Stop Calling The Tesla Cybertruck 'Bulletproof'


There are many different "bulletproof" standards. Does the Tesla Cybertruck actually meet any of them?

Taken literally, the word "bulletproof" is a bit nonsensical; where one bullet fails to pierce, there's always a bigger, more powerful bullet. That's why there are various different standards for testing the bullet resistance of things like passenger vehicles, and it's these standards that raise concerns regarding the "bulletproofness" of the new Tesla Cybertruck, unveiled in LA last month.

In fairness to Tesla Motors, we have no reason yet to doubt CEO Elon Musk's claim that the stainless steel body of the rather odd-looking battery-electric truck can withstand a 9 mm round, but that's not where our concern lies. Rather, we're more interested in the glass.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Side View Tesla
2021 Tesla Cybertruck Front Angle View Tesla

A recent post on Opposite Lock details the concerns. Essentially, numerous ballistic-resistance testing standards exist, each controlling for the type of round, the proximity of the impacts relative to each other, and the distance from which the shots are being fired. As an example, the post mentions the common VR4 rating, which requires that a vehicle withstand three shots from a .44 magnum at a distance of 10 m, with all three rounds impacting within 90 mm of one another.

While we don't know that the Tesla Cybertruck's glass wouldn't pass such a test, the demonstration-gone-awry at the truck's unveiling that put two huge marks in the side glass doesn't inspire confidence. (We recognize that it was a pre-production truck on stage, but still. Come on.)

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Front Angle View Tesla

To withstand ballistic projectiles, the Opposite Lock contributor explains, manufacturers typically use windows made of many layers of glass and polycarbonate, with a total thickness of 21 to 30 mm. That's a lot of weight high up in the body, where it works to raise the center of gravity further above the road, compromising handling. Teslas generally enjoy an uncommonly low center of gravity, thanks to their floor-mounted battery packs, but that might not be enough to completely offset true ballistic-resistant windows, especially given the truck's taller ride height.

Such windows are also costly and difficult to make, and extra cost is about the last thing an EV manufacturer needs.

So, there's some doubt as to whether the Tesla Cybertruck really is bullet-resistant enough to meet common ballistic-resistance standards, let alone "bulletproof." But on the bright side, at least it won't handle like a wet noodle.

2021 Tesla Cybertruck Front View Driving Tesla
2021 Tesla Cybertruck Interior Overview Tesla

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2021 Tesla Cybertruck Side View
2021 Tesla Cybertruck Interior Overview

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