I just want to say right up front that I don’t think all of the shock and scorn being heaped upon this wiper by Twitter and elsewhere is really merited. I mean, rain exists, and that’s a massive sheet of glass for the windshield, so something has to wipe it off, and that something is going to have to be, well, big. I know I don’t defend the Cybertruck too often, but this is what wipers look like, people. Well, maybe not, as Elon claims it’s not the production one. There are a few other changes worth noting, too.
This latest Cybertruck prototype was spotted testing on Tesla’s test track over the weekend, and can be seen in this video:
Compared to the lone Cybertruck prototype we’ve been seeing for the past couple of years, this new test truck has a few notable differences:
Most obvious is likely that massive lone wiper, mounted at the base of the left side A-pillar, with an incredibly long arm and a similarly long blade. Based on a quick look at the photo, I’d expect the wiper will clear an arc that looks like this on the windshield:
It looks to be one single normal wiper-type of pivot, and based on what I can tell, It seems like it’ll clear the area in front of the Autopilot/FSD cameras in front of the interior rear-view mirror, as well as the crucial area in front of the driver’s eyes, though I don’t think this wiper will clear much more than that.
I think it’s adequate, but it’s worth noting that companies have developed more advanced mono-wiper solutions, like Mercedes-Benz’s well-known centre-mount articulated solution that cleared nearly the entire windshield:
Most people seem to be complaining about the looks of it, making me wonder if Tesla will try to employ some sort of panel over the wiper to try and get it to blend in better with the A-pillar?
Hm. I wonder if something like that would work? I mean, work better than this two-second Photoshop sketch. Maybe?
Anyway, Elon is “troubled” by the wiper:
Manufacturers have to ship cars with side mirrors by law, but owners are allowed to modify their cars.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 10, 2021
The wiper is what troubles me most. No easy solution. Deployable wiper that stows in front trunk would be ideal, but complex.
…but later stated that it’s not the one that will be produced:
That is not the production wiper— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2021
Personally, despite the complaints from people and suggestions for over-complicated solutions like curtains of air and other bullshit, there’s no shame in a wiper. They do a job, and I don’t even understand why some people are so aesthetically offended by its presence.
The Cybertruck already has such an industrial, brutalist look about it that I just don’t see how a wiper, however big it is, is going to make it any uglier.
I think the more interesting development are the side mirrors, not because they look so bad or that they were unexpected — the prototype had none, and legally a car needs them, so nobody should be shocked here, but more because of what Elon had to say about them:
“Manufacturers have to ship cars with side mirrors by law, but owners are allowed to modify their cars.”
Uh, Elon, buddy, I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about here. Yes, owners can modify their cars, but they can’t just remove parts that are legally required. You have to have side-mounted rear-view mirrors as part of NHTSA code § 571.111 Standard No. 111; Rearview mirrors.
That means if an owner takes them off — which is what seems to be implied by “modify their cars” — that’s illegal. Also, why? Being able to see what’s behind you is fantastic for driving!
Sure, maybe cameras and little screens could work, but those aren’t allowed under U.S. laws just yet, and they’re pretty complex and expensive, especially when compared to something that just works, like mirrors on sticks.
If you’re complaining that the Cybertruck is ruined because it has to have side mirrors, then maybe grow up, dummy.
The front end has some pretty significant changes to the lighting setup as well; where the prototype had a slightly differently-shaped nose and a full-width light bar, this new prototype seems to have a blunter nose and a set of four wide and low headlamps just above the bumper area.
I’m assuming indicators are built into there as well, but I see no sign of any side-marker lamps, which will be required for any U.S.-spec car. That means lights and reflectors, Tesla lighting people, in case you’re trying to forget.
There are also three amber lights in the middle there, which are Front Identification Lamps, and are required for all vehicles over 80 inches in width. These are supposed to be mounted “as high as practicable” which these aren’t but Ford and other companies seem to ignore that part without any pushback, too.
The truth is none of these changes are all that shocking for a car slowly entering the grim confines of reality, and while I think there are plenty, plenty of things to gripe about regarding the Cybertruck, that it will have wipers and mirrors are not among them.
Musk’s attitude to actually fret about the wiper and suggest that owners should remove the mirrors also doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that the right details are being paid attention to, but, well, I suppose I’ve never had a million pre-orders for anything I’ve ever done, so what do I know.
I mean, other than don’t be an idiot and remove the mirrors from your new huge-arse truck with massive blind spots.