Mercedes-Benz on its new generation S-Class offers buyers the option to upgrade the standard, traditional door handles to ones that pop out when needed but otherwise sit flush with the car’s body. Manufacturers seem to be looking at reinventing the door handle, and Tesla is no different, only it doesn’t want to offer door handles at all for its upcoming Cybertruck.
The first Cybertruck prototype that was shown did have physical door handles that appeared to operate in a familiar manner. However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk later announced that the production Cybertruck would not have door handles and it would recognize you and open the door for you as you approached the vehicle.
Why would Musk want to eliminate the door handles so badly? Well, reasons would range from making the side of the vehicle look cleaner and the door panel easier to manufacture, while at the same time improving the vehicle’s aerodynamic properties. The latter is why Mercedes states that it offers the flush door handles for the new S-Class (these come as standard on the brand’s EQS and EQE sedans).
Teslas already have automatically opening doors - the Model X - so the manufacturer has experience engineering and making those, but they do need to be integrated and adapted for the Cybertruck. The thing about the Model X is it does still have physical handles that you can interact with, and the pickup won’t.
This less is more approach has also recently been applied to the refreshed Model S which loses many physical controls that are either replaced by commands you can issue from the steering wheel or ones that you have to use the central screen for. However, for key functions like gear selection, Tesla does offer secondary controls just in case the screen dies so that you won’t be left stranded on the side of the road unable to put the vehicle in drive just because the screen is faulty...
And this brings me to the Cybertruck door handles situation. Sure, Elon wants to not have them on the production version of the truck, but there’s still a strong chance there will be some sort of way to physically open them, just in case there is a malfunction and you won’t be able to open them automatically. There are also some safety concerns stemming from that as well.