were getting out of passenger cars entirely, suddenly rolled out the all electric Ford Mustang Mach E SUV. This was a comically derivative knockoff of the Tesla Model Y, and they noted an equally preposterous availability at the end of 2020, corresponding to the model Y. Despite similarities, it most likely features lower specifications at a higher price.

And while they had previously announced a $500 million investment in Rivian with their RT-1, Ford also announced just a few days before the November 21 rollout that they too were going to introduce a Ford F-150 all electric.

The DAY of the announcement, GM chimed in with their own press release regarding the electric Silverado, and would you believe, again available in 2021.

It would appear that Tesla has gained at least two big believers in their new CyberTruck, General Motors and Ford who are terrified at the prospect of losing any market share at all to the upstart.

In this episode, we of course make mirth at the Kristalnacht Wardrobe Malfunction and the even more hilarious reaction of the usual bevy of Tesla Fanboy YouTube Personages.

BUT….. we feel relatively safe in pronouncing CyberTruck the most brilliant thing Musk has ever done and the most brilliant design Holfhausen has ever issued. We think it will be ASTONISHINGLY successful. And we think so because the Tesloids have so accurately went for the jugular – hitting ALL the things that actually drive the desire to own a pickup – an almost entirely male sport.

We can enumerate this:

1. Toughness/durablity.
2. Power/Towing
3. Large spacious interior.
4. Off Road Capability.
6. Price


It’s a bit of a male testosterone event, oddly mixed with a practical requirement. None of this is lost in pickup truck advertisements. All three leaders LEAD with this image in every single advertisement they fund. A truck should be tough and the Marlborough man should be tough and he belongs in a pickup truck.

All vehicles have an unnatural aspect in America in that they serve as an on-road avatar for the personality and image and ego of the driver. Actually and directly, part of our personal IDENTITY is wrapped up in what we drive. And pickups are tough and manly. And if you are tough and manly, obviously you drive a pickup truck – even if your day job is tax accountant or interior designer.

But as a practical matter, tough is also a factor. Truck owners tend to own their vehicles for longer periods and often they ARE used for construction work and in the trades and on the farm and in offroad situations. Since some of the larger more tricked out trucks can run $60-$80k, you don’t want to be squeamish about taking it offroad. But the gentle brush of a few branches and that stunning paint job turns to a scratched up mess. Not good. Fords move to ecofriendly aluminum bodies has been controversial. Steal is tougher.

Tesla keyed on this “toughness” thing and hit it out of the park. The oragami XY design using Ultrahardened 301 stainless represents a huge savings in the costs of manufacture, and of course total elimination of the paint shop. But it also produces a “finish” that you literally cannot mark with a sledge hammer. If something does somehow mark it, you can touch it up with a $1 piece of Scotchbrite at home. So offroading and brick hauling and lumber work just don’t pose the threat to the paint job that it did.

And despite the epic fail in the unveil, Musk’s ire will irrevocably lead to the toughest glass on planet, if it wasn’t prior to the event. The CyberTruck winds up with actually BEING a bulletproof vehicle, which feeds right into the whole Marlborough man image.

This goes to ANOTHER element onroad – intimidation. Few Hummer drivers ever got muscled out of their lane and indeed few people atually cut in in front of a Hummer. Who would have thought. Both in looks and design and build, the CyberTruck picks up where the H1 Hummer left off.

The current offerings of pickup trucks BEG the addition of all sorts of guards, brush guards and headlight guards and taillight guards and light bars.  All unnecessary with the CyberTruck.  You can’t bash out a headlight or a tail light as they have been replaced by a polymer resin lightbar that’s hard to hit anyway and if you do, it won’t do much damage.

The real basis for all this toughness is a manufacturing technique long hailed and predicted but rarely or never actually used.  XY design describes working on flat plate stainless steel with an X and Y axis NC machine to layout the design and prescore the folds – with the odd corner cutout if necessary.  This is then FOLDED into shape actually after the fashion of Japanese Oragami art.  Tack welding or seam welding the finished result is almost trivial. It is important to note if piping fabrication is needed as well.

And all of that eliminates stamping machines.  All car manufacturers tout their stamping machines as marvels as they accomplish all those compound curves in an  instant.  It IS a faster process than XY design. But the stamps and forms are horrifically expensive and they do not last as long as the man on the street thinks.  All that stretching and compressing and forming has the effect of very quickly wearing out the dies themselves and the resulting parts hold specification for a remarkably short period of time before the dies have to be replaced – again.

Eliminating this, along with the paint booth, knocks tens of thousands off the cost of the production of the car.  Which leads to another CyberTruck advantage, the base unit with the small battery and single motor is slated at $39,000.  This astonished the crowd who expected $49,995.  It will also panic the legacy OEMs.

We think this base trim will basically be powered by the Tesla Model S drive train and battery.  The Model S is a 4900 lb vehicle that can go 275 miles and 0-60 in less than 4 seconds.  Can it do 0-60 in 6.5 in a heavier CyberTruck and still get 250 miles – add a lead lead angle on the battery tech between now and 2021 – probably.


The mid range trim at $49,995 features the Model 3 275HP rear wheel drive on the FRONT of the vehicle and the Model S unit on the rear.  Motor Trend estimates this at 690 HP and 824 foot-pounds of torque – available from 0 RPM.  The vehicle is rated for 10,000 lbs towing.

Electric vehicles are just better at towing than ICE vehicles because their torque is applicable across a wide RPM range. They typically make the same 824 ft lbs at 100 rpm as they do at 3500 rpm.  The large size of the vehicle combined with the usual low center of gravity from the low placement of the battery and obviously this vehicle can’t be tossed around by even extremely large multiaxle trailers.

So we think even at 10,000 lbs compared with an ICE truck of 10,000 lbs, you will find that Apples just don’t taste very much like oranges.  The CyberTruck will accelerate batter, maintain speed up hills better while pulling, and behave better in all respects on the road pulling the same trailer.

That said, it is well known that the MPG rating of all pickup trucks goes out the window once the boat is on back.  They can claim 16 on the sticker, but picture 6 with the big boat.  Similarly, the range of the electric CyberTruck will plummet in the face of the weight of the toy towed.

Speaking of which, the event did include some video of the CyberTruck in a tug of war with a Ford F-150


The pickup market has been in a prolonged and pronounced shift toward ever larger more spacious “super” crew cabs with four doors.

But at the center of the very concept of the pickup truck is entry dimensions and interior space.  Some guys are just big.  Like 6 feet 4.  Or 300 pounds.  Or both.

It is actually rare to find a midsized or larger sedan they can’t sit in comfortably.  The problem is getting there.  Entering the car and getting out of the car can be an event for a large man and even shorter overweights such as myself prefer the Cadillac Escalade entry to the Model S.  The Model 3 believe it or not is just a smidge easier than the S.  But walking up to and into the Escalade is effortless.

And so many men select the pickup truck simply because of ease of entry and interior space.  The supersized Quarter Pounder and the Big Gulp hasn’t helped. But growing obesity in America is just a fact of life.  So XXX shirts and pickup trucks just go together.

The CyberTruck again put it OUT OF THE PARK on this one.  Six full sized seats.  A 75 inch roof peak.  And the center front seat folds down into the largest center console I’ve ever seen.  DOZENS of videos by fanboyz at the event receiving the 1 minute test ride made it very clear than anyone can get into any seat in the vehicle WITH camera gear without any strain at all.


It doesn’t matter if you actually USE a truck to go offroad or not. You buy a 4×4 for whatever reason you like, snow, ice, or fantasy. But it has to actually BE an off road vehicle.

The CyberTruck excels to Hummer H1 levels. It features 35 x 12.5 inch off road tires and a full 16 inches of ground clearance. This is what the H1 had for clearance and compares RATHER favorably to the 9.6 inches of the F-150 4×4.

Better, it is reported that the battery and motors are shielded by a full shield covering the entire underneath of the truck.

Combined with the impervious non-paint job, this may be the most capable off-road truck in the world.


On essentially every single reason we can think of why anyone would ever purchase a pickup truck, Tesla has hit this one out of the park and no matter how many times you run the replay, it’s still a home run.

What does it LOOK like? Well I’m not at all certain. Form does follow function and beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, but very much subject to revision under the “acquired taste” rubric. I didn’t like licorice, peat in Scotch, Guiness beer, mushrooms, liver and onions, root beer, and any number of other things that later became favorites after I became acclimated to them or “acquired” the taste for them.

The angular oregami shape is not initially appealing. But all the reasons for it are very much appealing. Lower cost. Higher durability. Safety. No paint. So my past experience is that it is a matter of time for that conflict to resolve itself internally to where I come to view it as the most beautiful design ever contrived. I can tell you that a scant three days has improved the look immensely for me.

But how much does fashion count in pickup trucks? Like “Honey, does this truck make my ass look fat?” You just don’t hear guys talk that way.

But eventually I believe it will be viewed as seminal and iconic. Indeed I would predict you won’t be able to shoot a successful movie in the future without rolling one through somewhere during the film and there may well be films done with it as the centerpiece.

One thing is certain, it has ALREADY garnered for Tesla an immense amount of unpaid exposure on all media everywhere.

His claim to genius remains unassailable, even in the face of broken glass and failed unveils.

I fully expect General Motors, Ford, Dodge, and probably VW to all start bashing the shit out of their windshields in response.

Jack Rickard


41 thoughts on “Tesla Kristallnacht – The CyberTruck Wardrobe Malfunction”

    1. Stanley A. Cloyd

      Sandy Monroe’s observations and comments about the avoidable complexity and expense in the model 3 body design and construction were not lost on the engineers at Tesla. Elon’s rebuttal about the issue was: “Yeh, we already fired that guy.”

    2. That’s for the Model-Y. Apparently not using it in Shanghai; I saw multiple presses there in leaked prelim line photos. Model-Y will be initially just Fremont, but the Shanghai factory is only using half the property footprint, the right side. The left side has some scattered buildings and parking on it, but it’s empty for a reason – a second building for a Model-Y line. That will include more automation, single cast-unibody, 100-meter wiring harness (down from 10 km, iirc) due to different/better design principles, and probably a seat factory, too, since seats are currently made in Fremont (another factory down the road, same town), but they’ll want to make them in China instead of shipping them.

    3. That’s for Model Y, Tesla’s crossover SUV due in 2020. Initially there will be 2 parts and 2 fasteners, but that will be replaced by a single casting.

      Model Y will also have an innovative harness, also patented.

    4. I think the Y is supposed to have a die cast (magnesium?) frame which cuts down production time of forming and welding many pieces together. must be a pretty impressive system to form a frame or even just a sub-frame.

  1. Will the fasteners and other parts also be 301SS or some other FEO2 resistant material so as to make this truck the top contender in the winter salt spreading rust belt states?

  2. Srsly, Musk waited patiently for the rest of the industry to get woke. He could have gone for the jugular right at the start and built an EV truck. That’s their profit center; that’s their baby.

    Instead, he cut them some slack and built the roadster first, proof of concept, and the other carmakers just snickered; then, he built the Model S and it ran away from the competition outselling all in its class. Next, the Model X, and the competition breathed a sigh of relief and went back to snickering. Then the Model 3, and it ran away from all competitors just like the Model S, and that includes the Camry and Prius and Altima crowd. And the other carmakers cried “foul” and ran to mommy Drumpf and begged for punishment of that Bully Elon, which won’t make a bit of difference cause now Elon’s got a truck.

  3. The truth will out when the poor truckers (with limited real world experience in Electric Vehicles), hook up their 10,000 lb trailer (loaded with Snowmobiles), to drive up north on a zero degree winter day. Then they may find that if they want to get 100 miles on a full charge, they will need to drive with the heater off. (Luxury?)

    1. Well, snowmachines weigh about 500 pounds so 10,000 sounds a bit high… unless the “poor trucker” in question is Jim Bob Dugger and his 19 kids!

      But seriously. The deal with Supercharging is that it makes long distance travel feasible, not quite the same as gas.

      Supercharging is still not as convenient as gasoline. Unless your one of those people with dogs or kids or the need for bodily functions like eating and peeing.

      Then you’re gonna need to stop for a half hour anyway so just park once and then go take care of business.

  4. As ever Jack – a perceptive review that helps the understanding. It will be interesting to see whether as the penny drops and acquired taste kicks in whether Tesla stock trends up again

  5. Seems to me that the potential of a Tesla truck with a nice sized battery pack and a decently sized inverter, might be quite an attractive vehicle for those Californians, that keep getting their power shut off for wild fire prevention reasons. Just reorganize the power panel for critical loads onto a subpanel and plug house into the truck. Critical loads being prioritized around Grandpa’s oxygen machine,keeping the lights on, and the beer in the frigde cold. “Honey, I’m going to the city to get a load of power, need anything from Walley World”?

    Even in our case as an off-grid family, we have energy storage as our number one issue, that trimotor Cybertuck would fit in my drive way nicely. Here’s to Elon putting a 15,000 watt inverter in, instead of a wimpy little 300 watt unit like Toyota did in my current truck.

  6. Jack. Love your thesis on the cost-of-doing-business megashorts. After reading your essay, it sounds like Big Business 101. 2+2=4.

    AND I think you’re right about the Cybertruck, too. Except one thing: For the Love of God, Montressor, remove “kristallnacht” from the article. Yes, it’s clever, but there are real live neo-nazis killing jews and other minorities in the US right now.

    Elon is NOT der Fürher.

    Unless you want the neo-Nazis linking to you — and chanting that should they should buy Elon’s armored Cybertruck and start hunting the untermenschen in the streets with their AKs — you really want kristallnacht out of there.

    This is not snowflake BS. This is way past that. This is at the level of using a swastika as your home page banner.

    Love your work, though.
    And I think you’re right about the Cybertruck. OMG.

    – Rick

    p.s. Feel free not to post. But please….

    1. Would agree… a Brit here living in Berlin… the original post is great, but Kristallnacht… was a reason Germany could not use that day for their day of unity… I realise it is your original title… sorry 🙁

  7. Jack,
    I think you have identified the very essence of the male US motorist; well a large proportion of them. On the other hand, a mere dweeb like myself weighing less than 140lbs, it’s not a question of does my ass look too fat; but I’ll be lost inside the cavernous inside. Maybe I’ll need pedal extenders? That it’s so big inside makes me think it could actually be the next TARDIS. Maybe the current female Doctor Who could get on board, thereby creating more sales for Tesla reaching Whovians and female drivers?

    Finally, Elon and his team have addressed the major issue I have with current automakers. Vehicles that scratch, dent and generally fall apart the moment they leave the stealership. God forbid a Ford lasts more than 5 years, it will dissolve into a pile of rust. Either way, short lived vehicles are a resource nightmare tricking the motoring public into parting with huge gobs of cash every 5 years to avoid unpredictable maintenance costs and a nice shiny toy to impress the neighbors! Oh, and by the way, another chunk of tax to keep the government running and buying more military toys.

    Once Tesla convinced the motoring public that paint and curves are unsustainable; perhaps all our transportation will be built this way, avoiding paint, polish and putting the car wash permanently out of business! After all, that washing is bad for the environment.

    I didn’t plan on visiting the Tesla Truck Reveal since I’m not in the market for a truck… That might change now I don’t have to worry about the usual motoring mishaps with said truck! I feel smug in the knowledge that my garage is probably big enough to be home to a Tesla Truck.
    Thank you Jack for your insightful commentary!

  8. Pingback: Auto expert dubs Tesla Cybertruck as Elon Musk’s boldest, greatest creation yet – Automotivetestdrivers.com Your Source For Automotive News

  9. Pingback: Auto expert dubs Tesla Cybertruck as Elon Musk’s boldest, greatest creation yet – Teslarati – NewsmakerPro

  10. Spent my whole life in SE Michigan (70 years). Last job helping to build automotive manufacturing machines. I watched the unveil. When it rolled out I felt mild surprise. As soon as Musk said form follows function I perked up. A few functional details and the vehicle started looking better and better. If this vehicle can deliver as predicted it’s a huge achievement. It doesn’t just disrupt the pickup market. It disrupts personal transportation. I’m not a truck guy. In fact my choice right now is a clean, low miles, cheap, older Camry (very nice car). The cypertruck tugs on me and it will for many people who would have never considered a pickup truck. A lot of soccer moms will go for the base version, especially if it can paralell park itself. A lot of non truck drivers will end up owning this vehicle.

    I won’t consider owning this truck because I wont spend for the top tier model and I won’t do without 450 miles in the tank. How about a smaller version with the 500 mile battery,, two motors and the mid tier price? I abolutely love this vehicle. A triumph for Elon if he brings it to market as advertised..

  11. Interesting analysis, which has huge economic consequences for Tesla.
    On the negative side, I wish Mr Rickard would not use the term “Kristallnacht,” which is so laden with the memory of the death of a European people. A historical event that marked the beginning of political movement that killed millions cannot be baudlerized into a television event window failure.

  12. Elon can call me when it’ll tow a good load for at least 300 miles, and be able to pick up a full charge in about 5 minutes. Sure this’d be great for local stuff and mall cruisers, but for real work, it ain’t quite there yet. I’m looking forward to that day, though.

    1. No doubt he has you on speed dial. It’s worth noting that as EVs become more and more capable, the “call me when” demands become more and more lofty. At some point it will become too difficult to conjure non-laughable objections and the public at-large will suddenly proclaim they knew EVs were a great idea all along!

  13. First, great article, Jack! Great points all around. I’m a Tesla fan, our family goes camping, skiing, hiking… we’re in the mountains a lot and have a boat to tow, so while I’ve been saving up for a Model X, the Cybertruck is interesting to me for several of the reasons the author mentions.

    Second, I’m anticipating some backlash to my next comment and I just want to state up front, that I realize the purpose of this article is to focus on the merits of the Cybertruck and I also realize that no ill-will was intended. No ill-will is intended by my comment either.

    Okay, here goes. I think it’s truly dangerous to use Kristallnacht and allusions to it, as a frame of reference for the on stage demo failure and for this article in general. I’m not a censor trying to remove clever references or limit comedy, but I am keenly aware of rising violence against immigrants and anti-Semitism here in America, including recent shootings resulting in hate-driven murder, in this day and age.

    By referencing a night of true horror in which lives were lost and livelihoods ruined, you are (likely unintentionally) trivializing an event which many extremists falsely claim is a hoax. Therefore, the puns and references make it easier for the current-day hate to pervade. Additionally, you also undermine the excellence and validity of the otherwise meaningful points you are attempting to make about the Cybertruck.

    I hope everyone in the Tesla community takes to heart how serious it is to trivialize real-life events in which hate-based mass murder took place in a current environment where that same hate still exists today and statistically significant, non-partisan data shows is on the rise.

    I also hope Jack, you consider editing the article to change or eliminate the puns and outright remove the Kristallnacht reference. It will not only make the world that much safer (yes, really) but it will also further strengthen the article.

  14. I’m not sure the glass shattering mishap was such a bad thing. I mean, the first mental image we’ll keep of the Cybertruck is that of a battle-scarred batmobile. You can’t out-man that, except maybe with bullet marks.

    Wardrobe malfunction indeed: it’s so good communication-wise that you can’t help questioning whether that was only luck 🙂

    Also: it redirected all criticism towards something that 1. is a bonus, not part of base expectations 2. will obviously be fixed, under Musk’s enhanced vigilance. Haters gonna hate, you can’t silence them, but you can manipulate them into focusing on something irrelevant.

  15. You know I have tried to ignore the Kristallnacht goofy comments from some of you, I do understand, but that’s not what Jack meant with it.

    It was about the window (Kristall) and it was at night (Nacht). At least that what I assume he meant.

    Geez people give it a rest. And btw I know all about the subject, was born in 1944 Deutschland.


  16. Jack,

    Do you think the short squeeze is happening now? I have been looking at the VW one in the 2008 period. It happened over a reasonably short period of time. I imagine you might be quite excited about it. I have some shares, although a modest number, and I am getting a bit excited.

    I know what your investing strategy is because I watched your last video so I know your answer is “I don’t know”, but just for fun, what is your current guess of how this will play out? The price marching upwards for months or a massive surge over weeks?

    Nick. 🙂

  17. I want to post this here, for I have no use for YouTube. This is a long video, so copy and read when you have time. Its high time we find the truth about what is happening, and this video will tell the best information we have at this time. I have been aware of this for some time, and this video, just compliments what my suspicions were from the beginning of this terrible event.



  18. Well of course the cybertruck would win against the F150. Even the original roadster and probably even a Prius would. The F150 has no real weight over the rear axle whereas an electric car, any electric car, has even weight distribution so loads of traction. You pistonheads just don’t get it.

  19. Well, now what, after the sad passing of Jack, is anyone still there, is anyone reading the posts, and will EVTV continue ?? would have hoped that Jack made some provisions, but what do I know.

    Please someone at EVTV make a comment, so we know where this project is heading.

    Thank you.


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