Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

The Tesla Cybertruck is the hottest vehicle of the decade so far. This latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage digs deep into the details, interviewing Tesla’s Head of Design Franz von Holzhausen and Vice President of Vehicle Engineering Lars Moravy. Turns out the coolest thing about the Cybertruck isn’t the design, it’s the gigantic windshield wiper. 

“It was an aero challenge. It was a motor challenge. It was a design challenge,” Moravy told Leno about the wiper.

The wiper’s massive size and placement created several aerodynamic obstacles. To solve them, Tesla engineered a spoiler into the wiper arm so that the force of the air moving over the piece pushes it against the windshield rather than letting the component flop around.

The windshield’s sharp, flat shape meant the engineering team also had to work out the right angles and timing for the wiper so that water shot off to the side. “That alone is most companies’ definition of innovation, but it was just one small part we had to get done,” Moravy said.

It takes a powerful motor to move such a colossal wiper. The Tesla engineer says it has “600 or 800 watts of power” just to have enough muscle to move at the necessary speeds while pushing water out of the way.

The engineering team had to work with von Holzhousen and the design crew to come to an acceptable compromize on the wiper. When it came to styling, the original desire was to make the wiper smaller. However, the large size was necessary to clear water out of the way of the front-mounted cameras behind the windshield.

According to von Holzhousen, the design team considered a completely different wiper layout. The blades would’ve been hidden underneath the hood and would’ve popped out when needed. This setup was complex, and the crew decided to go with something simpler instead. Mounting the wiper to the A-pillar was the result and proved better for aerodynamics.

The hour-long video isn’t all about Cybertruck windshield wipers, though. Leno gets a full tour of the pickup, including a deep dive into the many vehicle adjustments possible from the infotainment screen. He also gets to drive it off-road through shallow water. Weirdly, Leno also compares the Cybertruck to the Chevrolet Corvair at several points during the film — not two vehicles you’d think would have anything in common. 

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