While the Cybertruck has orders into the hundreds of thousands from prospective buyers across the world, when exactly it will be sold outside America – if indeed it can be – remains unclear.
Because the Cybertruck is classed as a light duty truck in the USA, it gets exemptions from many safety regulations, including for pedestrian safety. That’s not the case in Europe, however.
“The front of the vehicle must not be stiff,” explains Stefan Teller, expert at SGS-TUV Saar GmbH.
“The bumper and bonnet must be able to absorb energy to protect the pedestrians,” meaning those “strong modifications to the basic structure,” would be necessary. Teller follows that for type approval, the Cybertruck would need to be compliant with 50 to 60 different regulations.
Looking back to the reveal of the Cybertruck, much was made of how stiff and strong its rolled stainless steel structure and panels were. Great for sledgehammers, but potentially deadly for the occupants and unwitting pedestrians…
Regulations require that new cars deform in very specific ways, depending on the nature of an accident. For the occupants, the car needs to basically disintegrate in order to dissipate energy. For pedestrians, a car needs to be able to cushion the blow in the event of an impact.
With the Cybertruck, “nothing is deformed in the event of an impact; instead, enormous forces act on the occupants. Airbags then no longer help”.
On this basis, “It will not be possible to sell it in this country as a mass-production vehicle on the basis of a type approval,” Teller says. “It is still a big task for Mr. Musk.”