One of the main visual draws of the Tesla Cybertruck is its industrial looking stainless steel finish. But what happens if a Cybertruck gets scratched, given that looks like a bare metal finish?
Well, it looks like Tesla has thought of this and it has a solution. The company’s design boss Franz von Holzhausen was recently invited on the Ride the Lightning podcast where he mentions this topic.
Tesla won’t actually ship Cybertrucks in a bare metal finish. The stainless steel body will have some type of coating or plating that will improve its durability, but also allow for scratches to be removed. According to von Holzhausen,
We spent a lot of time developing a finish that can be — the stainless is incredibly hard — so if in the event that there is a scratch, we do have a process that you could yourself basically buff it and remove the scratch as well and return to the basic finish that’s on the stainless.
It’s a different process. It’s not the same as the brush finish on a refrigerator or a DeLorean or something. There is an intentional finish that we apply to it. And it is able to be cured or fixed, or in the event that you know it’s going to be something pretty intense that does actually scratch the surface.
Any number of metals can be used to coat or plate the Cybertruck’s body, like copper, zinc or nickel, although the best is actually rhodium, which is the rarest of the non-radioactive metals - it's usually used in the jewelry industry.
It is preferred for its mix of wear and corrosion resistance, which sounds exactly like what Tesla needs for this application, yet it is also quite rare and expensive, so there's a good chance the automaker will try to find an alternative.
On the same podcast episode, von Holzhausen confirmed that design work on the Cybertruck was basically done and that it was essentially ready for production. However, he stopped short of confirming that it would enter production around the middle of this year, as per the most recent from Tesla.