Stainless Steel in Transportation: The Tesla Cybertruck

The successful and widely-acclaimed launch of the Tesla Cybertruck has sparked a renewed interest in the use of stainless steel to create vehicles. In this edition of the BS Stainless blog, we look at some of the many advantages of using stainless steel for this purpose.

It was back in 2012 that Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, first announced his intention to design and manufacture a 'Tesla supertruck with crazy torque, dynamic air suspension [that] corners like it's on rails.' Inspired by the aesthetic of the movie 'Blade Runner' and the Lotus Esprit that featured in the James Bond film 'The Spy Who Loved Me', the first concept vehicle was revealed to the public in November of 2019.

Just two months later in January of 2020, the Cybertruck earned the coveted 'Concept Car of the Year' award from Automobile Magazine. A few months after that in June of 2020, the first prototype was unveiled in a prestigious ceremony at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California. After some delays in the commencement of mass manufacture, deliveries of the Cybertruck began in November last year.  

Tesla has used a new type of cold-rolled stainless steel alloy, which it has patented, to build the exoskeleton of the imposing Cybertruck; the same alloy has also been used to build the SpaceX Starship rocket. The material was provided by Steem Dynamics, which uses as much as 90% stainless steel scrap to create the super-strong alloy.

Benefits of using stainless steel for car bodies include:

Corrosion Resistance
The nickel and chromium present in stainless steel alloys creates a layer of extremely unreactive chromium oxide on the finished metal's surface, imbuing it with its famed resistance to corrosion. This is especially important when it comes to vehicle manufacture, as the said vehicles are regularly exposed to water, salts and dirt.

Recent complaints that the stainless steel bodies of Tesla Cybertrucks have been seen to be rusting have been refuted by Wes Morrill, the lead engineer on the EV project. He stated that the panels were 'attracting surface contamination that is actually rusting' and that such contamination can 'be cleaned off easily'. 

The innate strength and durability of stainless steel makes it the perfect material for vehicle manufacture, as it is able to withstand dents and scratches that are so common with other materials. This means lower maintenance requirements and a longer useful service life.  

The striking visual appearance of the Tesla Cybertruck is created in large part by the stainless steel panels, which result in its smart, futuristic and completely-unique look. No paint job can quite compare to this beautiful visual appeal. 

Stainless steel is one of the world's most useful materials across many industries, including transportation. To find out more about the metal, its numerous forms and its countless applications, please browse the BS Stainless website.

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