During the Tesla Cybertruck's debut, Elon Musk said the pickup was able to withstand a 9-millimeter bullet. If the failed test of the vehicle's windows during the unveiling isn't enough evidence, an argument on Opposite Lock outlines why the truck isn't bullet-resistant – an least not in the way that most automakers and vehicle armorers use the term. For the vast majority of buyers, this factor shouldn't matter, though.
Gallery: Tesla Cybertruck Pickup Truck Debut
The German Institute for Standardization has an internationally recognized standard for defining vehicle protection levels. The evaluation involves shooting three rounds from roughly 33 feet (10 meters away) into a triangular area measuring 4.7 inches (120 millimeters).
The major challenge is creating a windshield and windows that can pass this test because the clear material to take a bullet is heavy. According to Opposite Lock, armorers generally need to add hundreds of pounds to a vehicle to produce something that can get a bullet-resistance certification. This could have a major detriment on the driving range.
In addition to the weight penalty, the location of the windows means this heavy material would also raise the center of gravity. This would have negative effects on the ride and handling.
This argument suggests Musk stop touting the Cybertruck as being bullet-resistant. It's a feature that the vast majority of buyers don't need and comes with major disadvantages in weight and cost to withstand the rigor of international standards.
It's worth noting that the Cybertruck at the debut is a pre-production vehicle, and changes are almost certain for the production version. Motor1.com has reached out to Tesla for clarification about the company's plans for building a truly bullet-resistant pickup.