Tesla Provides Cybertruck Update, Hints at Surprises

By Kevin Armstrong
Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen talks about Tesla's upcoming Cybertruck
Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen talks about Tesla's upcoming Cybertruck

Tesla's Cybertruck is ready to go into production, said the company's Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen during an interview on the Ride the Lightning podcast. However, the designer admits it's always a work in progress on all of Tesla's vehicles as the team continuously looks for ways to refine and improve the process.

The 55-minute interview covered several topics, but much of the conversation focused on the highly anticipated, Cybertruck. Listeners were teased with what could be in the final product and reminded of how we go to this point.

More Unknown Extras

Despite all the eyes on Tesla at all times, von Holzhausen says some brand-new features are coming with Cybertruck. "I'm not going to talk about them, but I think they'll be pleasant surprises, and I think they are the right things for the product, and they're the right kind of competitive things for the product as well.

When asked about including vehicle-to-grid charging, the function that allows energy to go back to the grid from the battery, or vehicle to home, von Holzhausen said, "I won't comment." Cybertruck being able to act as a boat was not discussed.

Different Logo on Cybertruck

There are no logos on the Cybertruck except inside the charge port. Tesla owners are familiar with the "T" logo that lights up when charging. The prototype Cybertruck has an 8-bit logo in that spot, "in those development days when we were designing the truck, it was such a like a low-resolution, low-bit idea in its kind of simplicity as a form we thought this 8-bit concept. So we did an 8-bit version of the T."

While von Holzhausen says we will have to wait to see if it appears on the production vehicle, he did agree that the 8-bit logo design should be added to shirts in the Tesla store.

More Details on the Unique Exterior

There are so many rare aspects of the Cybertruck, from the design to the stainless steel exterior shell, "We spent a lot of time developing a finish… the stainless is incredibly hard." But how will it hold up against scratches? "In the event that there is a scratch, we do have a process that you could basically buff it or remove the scratch and return to the basic finish."

It appears there won't be any color options available for Cybertruck. It will be stainless steel, "we experimented with some finishes. There is always the opportunity to wrap. The thing we wanted to do is preserve the hardness, and anytime you put something softer like a clear coat or a painted finish on the material, it just then... basically takes away from the idea of putting the hardest thing on the outer surface," said von Holzhausen.

Steering Wheel and Door Handles

Tesla recently made some changes when ordering a Model S or Model X. Buyers can now choose a conventional steering wheel or the yoke. But von Holzhausen is confident about what the Cybertruck will use, "the yoke makes a lot of sense. You know once you experience it, it's a great driving experience combined with Autopilot. It makes the whole kind of user experience in the interior cockpit simpler and cleaner." Last year there were rumors that Tesla may implement steer-by-wire in some of their vehicles, so it'll be interesting to see if the Cybertruck comes with this new feature.

The door handles will also be the same as what is on the Model X with the "chauffer" auto-present doors. However, when asked if that would be the same for both front and back doors, von Holzhausen said, "possibly on the back, there are also buttons."

Cybertruck was Almost Normal

It's been in the works for over half a decade, but von Holzhausen acknowledges that Tesla was considering something more mainstream, even working off silhouettes of what's on the road. "we have an opportunity to do something different, an opportunity that nobody else would have the balls to do, and Elon's like yeah, we've got to do it," said Von Holzhausen.

The designer confessed he wasn't sure about Cybertruck, "I didn't 100 percent know what to expect… It's so different it needs a moment to grow on you. It's like the first time you hear a song. Sometimes it can be grading, or like you're not sure if you like it, you listen to it three or four or five times, and suddenly it's your favorite song. You just need to... because it's so new and fresh you need to get comfortable with it, and I think this like it just is so radically different than expectations."

Finally, von Holzhausen says it's great that other manufacturers have produced electric trucks. He believes Tesla has "moved the needle" and will continue to do so.

Franz on Ride the Lightning

Tesla Updates Hazard Lights Frequency To Improve Safety in Software Update

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is implementing a new hazard light pattern that improves drivers' attention
Tesla is implementing a new hazard light pattern that improves drivers' attention
Emergency Safety Solutions

Tesla is rolling out a significant safety enhancement through a software update. Teslas, already the safest vehicles on the planet, got a little safer thanks to a small company based in Texas. While this article will highlight the advancement in safety, it will also applaud the work of Emergency Safety Solutions, which dared to challenge the old way of doing things.

Overnight Evolution: The Game Changer

Tesla North America didn't mince words when they announced: "If an airbag is deployed, hazard lights will automatically activate & flash faster to improve visibility." Elon Musk added, "New Tesla safety feature uploaded via over-the-air software update. Your car just got better while you slept."

It got much better thanks to a partnership with Emergency Safety Solutions (ESS), which we spotlighted a year ago. The small company, now just five years old, used a Tesla Model 3 to display its advancements in the hazard lights system, which had remained unchanged for more than 70 years. After numerous studies, the company changed everything about the hazard lights and approached Tesla with its findings.

Chilling Frequency: Every seven minutes, a disabled vehicle is involved in a crash on American roads. The result? An alarming 15,000 injuries or fatalities annually.

Ancient Flaws: The primary culprit behind these startling figures is a hazard light system that hasn't been updated in over seven decades.

The Solution: A frequency shift by adjusting flash frequencies from the sluggish 1.5Hz system to between 4Hz and 6Hz immensely heightens driver alertness. Hertz is a unit of frequency, which equals the number of cycles per second. In this case, the frequency of flashing lights is increased from 1.5 flashes per second, up to 4 - 6 flashes per second.

Real-World Outcomes: When 5Hz flash frequency was tested, drivers reacted a crucial 12 seconds faster. Moreover, they recognized an issue of more than three football fields sooner than the 70-year version. The number of drivers shifting to the safer side of a disabled vehicle also shot up dramatically — from 30% to an impressive 87%.

Emergency Safety Solutions also posted on X: "Great step toward making our roads safer for people in disabled and vulnerable vehicles! We appreciate our partnership with Tesla and applaud this major milestone in our mission to protect drivers when they need it most."

Software Update

Tesla states in their post on X that this update is rolling out now in the U.S. to Model 3/Y vehicles and newer Model S and Xs.

It's not clear whether Tesla means this enhancement is available in update 2023.32, or whether it's in the upcoming 2023.38 update, which is currently in employee testing.

It's more likely that H.E.L.P. is implemented in update 2023.38, but we have yet to receive release notes for vehicles in the U.S., so we'll have to wait and see if this enhancement made it in.

More H.E.L.P. to Come

Keep an eye out for even more safety advancements courtesy of this partnership with ESS and Tesla. The company created the Hazard Enhanced Location Protocol or HELP. Beyond the lightning-fast flashes, HELP seamlessly integrates with in-car and phone navigation systems, giving drivers a heads-up about potential hazards before they become visible. It's like giving your Tesla a sixth sense.

Unfortunately, that will take longer as it would require more automakers to get on board with this new system. However, as we've realized, automakers are following Tesla's leadership on several fronts, and they may also increase road safety and implement the advanced system.

Video Reveals the Tesla Cybertruck's Unique User Interface [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI
A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI

It's not a good day to be named Max and work at Tesla or on the security team assigned to the Cybertruck. You can't help but wonder how a daring individual found himself in the driver's seat of this highly anticipated vehicle. This perpetrator spoke in Russian and joked that a bag in the truck belonged to Elon Musk before zooming in to a name tag reading "Max."

While we certainly don't condone breaking the law, we were provided with a risky reveal of the Cybertruck's interior courtesy of a mysterious and perhaps too-bold-for-his-own-good infiltrator.

Cyber-Theme UI

The video is less than a minute long but provides new information, notably on the updated user interface (UI). For weeks we've had Cybertruck sightings, but this is our best look at the Cybertruck's display.

Updated Icons and Font

The UI appears designed specifically for the Cybertruck; icons possess subtle sharp edges, mirroring Cybertruck's angular aesthetics. This design philosophy also extends to the unique font choice, giving the UI a rugged, distinct look.


A further advancement is the seamless transition between vehicle visualization and maps. The once-clear partition is a fading background, allowing for a more unified appearance. This unity is further emphasized with the vehicle now being depicted atop a 3D polygon terrain, which has been discovered before in firmware updates.

Icon Placement Changes

One of the first distinctions users would notice is the transition from horizontal app icons. This design has been the hallmark of previous Tesla models, to a vertical arrangement along the lefthand side of the screen.

The vehicle control icon is at the bottom, followed by climate controls and other apps. The gear indicator has evolved, too, switching from its usual horizontal layout to a vertical orientation in the screen's top left portion.

A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI
A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI

The status icons, such as time, temperature, Tesla profile used to grace the top of the display, but they have now been realigned to the left side and can now be found directly above the vehicle visualization.

Cameras, Front Camera Confirmed

Another intriguing update revolves around the Camera app. Where previously users had to decipher camera views, they are now labeled for convenience, as showcased in the video with marked "Left" and "Front" camera views. Yes, there is a front camera view, finally answering the question of Tesla introducing the front bumper camera. We previously had a look at how we expect Tesla's updated Camera app to work with the front bumper camera.

Battery Icon

One of the standout features in the video is the battery display. Gone are the traditional battery icons. Instead, we are introduced to slanted lines, each symbolizing 10% of the battery charge. This visual representation is intuitive and integrates with the Cybertruck's angular design.

Music Mini Player?

Beneath the vehicle visualization is what appears to be a minuscule music control feature, though its precise functionality remains uncertain from the short video clip.

Inside the Cybertruck: More than Just a Fresh UI

Ambient Lighting: Drawing inspiration from the latest Model 3 Refresh and the Chinese Model Y, the Cybertruck incorporates a colorful ambient lighting strip. Strategically placed, this lighting adds a modern aura to the vehicle's groundbreaking design.

Interior Layout and Accessories: The video takes us on a mini-tour of the truck's interior, revealing several intriguing features:

Hexagonal Design Elements: Keeping in line with Cybertruck's geometric aesthetic, the backup camera icon flaunts a hexagonal design, intriguingly contrasting the octagonal design found on the cupholders.

Center Console: A spacious tray area reminiscent of the old Model S finds a home between the front seats. Decked with some wires and a yet-to-be-identified document, the console boasts "cyber cupholders" with an octagonal design. Furthermore, it's equipped with dual phone charging spots right in front of the cupholders.

Sun Visor: The video briefly showcases the two-stage sun visor, which resembles the one found in the Model X. The video provides a glimpse of the massive glass roof, promising a panoramic view that will undoubtedly make the interior feel even more expansive.

Rear Window View: A feature with many talking is the clear view through the back window. Although the video offers only a short glimpse, obstructed by tires placed in the truck's bed, it's evident that when the cover is open, drivers and passengers will benefit from an expansive, unobstructed view.

As one viewer pointed out, this video will probably be used for evidence one day. Whoever was in the Cybertruck owes Max an apology, and poor Max needs to remember to lock the door.

Latest Tesla Update

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.


Find out how to become a sponsor and have your site listed here.

Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Latest Tesla Update

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.