Tesla Invents New "Ultra-Hard Steel Alloy" Used for the Cybertruck's Exoskeleton

Tesla invents "ultra-hard steel alloy" used for the Cybertruck's exoskeleton 8 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
Older Cybertruck prototype at Cyber RodeoLatest production beta Cybertruck prototypeLatest production beta Cybertruck prototypeEarlier Cybertruck prototype next to a couple of "Project Highland" Model 3sEarlier Cybertruck prototype hauling tires in the trunkEarlier Cybertruck prototype hauling tires in the trunkTesla Cybertruck prototype at Cyber Rodeo
When Elon Musk introduced the Cybertruck to the public in 2019, he said the truck's exoskeleton would be made out of a special steel alloy that would make it bulletproof. Last year, Tesla applied for an international patent related to this alloy. The application was published last week, so we know more about its characteristics.
Tesla Cybertruck wowed the world with its intriguing shape and never-heard-before characteristics when it was introduced in 2019. Elon Musk talked about an exoskeleton that would be so hard that even bullets won't be able to penetrate. It would also be corrosion-resistant, so it would not need painting. Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen hit the truck's door with a sledgehammer at the event to prove how hard it is. Indeed, the hit appeared to make no dent in the metal sheet.

Back then, Tesla made it clear that the Cybertruck was not an ordinary pickup truck. This is also one of the reasons why Tesla had to delay production. Offering all the promised features and new ones added on the fly during development has proven difficult. We're in 2023 now, and we still don't know whether Tesla will be able to mass-produce it by the end of the year. Still, even after many delays, the electric truck should prove a market disruptor, just like other Tesla products.

The ultra-hard steel used to produce the Cybertruck body came again into focus last November when a prototype was exhibited at the Petersen Automotive Museum. One tag attracted people's attention, linking SpaceX Starship and the Cybertruck. According to it, SpaceX used modified Tesla battery packs in early Starship prototypes, while the Cybertruck would use steel produced by Steel Dynamics for the Starship.

Based on a recent Musk tweet, we know that Tesla invented an entirely new metal alloy with improved characteristics. The patent application for an "ultra-hard cold-rolled steel alloy" was filed in August last year and was published last week. The patent informs us that the special alloy will be used for "at least one" exterior panel and the vehicle's body. It also says that the vehicle architecture is designed in such a way that the vehicle's outer panels also contribute to the structural performance.

Based on the patent filing, the truck's body will feature a corrosion-resistant "monolithic metal sheet," which makes applying anticorrosion coating unnecessary. The steel alloy can also be used without a paint coating, which is unusual in the automotive industry. The patent goes into deeper detail about the metal's hardness (400 HV – 500 HV) and strength (at least 1,100 MPa). If you are familiar with metal materials, you can check out the patent application attached to this article.

Elon Musk announced he reviwed the beta-production Cybertruck, and he expects the first pre-production units to roll off the production line in Austin by the end of the summer. If all goes well, the volume production should start at the end of the year or next year at the latest.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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