Harden Electric News Tesla Cybertruck Builds Start – Aussie Market Concerns

Tesla Cybertruck Builds Start – Aussie Market Concerns

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So the Tesla Cybertruck Builds have Started, with one big concern for the Australian Market.

A lot of people have been talking about there being no Midgate on the vehicle, which is a big player on some of the other electric utes that are coming from GM for example.

Image of headboard of Cybertruck showing no Midgate cutout to allow longer items into the cabin. Image courtesy of @TeslaPhx on Twitter

A midgate, also known as a mid-panel or mid-divider, is a unique feature found in some pickup trucks that offers several advantages.

  1. Versatile Cargo Configurations: The primary advantage of a midgate is its ability to provide versatile cargo configurations. By opening the midgate, the rear passenger cabin and the truck bed can be connected, creating an extended cargo area. This allows for the transportation of longer items that wouldn’t fit within the confines of a standard truck bed. The midgate effectively extends the cargo capacity of the truck, accommodating items such as long lumber, pipes, or other bulky objects.
  2. Increased Payload Capacity: With the midgate open, the extended cargo area created by the combination of the truck bed and rear cabin allows for increased payload capacity. This can be especially useful when transporting heavy or large loads that wouldn’t fit within the confines of the truck bed alone. The midgate enables the pickup to carry more substantial loads without sacrificing interior passenger space or resorting to towing a trailer.
  3. Enhanced Passenger Comfort and Convenience: Another advantage of a midgate is the enhanced passenger comfort and convenience it offers. When the midgate is closed, the rear passenger cabin remains separate from the truck bed, providing a traditional seating area with its own climate control and noise insulation. This means that even with the truck bed fully loaded, passengers can still enjoy a comfortable and quiet ride, separate from the cargo area.
  4. Flexibility for Work and Recreation: The flexibility provided by a midgate makes the pickup truck suitable for a range of work and recreational activities. It allows owners to switch seamlessly between hauling cargo, transporting passengers, and carrying a combination of both. Whether it’s transporting equipment for a construction job, bikes for a weekend adventure, or a mix of supplies and passengers for a family outing, the midgate ensures that the pickup is adaptable to a wide range of needs.
  5. Potential for Improved Fuel Efficiency: In some cases, utilizing the midgate to extend the cargo area can potentially contribute to improved fuel efficiency. By consolidating longer items within the truck bed and avoiding the need to tow a trailer, the pickup truck may experience less wind resistance, leading to better fuel economy compared to towing or carrying items on an open trailer.

But Australians care about something else….

But one of the largest concerns that Australian prospective owners have been quick to pick up on has been the image of the front firewall between the Froot and the Passenger Compartment:

Front Firewall for Tesla Cybertruck – Images courtesy of @TeslaPhx on Twitter

As you can see there appears to be no visible cutout for a steering column as pictured on the right hand side of the image, or the left hand side of the passenger compartment. That is the large circle surrounded by 4 smaller circles.

Steer by Wire?

Some commentators online have suggested that future iterations of the Cybertruck could be “Steer By Wire”

“Steer By Wire” (SBW) system is an advanced technology used in automobiles that replaces the traditional mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels with an electronic interface. Instead of using physical linkages such as steering columns, shafts, and hydraulic systems, SBW relies on electronic signals to control the steering.

In a typical SBW system, various sensors, electronic control units (ECUs), and actuators work together to enable steering control. Here’s a simplified explanation of how a Steer By Wire system generally operates:

  1. Steering Input: When the driver turns the steering wheel, sensors detect the input torque, angle, or position and send the information to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU).
  2. Electronic Control Unit: The ECU processes the input signals and determines the intended steering action based on various factors such as vehicle speed, stability control, and driver assistance systems.
  3. Actuators: Instead of directly transmitting the steering input mechanically, the ECU sends electrical signals to actuators located near the wheels or within the steering system. These actuators can be electric motors, hydraulic systems, or a combination of both.
  4. Steering Assistance: The actuators convert the electrical signals into physical steering actions. They can apply torque or force directly to the steering mechanism, which then adjusts the wheel position accordingly. In some cases, the SBW system may also incorporate additional features like variable steering effort, feedback simulation, or active steering control.
  5. Feedback to the Driver: To provide the driver with a sense of steering feel, feedback mechanisms may be employed. These mechanisms can include vibration, resistance, or other feedback cues to mimic the traditional mechanical steering feel.

Advantages of Steer By Wire systems include flexibility in steering ratio, customizable steering feel, potential weight savings due to the elimination of mechanical components, and integration with advanced driver assistance systems. However, it’s worth noting that SBW technology is still relatively new and not yet widespread in mainstream production vehicles, though it has been explored and implemented in some concept cars and high-end vehicles.

It’s important to mention that specific implementations of Steer By Wire systems may vary between manufacturers, and the technology is subject to rigorous safety standards and regulations to ensure its reliability and responsiveness.

While Steer By Wire (SBW) systems offer several advantages, they also come with some potential disadvantages. Here are a few commonly mentioned drawbacks associated with SBW technology:

  1. Reliance on Electronics: SBW systems heavily rely on electronic components, including sensors, ECUs, and actuators. This reliance on electronics introduces a potential vulnerability to system failures or malfunctions. Electrical glitches, software bugs, or power supply issues could impact the system’s performance, potentially leading to loss of steering control. Ensuring the robustness and redundancy of electronic components becomes crucial in maintaining the system’s reliability.
  2. Safety Concerns: The primary concern with SBW systems is related to safety. Since there is no direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels, a failure in the electronic system could result in a complete loss of steering control, which can be hazardous. To mitigate this risk, manufacturers must implement extensive fail-safe mechanisms, redundancy systems, and backup power sources to ensure continuous steering functionality.
  3. Lack of Mechanical Feedback: Traditional steering systems provide drivers with mechanical feedback through the steering wheel, allowing them to feel the road and the vehicle’s behavior. SBW systems, by their nature, lack this direct mechanical connection, which can result in a less intuitive and disconnected steering experience. Manufacturers have attempted to address this issue by incorporating artificial feedback mechanisms, but they may not fully replicate the natural feel of mechanical steering.
  4. Driver Adaptation: As SBW technology is still relatively new and not widely adopted, drivers accustomed to traditional mechanical steering systems may need time to adapt to the different steering characteristics of SBW. The change in steering response, feedback, or effort may require drivers to adjust their driving habits and familiarize themselves with the new technology.
  5. Maintenance and Repair Complexity: SBW systems are typically more complex than traditional mechanical steering systems. Repairing or troubleshooting electronic components requires specialized knowledge, equipment, and diagnostics. This complexity can result in increased maintenance and repair costs, as well as potential challenges in finding qualified technicians to work on SBW systems.

It’s important to note that automotive manufacturers are continuously working to address these challenges and improve SBW technology. As the technology matures, it is expected that many of these disadvantages will be mitigated or resolved through advancements in electronic systems, safety protocols, and user experience enhancements.

Is steer by wire allowed in Australia

However the use of Steer by Wire is disallowed by the requirements of Australian Design Rule 90/00

ADR 90/00 specifically deals with the requirements for the design and construction of steering columns and steering shaft assemblies in motor vehicles. The rule sets standards for the strength, dimensions, attachment methods, and other safety aspects of steering columns and shafts.

Compliance with ADR 90/00 is mandatory for all new vehicles sold in Australia. It ensures that steering systems in vehicles meet certain safety standards to protect occupants in the event of a collision or other hazards related to steering control.

The regulation specifies various requirements related to the design and construction of steering columns and shafts. These requirements include dimensions, strength, attachment methods, and other safety aspects.

ADR 90/00 aims to ensure that steering systems in vehicles meet certain safety standards to protect occupants in the event of a collision or other hazards related to steering control. Compliance with the regulation helps to minimize the risk of steering-related failures or malfunctions.

Manufacturers and importers of vehicles must ensure that their products comply with ADR 90/00. Compliance is typically demonstrated through testing, engineering analysis, or certification processes carried out by authorized entities.

There is no provision within ADR90/00, or any other Australian Design rule to allow for Steer by Wire.

There is the potential for this to be changed in a future release of ADR90/01, but until such time, this is pure speculation.

Is there even demand for the Tesla Cybertruck in Australia?

According to estimated figures, the worldwide demand for the Cybertruck has reached a staggering 1,600,000 orders. Among these impressive numbers, it is intriguing to note that approximately 3.5% of these reservations originate from Australia, totaling around 56,000 orders. This significant demand demonstrates the strong appeal of the Cybertruck within the Australian market, highlighting the country’s growing interest in electric vehicles and the unique design of the Cybertruck.

Additionally, the enthusiasm for the Tesla Cybertruck extends beyond Australia, as the United Kingdom has also displayed considerable interest in this groundbreaking electric pickup. Roughly 1.39% of the global reservations, amounting to an estimated 23,000 orders, have been made in the UK. This substantial figure reinforces the Cybertruck’s international appeal and illustrates its popularity among consumers worldwide. The UK market’s response to the Cybertruck emphasizes the growing trend toward sustainable transportation and showcases the high anticipation for Tesla’s innovative all-electric pickup truck.

When combining the Australian and UK figures, it becomes evident that even though these two markets represent a smaller percentage of the total worldwide orders, they still contribute significantly to the overall demand. With approximately 56,000 orders in Australia and an additional 23,000 orders in the UK, the cumulative total amounts to an impressive 79,000 reservations for the Cybertruck from these two countries alone. This showcases the global reach and consumer interest generated by the Tesla Cybertruck, indicating a strong market potential for this revolutionary electric vehicle.

Considering the potential for limited production runs in the RHD configuration is an exciting prospect. It would enable Tesla to fulfill the demands of RHD customers while maintaining production efficiency and meeting regulatory requirements. By offering a RHD version of the Cybertruck, Tesla would not only expand its market reach but also demonstrate its commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, accommodating the diverse preferences and driving habits of customers around the world.

Moreover, producing limited runs of the RHD Cybertruck could generate additional buzz and enthusiasm in RHD markets. The exclusivity and tailored approach to these production runs would likely create a sense of desirability and anticipation among RHD enthusiasts, potentially driving even more reservations and solidifying the Cybertruck’s appeal in these regions.

Your views?

  1. What is your opinion of the Tesla Cybertruck?
  2. Do you anticipate the Tesla Cybertruck being introduced in Australia?
  3. Do you believe the Tesla Cybertruck has the potential to be a groundbreaking vehicle?
  4. In comparison to the grey import electric ute offerings, such as the F150 Lightning, do you think a factory-backed Electric Ute offering would be superior?

Feel free to share your thoughts and commentary below!

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