After YouTube channel JerryRigEverything posted several videos on the Tesla Cybertruck, host Zack Nelson noticed a recurring request in his comment section. His viewers wanted him to gold plate a cybertruck. And they just wouldn’t drop it. Reluctantly, he agreed. For science.

Using someone else’s money of course. Because such a project was going to cost upwards of $60,000. Thankfully, a channel sponsor footed the bill to have their Cybertruck covered in 24k gold. “This is an extremely expensive video for Ridge Wallets," Zack says, "but an extremely educational video for us.” The company plans to give the vehicle away in a contest at some point in the future. 

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The process begins by removing all of the Cybertruck’s sensors, cameras, mirrors and exterior trim. This rugged plastic cladding will of course be re-installed later so the truck's future owners can take their gold-plated truck off-roading.

Because stainless steel is such a difficult surface to plate, several steps are needed to make this possible. ”The same thing that makes stainless steel so universally useful is the thin layer of silver color oxidation on the outside that keeps it from rusting. That same thing makes it very difficult to plate.”

Gold Process

Want to cover your Cybertruck in gold? Here are the basics: 

Electro Cleaner

A sponge with an anode attached to it is saturated with a material similar to concentrated dish soap. “When put over the Cybertruck makes it Hydrophilic.” This means that liquids will cling to its surface rather than simply rolling off.

TriVal 24K Acid Gold Strike

This step essentially etches the surface, removing the thin outer layer of oxidation from the stainless steel. A thin gold layer is applied before it can re-oxidize. This will serve as the base layer that the outer gold layer will cling to.

Add Gold

The final step is to add a layer of 99.7% 24K gold. This includes a small quantity of cobalt as a hardener and it is again electrified with an anode.

This whole process is called electroplating. “When we take electricity and pass it through the positive electrode–this is made with platinized titanium–it will go through the Cybertruck and into the negative electrode which is a copper strip plated with gold and attached via a magnet.”

Gold Application

While most electroplating is done via submersion, this would be pretty difficult to pull off with a Cybertruck. Thankfully a method was developed for large-scale applications such as this. Gold Plated Services developed the proprietary method featured in the video.

Prior to application, the gold is refined and deposited into a toothpaste-like solution. “It’s dissolved in a way where the gold is missing some electrons. So when we connect it to electricity and the gold ions come in contact with the surface that’s been charged with excess electrons, that voltage potential creates a cathode reaction. The gold ions recover their missing electrons and the gold returns to its metallic state.”

The sponge is used not only to hold the electroplating solution but also to keep distance between the metal of the electrode and the Cybertruck’s stainless steel body. The metal-to-metal connection “would short out, not leaving us with enough electricity to facilitate that chemical reaction.”

Between each of the steps, they spray down the surface with deionized water. “Since minerals are conductive, we want to limit which minerals we’re playing with.”

The tedious application process is prone to errors and takes multiple people working for days to complete. Whenever a mistake occurs they must polish off an area and start over from the first step.

Gold Exterior

The truck was then taken to Luxe Automotive, where a protective film was applied to keep the gold plating undamaged for the next decade. This is especially important as gold is a very soft metal. The film keeps the surface safe from scratches when on the freeway, off-roading, and even safe for regular carwash use.

This is an undeniably cool project with a lot of interesting technical details. So if this article has gotten your attention, be sure to watch the full video. What are your thoughts about this unique Cybertruck “wrap”? Let us know in the comments below.

Gallery: Tesla Cybertruck

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