“Erm, that wasn’t supposed to happen”. Whatever you make of Elon Musk, you couldn’t help feeling sorry for him when his new pick-up launch didn’t go quite to plan.
His big unveiling included a demonstration of the unbreakable windows on Tesla’s latest model – which he then proceeded to smash, completely by accident, in full view of the press. What’s more, if that wasn’t enough, he then went on to show it was just a one-off freak accident by lobbing a metal ball at the truck’s back window. That one smashed too, obviously.
But while there is an inevitable schoolboy temptation to poke fun at this Bond villain clearly disguised as a car company boss getting it so comically wrong on the world’s stage, there are two things worth bearing in mind.
First, that Elon ‘fessed up on Twitter the following day, saying that Tesla clearly had a bit of work to do – and you’d never see Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen or any other big carmaker readily admit it’d fluffed up. If anything, it makes Tesla come across as a little more loveable, because to err is only human.
But more importantly – and I’m happy to stick my head above the parapet on this one, as everyone else seems to be disagreeing at the moment – I think Tesla’s new pick-up looks tremendous. Not heartstoppingly beautiful or pleasingly pleasant, but different. Very, stop-and-think-for-a-moment, different. Which has got to be a good thing.
Put it this way; for months the car magazines and the internet’s resident Photoshop experts knew that Tesla had been quietly working away on all-electric take on that most American of institutions, and almost all of them imagined it’d look like the company’s Model S saloon, albeit on stilts. A couple of them even managed to top ‘n’ tail the Model X’s design details onto a Ford F-150/Toyota Tundra generic pick-up body. Nobody, on the other hand, envisaged it’d be a wedge-shaped creation that looks like it’s escaped from the set of Total Recall. The fact that Elon later admitted it was partly inspired by one of his favourite cars, the Lotus Esprit, makes me love it even more.
Yes, I know it looks like it’s been styled by someone extremely adept with rulers, that it’s so enormous that it’ll clearly look ridiculous in the middle of Ormskirk and that – for now at least – its unbreakable windows can be defeated by a metal ball, but that’s not the point. Whether you’re nodding sagely in agreement or think the new pick-up is the stupidest-looking car since Suzuki stopped production of the X-90, at least you’re thinking SOMETHING. The world needs more new cars interesting enough for people to form an opinion of them – that’s what gets people into cars in the first place.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is another eco-minded load-lugger, and Britain’s biggest selling plug-in hybrid, but can you remember what it looks like?