Tesla Cybertruck design questioned by major safety body

The sharp creases and edges make for a futuristic look -- but perhaps one not friendly to pedestrians, according to Australia's car safety chief.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Tesla Cybertruck promo

The Cybertruck may be a problem for people both outside and inside the pickup, according to ANCAP.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Building cars is not an easy task. Aside from getting the basics down, there are numerous regulations that span multiple sectors automakers need to adhere to. Chief among them are safety standards.

This may be something the Tesla Cybertruck needs to put more focus on, according to the head of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, which is Australia's equivalent of the US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. James Goodwin, ANCAP's chief executive, said Cybertruck's design doesn't appear to adhere to pedestrian and cyclist safety standards, News.com.au reports.

Goodwin is looking specifically at things like the "harsh front" that doesn't appear to be particularly safe in the event a Cybertruck strikes a pedestrian. ANCAP looks at things such as head and leg form crashes in its tests, and right now, Goodwin thinks "the [frontal] rake look[s] like it's not very forgiving in terms of legs."

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Not only that, but the Cybertruck's "exoskeleton" body material caused some alarm as well. ANCAP looks for vehicles to absorb some of the energy in an impact because, if it doesn't, passengers will bear the brunt of the force.

While this material may be perfect to keep out dents -- Tesla staff hit the electric truck with a sledgehammer and it showed zero damage (though apparently contributed to the embarrassing window shatter later on) -- it could put passengers at risk.

Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Other Tesla cars have been awarded high safety honors from industry bodies, with the Tesla Model 3 recently earning the IIHS' coveted Top Safety Pick Plus, only the second electric car to do so.

Obviously, the Cybertruck cannot enter production in its current form. It's missing windshield wipers, traditional mirrors that are, right now, required for the US market and the pickup also lacks turn signals. The challenge will be turning this trapezoidal design into something approved for sale in markets around the world, while keeping its futuristic charm. Tesla plans to start production in 2021 and preorders are currently open.

Watch this: Tesla Cybertruck: First ride in the pickup of the future