Tesla's ongoing war against door handles
Tesla has had a bit of a tortured relationship with door handles. It started with Tesla's "self-presenting" door handles on Model S. Then, door handles transformed a bit with Model X — more on that later. Fast forward and door handles evolved to become manual flush-with-the-door handles on Model 3 and Y. Now, Cybertruck will go one step further.
Above: Tesla's Franz von Holzhausen hitting the Cybertruck with a sledgehammer at the unveil — was he aiming for those door handles? (Image: Tesla)
According to Elon Musk, Cybertruck won't have any door handles at all. He tweeted, "No door handles. Car recognizes you & opens door."
Keep in mind, the Cybertruck prototype originally showcased door handles dating back to its first public appearance at Tesla's window-shattering launch event. Eliminating these door handles should further flatten the door design, giving the Cybertruck an even more futuristic look. Of course, this would also help with the vehicle aerodynamic profile as well.
At this time, Model X is the only car in Tesla's current lineup equipped with self/auto presenting front doors. As the owner/driver approaches a Model X with the keyfob or a paired mobile phone, the car automatically opens the driver’s side door. The door is fully opened so that the driver does not need to touch any door handles. To close the door, the driver has to press the brake pedal for a few seconds, the Model X door closes automatically (video demo below).
Above: Model X's unusual open/close feature (YouTube: John Chow dot com)
But still, the Model X does have door handles. And there are multiple ways to open and close the doors on this car including manually and using the center touchscreen controls. This option used to be part of the premium upgrade package in the past but now it comes standard on the new 2021 Model X design refresh (both Long Range and Plaid).
In turn, Tesla already has the tech in place for the motorized auto open and closed doors. Now, they just need to migrate these functions to Cybertruck. But something makes me think the Cybertruck with "no door handles" will be different — at least according to Musk.
Next up? Maybe no steering wheel. Model S has already gone to "half" a steering wheel with the yoke-style. Once Tesla gets FSD dialed in, door handles and steering wheels will be as passé as combustion engines and exhaust pipes.