It’s been suggested that Tesla’s Cybertruck will have bulletproof glass for the windows and windshield. How accurate are these rumors? Are the Cybertruck windows really bulletproof?
Tesla’s claims that the Cybertruck’s windows can stop bullets are relatively unproven at this point. Armor Glass developed by Tesla has been lauded repeatedly to be “resistant” to 9mm rounds, but this does not mean it is “bulletproof,” and true testing of the glass’s resilience towards bullets remains unseen.
Although we are yet to see whether or not Tesla’s Armor Glass is truly “bulletproof”, the glass does have increased durability and there are practical applications for the glass that can be vouched for and we’ll cover these exciting uses as you read on.
What is Tesla Armor Glass?
Tesla has created and patented an ultra strong glass that they are calling Armor Glass. What is Armor Glass exactly? It has been described by Tesla as transparent metal due not only to its strength but also its construction and chemical makeup.
According to the product’s patent, the windows will be made from multiple layers of this glass stacked together, giving it “improved durability”. The patent for Armor Glass does not describe much about the chemical makeup of the glass itself. It only gives details about the layering process of the glass material and adhesives, which create a very strong “stack” or laminate, to make the windows and windshield.
As previously mentioned, Tesla has described their glass as transparent metal, and this “transparent metal” phrase has been used to describe another existing product. Some speculate this material, known as Aluminum Oxynitride, is being used in the construction of Tesla’s Armor Glass.
Aluminum Oxynitride or ALON has been around for some time. It’s concept was even featured on Star Trek. It is an extremely strong, transparent ceramic made from powder. This advanced ceramic has some of the properties of metal but through its treatment process, is made clear like glass. It was first developed in the 1960s and 70s. But it has only begun to be mass produced in recent years due to its high production cost.
Because of its incredible strength, Aluminum Oxynitrate is being considered as a replacement material for the windows on the International Space Station. Some researchers believe that it will be strong enough to stand up to space debris traveling at thousands of miles an hour.
But more importantly than space station windows, Aluminum Oxynitride has been tested extensively by Surmetcorp and also IS being used for bulletproof glass in military vehicles. If this is actually the same material Tesla is using, then there is quite a good possibility that their Armor Glass will be bulletproof against at least some calibers of gunfire.
Whether or not this Armor Glass is bulletproof or merely bullet resistant, it’s ultra durability and strength is still very practical for everyday drivers. One hope for this glass is that windshield nicks and cracks due to the occasional flying rock on the road will become even less frequent if not eliminated altogether. It is also likely to offer extra protection during collisions and accidents.
Armor Glass in Commercial Trucking
Because of this glass’s resistance to everyday pebbles on the highway, it is also expected to be very practical when applied to commercial shipping trucks. As explained by Elon Musk at the unveiling for the Tesla Semi Truck, a cracked windshield in the commercial shipping world equates to lost time and money.
When the windshield of a commercial truck in the United States is cracked, it effectively takes the truck off the road. Until the windshield is repaired or replaced, it should not be operational, or else there will be severe fines. It doesn’t matter where the truck is or what cargo it’s carrying. By applying Armor Glass in this industry, some unexpected shipping costs and delays could be avoided, hopefully passing some saved costs along to the consumer.
The question of bulletproofing aside, the increased durability of Armor Glass is a definite improvement in the shipping industry. If windshield replacements could go from an annual event to once or twice in the truck’s lifetime, this advantage just may provide more value to the everyday consumer than glass that stops bullets.
Will Other Tesla Models Have Armor Glass?
Seeing how economical this glass is, it would be great for Tesla buyers if this new material was used in Tesla’s whole line of autos. If Armor Glass is proven to be a game changer on the Cybertruck and in the commercial shipping industry, it is reasonable to assume that at some point it may be added to other Tesla models. At this time there are no indications that it is available in Tesla Sedan, Roadsters or SUVs.
But If bulletproofing is a high priority specification for your new car, there are several companies that can do an aftermarket bulletproofing of your Tesla for the right price. For now, it doesn’t look as if it will be a stock option on any models except the Cybertruck.
Why Did Cybertruck Glass Fail?
The Cyber truck has received quite a bit of publicity in the last couple of years. In May of 2020, Elon Musk and the Cyber Truck made an appearance on Jay Leno’s Garage. In the episode, Elon makes mention of the Cybertruck’s armored glass, and although he explains that the vehicle’s body will have bulletproof paneling, he seems to avoid saying anything further about the glass’s resistance to gunfire.
Tesla fans and critics will both be more familiar with this video of a 2019 demo., which seems to suggest that the Cybertruck’s windows are not bulletproof at all, let alone much better than a regular car window. In this video, Tesla’s Chief of Design, Franz von Holzhuasen, bashes the truck’s doors with a hammer to show their strength. He then throws a metal ball at the windows of the Cyber truck, causing the glass to spider web.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has suggested that the cracking may have been due to the window already being compromised from the hammer strikes to the door. Musk may have also alluded that this will be corrected as the Cybertruck progresses through its prototype phase.
Video of a previous lab demonstration was later released by Musk. This video seems to back up claims that the windows will have some kind of ballistic protection, as they passed the metal ball test with ease. This also seems to validate Elon’s claims that the windows which previously failed this test had already been compromised.
A window’s resistance to a metal ball thrown by hand is a long way off from bullets fired out of a gun. And it is worth noting, much modern auto glass is extremely strong and can withstand similar trials to what Tesla’s Armor Glass is claiming. However, if Armor Glass is even a little stronger and more resistant to cracking than traditional glass, it will be considered a superior technology and an improvement in the industry.
Coming to a Road Near You
Cybertruck’s upcoming release in late 2021 is highly anticipated and it is expected to have many futuristic features. As for it having bulletproof glass, all we know for certain at this point is that it will have extremely strong windows and windshield made from Tesla’s Armor Glass and even if it is not bulletproof, it will likely stand up to rocks on the highway better than your current windshield, hopefully saving you time and money.