- Some people have called out potential fit and finish issues with a Tesla Cybertruck prototype.
- Auto expert Sandy Munro said it’s misleading to judge a vehicle’s fit and finish off a prototype.
- Over the past few months, Tesla enthusiasts have shared photos of the EV in the wild.
Prospective Tesla Cybertruck buyers shouldn’t worry about some of the panel gaps and smears that have showed up in recent sightings of the electric pickup, auto expert Sandy Munro says.
After all, he said, the sightings of the apparent Cybertruck prototype are just that — sightings of a prototype, or a work-in-progress.
“With prototypes, they’re not as fussy about panel gaps and things like that — so you can’t really throw rocks at that,” Munro told Insider.
“Everything that I see tells me that this is not quite ready for primetime, but it looks as good as anybody else would have,” he said. The EV is “barely pre-production,” he contends — and he said he expects the truck will look much more polished once it goes out for delivery.
Still, he acknowledged quality control has been an issue with Tesla in the past.
The Cybertruck is easily one of the most-anticipated vehicles of recent time.
Electrek reported in September that the EV has a reservation list of more than 1.8 million prospective buyers — Munro included. The auto expert said he put down the $100 deposit to be included on the reservation list shortly after Musk announced the vehicle. He said he plans to do a breakdown of the vehicle on his YouTube channel.
Despite the hype, a fair share of naysayers
Over the past few months, several Tesla enthusiasts have taken to social media with photos of apparent Cybertruck prototypes in the wild — many of them appearing to be undergoing testing. And people have already begun picking apart the Cybertruck images, criticizing anything from the seemingly small size of the vehicle’s frunk to the Cybertruck’s ginormous windshield wiper.
Last month, Dave Tapley, who has the the YouTube channel MuddyRuttz, shared a video of a Cybertruck that was apparently undergoing off-road testing in Northern California. He said in the video that he spotted the EV while he was at a park in California and chatted with the Tesla workers who were testing the Cybertruck.
The video spawned a TikTok criticizing the EV that generated more than a half million views, as well as hundreds of comments from users picking apart flaws they said they spotted in the EV — from door panels with varying gaps to smudges and scratches on the stainless steel doors.
Some social media users also pointed out the “RC” labeling on the side of the Cybertruck — a label that stands for release candidate — and speculated that the label meant the car was in its final stages before it would be released. In other words, the vehicle was as good or nearly as good as it was going to get.
But Munro, who specializes in automotive manufacturing and worked as a manufacturing engineer at Ford for a decade, said the label only indicates the software inside the car is near its final version and has nothing to do with the vehicle’s exterior.
What’s more, Munro said it would be unfair to judge the quality of a vehicle off a prototype that was undergoing physical testing as that process is less about the aesthetics of the vehicle and more focused on putting it through its paces.
“That vehicle has probably gone through some fairly rigorous testing,” Munro said, referencing Tapley’s video. “My guess is the smudge marks that you see may be doors that — because they’d bashed them up — they probably got some new doors but they didn’t go through the polishing process.”
While some auto experts previously told Insider’s Tim Levin and Nora Naughton that the vehicle might always look a little busted due to its flat stainless steel panels, Munro said the stainless steel body could make it easier to keep the vehicle from looking scratched or faded and would be ideal for more rugged activities.
“The thing about stainless steel is it hangs around a while,” he said. “Now if I want to polish that car, I can make it so that it shines like the sun for a while. I can buff the daylights out of it without having to worry about a new paint job. If I get a scratch, I can get that scratch out no question.”
It’s unclear when Tesla will begin delivering the Cybertruck. Elon Musk has said the vehicle will be released by the end of the year, but the CEO has a history of shifting his timelines.
A Tesla spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, but Musk said on X, formerly Twitter, in August that he had driven a Cybertruck production candidate at Tesla’s gigafactory in Texas. In June, he wrote on X that the EV will be Tesla’s “best product ever imo.”