Elon Musk revealed the Cybertruck final night time, saying it appears to be like like nothing else on the market. That’s true, however the Cybertruck shares a number of key options with an unlikely pickup the first-generation Honda Ridgeline.
Each the Cybertruck and Honda Ridgeline are constructed in a different way from commonplace pickups. They make use of a unibody design, very like what’s utilized in most passenger automobiles. As a substitute of a physique sitting on a body, the Cybertruck and Ridgeline are constructed round what is basically a steel cage.
Due to the unibody pickup design, the car has to make use of a key design aspect to allow high-capacity towing: A sail pillar.
Most frequently, a car’s towing capability is proscribed by physique design relatively than engine power. Towing locations a variety of stress on the car’s body. Wish to pull extra? Make a beefier body underneath the truck. However with the unibody Tesla Cybertruck, to extend the towing capability, it had to make use of as large of a sail pillar as potential, explaining the unconventional design.
A car naturally desires to twist. Consider a wringing out a washcloth. In a body-on-frame design, the engine rests on a big body, which absorbs a variety of the stresses. In a unibody design, vertical helps assist and are employed all through, beginning with an A-pillar by the windshield and ending with a D pillar in the rear window of SUVs.
With a body-on-frame design, like what’s utilized in most pickups, the power from a trailer rests on the body. Most of the power is absorbed in the construction positioned underneath the physique of the truck. The truck’s cab is decoupled from the mattress, permitting the cab and mattress to maneuver relative to 1 one other and higher compensate for the stress on the body.
In a unibody design, like in the Cybertruck, Ridgeline, or most SUVs, the physique is subjected to the similar forces however has to make use of the physique to forestall twisting. The buttress-like sail pillar helps take in the power and stop the truck from twisting.
Unibody SUVs have D pillars the vertical helps at the rear of the car the place pickups don’t. This D pillar is required to forestall the unibody from twisting and flexing when underneath load. However with out the D pillar in a unibody pickup, a sail pillar connects the C pillar to the rear of the truck, reaching the same end result.
The primary technology Honda Ridgeline had a modest sail pillar, however Honda was in a position to ditch the function for the second technology by reinforcing vital factors all through the unibody.
Honda described the redesign like this.
The rear body construction of the 2017 Ridgeline is vitally vital to the total structural rigidity of the physique, to collision security efficiency and to the Ridgeline’s hauling and towing functionality. Using totally boxed body members for the physique sides and rear tailgate body, the truss-style rear inside building contributes to the new Ridgeline’s extra standard three-box design profileallowing for the elimination of the buttress-style physique construction in the ahead portion of the higher mattress on the earlier modelwhile contributing to a 28-percent achieve in torsional rigidity versus the earlier mannequin. Additionally, the U-shaped rear body member serves as a extremely inflexible mounting construction for the rear tailgate, permitting for a extremely exact tailgate match.
The Chevrolet Avalanche additionally used a sail pillar to compensate for the lack of D pillar. To make the Avalanche, Chevy took a full-size Suburban SUV and minimize off the rear quarter.
It’s unclear if Tesla unveiled the closing model of the Cybertruck. We nonetheless have vital questions. And if it’s not the closing design, there’s an opportunity Tesla will be capable to use a few of Honda’s methods to cut back the flying buttresses and produce a extra standard pickup design.