When Tesla released its Cybertruck, it made a splash because it was certainly a different look to, well, pretty much anything we see on the market today. With futuristic, inorganic lines and sharp panels, it’s the kind of car you’re either going to love or hate. And automotive designer Frank Stephenson… isn’t a big fan.
Stephenson has done design work at Mini, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, and McLaren. Motor Trend named him one of the most influential designers of our time, and with a resumé like his, it’s hard to disagree. One of his big proponents is something he calls “biomimicry,” which is basically designing cars with the kind of lines you might normally see in a natural landscape.
If you haven’t already guessed, he isn’t a huge fan of Tesla’s work with the Cybertruck. But I’ll let him be the one to break it down for you via his YouTube channel:
When it comes to the exterior, Stephenson is not convinced the Cybertruck is going to age particularly well. He compares it to the graphics in the original Playstation—all unrealistic, pixelated shapes—which I find it hard to disagree with. Tesla definitely went for a somewhat futuristic route here, but can’t say it pulled it off. The Cybertruck is kind of chunky and almost comical.
Stephenson is also quick to draw our attention to the ol’ Citroën Karin concept, which he actually argues is more futuristic-looking than the Cybertruck. And that’s saying something, because the Karin debuted in 1980.
He also makes a really good criticism of the interior, calling it “anti-environmentalist” and cold. He posits that seems counterintuitive to an electric car, which is supposed to be far more environmentally-friendly than its internal combustion engined counterparts. The dent-proof panels, too, indicate a future where we’ll want to be shielded from nature rather than be a part of it.
I’d never considered it from that point of view, but Stephenson is definitely onto something here. It feels like the Cybertruck is a machine built more to colonize another planet than to really feel at one with the planet we already live on. It’s a combative machine, not one designed to foster unity.
It’s a great video, and one that might put some words to the uncomfortable feelings you had when looking at the Cybertruck for the first time. I know it certainly did a lot to articulate mine.