Musk’s Remarks About Tesla Cybertruck Raise Doubts About Exoskeleton

He said development is complete, but that the truck will have parts made by a stronger die casting machine.

One of the most impressive things about the Tesla Cybertruck was that it would have a stressed-skin structure, also called an exoskeleton. Sandy Munro was talked about that in multiple videos. At Tesla’s Q4 2020 earnings call, Elon Musk raised doubts about that. According to him, the Cybertruck development is complete, and it will use a more powerful Giga Press to have its rear structure.

As we already explained back on June 5, 2020, IDRA Group supplies Tesla with Giga Presses. The one used for the Model Y is called OL 5500 CS HPDC, which stands for High-Pressure Die Casting. It has a clamping force of 5,500 tons. Musk seems to have rounded that up to 6,000 tons.

Talking about the Cybertruck, he mentioned that it would need an even more powerful high-pressure die casting machine with a clamping force of 8,000 tons. That would be necessary to create the rear body of the pickup truck because “you’ve got a long truck bed that’s going to support a lot of load.” Such an HPDC machine is not even listed on IDRA Group’s website.

The mega casting for that rear structure will probably be massive, but it will also not have anything to do with an exoskeleton. The idea for stressed-skin structures is that they are self-sufficient, acting as both the frame and the body of a pickup truck at the same time. Even the exterior panels have a structural function, unlike unibody arrangements. 

If Tesla made this rear structure to place it under the exoskeleton, the stressed-skin structure misses its point. It will be like adding a frame to its stainless steel body – if the Cybertruck will still have one. Having a separate structure for the battery pack would make sense, but that would be in the middle of the pickup truck, not at the rear.

Whatever that means, Tesla will not change that at this point. As Musk mentioned, development is complete, and the electric pickup truck’s deliveries will probably begin in 2021. We’ll have to wait to see what happened to one of its most promising features. With what we have now, it seems it is gone.

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