Check Out The New Tesla Semi “Armor Glass” Breakthrough

Tesla Semi

MAR 23 2018 BY EVANNEX 18


The special “Armor Glass” on Tesla’s Semi truck is a breakthrough that you can’t… ummm, break through. During Elon Musk’s Tesla Semi announcement, he noted that the Semi’s glass will be completely impact-resistant. This is critical as Semi trucks suffer from broken windshields about once every year. This, in turn, forces the truck out-of-service for valuable periods of time.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

To learn more, Business Insider sat down with one of Tesla’s staff engineers, “Rosie Mottsmith [who] has an appetite for destruction. For months, she and a team of engineers fired various projectiles from a cannon of their own design at sheets of Tesla’s innovative Armor Glass — glass designed to wrap around the cabin of the Tesla Semi.”

Tesla Semi

Comparing standard glass and the new “armor glass” being used on the Tesla Semi truck (Image: Business Insider via Tesla)


It turns out, “Mottsmith and her team hurled everything from rocks to shredded tires to tow-hitches at sheets of Tesla Glass, seeking to serve the requirements of truckers while preparing the Semi to face countless problems on the road both seen and unforeseen… the Semi’s huge glass windshield is a vital safety feature and a way of keeping a trucker on the road.”

Above: Elon Musk discusses impact resistant glass (Youtube: DPCCars via Tesla)

Why was it important to get the glass on the Tesla Semi just right? After spending valuable time with truckers, Mottsmith explains, “It’s a hard job. Truckers are basically mechanics and handymen. If anything goes wrong, they have to fix it themselves. A lot of times people think about engineers as optimizing things, but true engineering is understanding how your product is going to be used. It doesn’t matter what happens in the lab if that doesn’t keep the trucker safe.”

It’s clear that Mottsmith is “all-in” on Tesla. In addition to her tireless work at the company, she has a Model 3 on order and her husband also owns a Model S. She says, “What’s wonderful about Tesla is how motivated everybody is by the mission. Not always the easiest place to work — what helps you push through it is knowing that your work is potentially affecting the entire world.”

Tesla Semi

A look at the distinctive glass-wrapped cab of the Tesla Semi (Image: Business Insider via Tesla)

Typical of first principles thinking, Mottsmith (who’s a former physicist) explains, “what enables our process is pushing things to the limit and not accepting ‘no’ unless it’s dictated by physics… The Semi is something completely new — it’s going to change everything. You can just feel it in your gut that it will be revolutionary.”


Source: Business Insider

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

Categories: Tesla, Trucks

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18 Comments on "Check Out The New Tesla Semi “Armor Glass” Breakthrough"

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F the semi, how about that for my car!

I’m sure this is expensive now, but we are likely to see it on future Model S and X in a year or two and then on the cheaper models.

I agree. Replacing windshields over and over is about as silly as replacing old school lightbulbs over and over. It should be a thing of the past replaced by superior technology. Maybe Tesla will push this tech down into their cars and force other car makers to compete.

There could be a trade off. Strong plastics like lexan will stand up to this abuse, however it is not scratch resistant, so that is why auto manufacturers use glass. One of the things that make lexan so good is the fact that it will flex rather than break. I read many years ago that some Russian scientists came up with a method to apply diamond coating, so if this was done then it would have a scratch resistance surface.

Don’t need to go to plastics. Cellphones moved to Gorilla Glass, then GG 2, then GG 3, then GG 4, then GG 5. Each generation had a harder (more scratch-resistant) surface, and was tougher and less likely to break. Transitioning to this for windshields should be relatively straightforward – though perhaps a bit expensive.

BMW i8 har this on the rear.. I think.

BMW has a lot of Vaporware !

Perhaps the ‘article’ could…you know….tell us something about the windshield that makes it strong?

Totally agree with Frank99 – It’s not all that magical….
Ford and others have done this on the high end (GT) with Corning’s Gorilla, and Asahsi has Dragontail that’s also trying to get in mobility applications … – Or Tesla could have tried rolling their own (doubtful, as they are not a glass company) –

But the “how” is straightforward, It’s just expensive, so needs a less “cost sensitive” application.. like a million $ semi


The “Tesla Glass” division was started approx 2 years ago in 2016. They have their own glass division.

No, they may have a “Tesla Glass” program – but I doubt they have a “Tesla Glass Division” – See

As there is no need for them to become a glass manufacturer, given the capital outlays required, and this isn’t “core” to their mission – I’m fairly aware of the glass industry, and they do NOT have their own melting tanks, nor float glass operations.. As they would be hiring people that I know and interact with.

That said, they certainly could be partnering with one of several manufactures, and making windshields to their own specific needs and have explicitly decided on their own cost/benefit sorts of decisions around specifications.

But make no mistake, this is chemically strengthened glass, and someone else is melting the sand for them, I’m fairly certain of that. The rest of the details are apparently part of the “double secret Tesla glass” program

Not a fan of all that glass
Newest class 8 trucks finally got it right making the door windows smaller
So much glass puts burden on air conditioning and defrosting.
Last windshield I lost was a rock about the size of brick thrown at me from an overpass
About one a year is about right on over the road

The slope of the windshield should also help in real world situations. The steeper the slope, the higher natural resistance to breaking (because science).

Wrong. Angle of impact is critical for any given strength of material. Steep slope is the worst angle if something is dropped on the windshield.

It really just depends on the angle at which the object hits the windshield. Assuming that object is coming fron the front in approximately straight line then the slope helps.

Yup. What Stan said. And the items they talked about (trailer hitches, etc) are typically stuff that would be kicked up off the road, not fall from the sky.

The angle does make it more susceptible to hail damage than a steeper angle. So that he would be right about.

I’d like to know how much a square foot of this “glass” weights compared to good old fashioned laminated safety glass.

It’s easy to make something “unbreakable”.
But it’s a lot harder to make something unbreakable and lighter.

“But it’s a lot harder to make something unbreakable and lighter.”

I don’t know that anyone is claiming to make glass that is truly “unbreakable”, but apparently Gorilla Glass is pretty resistant even in a thin layer, at least according to their claims.