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Elon Musk Says The Tesla Cybertruck Won’t Have Door Handles

The Tesla Cybertruck at the Giga Rodeo on Thursday

Tesla shaves some door handles, Honda turns some lap times, Kia updates its largest family hauler. All this and more in today’s Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

It’s Official, The Tesla Cybertruck Won’t Have Door Handles

The front three-quarter view of the Tesla Cybertruck
Photo credit: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

It looks like Tesla’s stainless steel doorstop is inching closer to production. At an event on Thursday called the Cyber Rodeo (yes, really) [Editor’s note: Ford has an off-road program called “Bronco Off-Roadeo,” so nobody’s really innocent, here -DT ], Elon Musk trotted out a version of the Cybertruck with mirrors, a windshield wiper and a relatively normal wheel and tire package. Conspicuously absent? Door handles. According to Musk, owners will be able to just walk up to their Cybertrucks and have the doors swing open. While this should theoretically eliminate the issue of frozen flush-fit door handles in snowy climates, it’s also a possible entry into the door ding Olympics. We’ll find out a little more about how this system works in 2023, when the Cybertruck is now slated to go on sale.

Other news from the Cyber Rodeo? Musk has promised a futuristic-looking ‘dedicated robotaxi,’ although no timeline was given for this product. That’s probably a smart move, given that Musk has a long history of over-promising on delivery times. Speaking of timelines, Tesla’s robot now has a name and a possible production date. Dubbed Optimus, Musk claims that the humanoid “will do everything humans don’t want to do,” and that it could enter production “hopefully next year.”

In addition to Cybertruck production, a full North American rollout of Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” assistance system and promises of Tesla Semi and Roadster production are on the table for 2023. Whether this deadline is actually met remains to be seen, but I’m really hoping production happens next year. Customers plunked down a lot of money for the Roadster, so it would be nice to see product in their hands. As for the Cybertruck, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it should make the roads a little less boring.

The New Civic Type R Turns Up The Wick

A Honda Civic Type R prototype tearing it up at Suzuka
Photo credit: Honda

For JDM enthusiasts, Suzuka International Racing Course is hallowed ground. Commissioned by Soichiro Honda himself, Suzuka has played host to Formula 1, MotoGP, The Ferrari Challenge, and the World Touring Car Championship. It’s also Honda’s playground for developing the next-generation Civic Type R. Early lap times for a pre-production unit came in on Thursday and, best believe, they are incredible.

A pre-production version of the next Civic Type R just lapped Suzuka in 2:23.12, 0.873 of a second faster than the special, stripped-out, Michelin Cup 2-shod Civic Type R Limited Edition from 2021. As Suzuka’s Grand Prix circuit is 3.609 miles (5.807 km) long, that gives the new Type R an average speed of 90.779 MPH (146.095 km/h), 0.55 MPH (0.885 km/h) faster than the old Limited Edition car. Useful stuff for say, the Nürburgring Nordschleife. While Honda hasn’t explicitly stated that it’d take a swipe at the Renault Mégane R.S. Trophy-R’s front-wheel-drive lap record, I’m sure the company is champing at the bit.

Kia Facelifts The Telluride

A teaser shot of the facelifted 2023 Kia Telluride
Photo credit: Kia

If you’re in the market for a three-row family hauler and can get your hands on a Kia Telluride right now, you’re luckier than a four-leaf clover growing out of a horseshoe. If you can’t, don’t worry – a facelifted model arrives next model year and it looks quite promising. Kia released this teaser on Thursday and, although it’s deliberately obscure, it offers some big hints to the future of the Telluride.

Let’s start with the exterior shot, where the big news is in the daytime running lights. The signature rectangular amber DRLs are gone, replaced with two vertical lines on each headlamp. While the black-and-white teaser shot doesn’t reveal if the new DRLs are white or amber, I’d be extremely sad to see the amber go. It’s just such a distinctive styling touch. Also visible are new raised roof rails, although it’s hard to say whether or not those are exclusive to the new X-Pro trim level Kia’s announced. It’s not surprising to see Kia chasing the bearded-up outdoorsy look with a special trim level, but it seems at odds with the Telluride’s ethos. Part of the big crossover’s appeal is its elegance, although I suppose if the market demands the option of a rugged appearance, the market can have it. The front fascia also appears to be reworked, better integrating the center grille with the lower one.

On the inside, the revised Telluride gains exactly what it’s needed – bigger screens. Moving from a single infotainment screen with a semi-analog gauge cluster to a single-frame binnacle with a digital cluster should give the Telluride some new tricks, like the blind-spot camera display function from the Hyundai Palisade. Otherwise, the interior still looks largely the same as the outgoing car. Physical knobs for climate controls are maintained, the funky console grab-handles with integrated heated seat controls are still there, and the confident four-spoke steering wheel seems untouched. Hopefully a volume knob is hiding in the pitch black of the teaser because capacitive-touch fuckery is absolutely a no-go when it comes to dashboard volume controls. The refreshed Telluride is set to debut at the New York Auto Show, so expect more details next week.

Volvos Are Still As Safe As Bubble-Wrap Suits

The Volvo V60 Cross Country B5 AWD in Onyx Black
Photo credit: Volvo Cars

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 2022 Top Safety Pick+ award results are in, and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Volvo is in the lead with an award for every single thing it makes. No fewer than 13 models score the IIHS’ most prestigious award, although the institute did separate electrified models from strictly gasoline-powered vehicles. To qualify for the IIHS’ top award, vehicles must pass a variety of passive and active safety tests. On the passive side, vehicles must get top marks in small-overlap crash tests on both sides, a moderate-overlap frontal crash test, a side-impact crash test, a roof crush test and head restraint testing. On the active side, vehicles must offer automatic emergency braking that meets IIHS criteria of Superior or Advanced and come equipped as standard with headlights that meet the IIHS’ top two rankings of Good or Acceptable.

It really shouldn’t be a surprise that Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture is holding up well some eight years after its debut. Check out this small overlap crash test of the old P2-platform XC90, a vehicle that saw few significant body changes since it debuted in 2002. What’s Swedish for ‘rock-solid’?

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. Good news, it’s Friday, the weekend is just around the corner. In a few hours, many of us will be making our last commute of the week. Whether you get to work on two wheels, four wheels, pedal power or public transit, we’d love to know what your commute is like, how you make it less stressful and what you’d love to change about it.

Lead photo credit: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

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39 Responses

  1. The fact that Volvos consistently outperform new regulations that crop up well after a model has been debuted is a real testament to their true safety focus of their engineering team. They’re actually looking up and testing to real-world scenarios while other manufacturers are clearly designing for the tests and regulations that exist at the time. Look at that old-ass XC90 acing a then-brand-new test in 2014, while the same model year RAV4 flunks it despite debuting only two years before. I used to think that all modern cars were the same levels of safe until I saw that.

  2. 1st Gen Viper did not have exterior door handles. You just reach thru the open window.

    Where is the Cybertruck going to store the shot put that Elon used to break the window so we can get in?

  3. For the better part of two years (starting in 2017), my commute was either driving less than five miles or walking (I moved a lot over this timeframe so the commute changed back and forth). I really really miss that and prefer it greatly over WFH. Alas…

    1. I guess in theory if you can have your cybertruck pre-heating before your commute, you would probably be ok in all but the worst of wintery “everything is covered in 1″+ of ice” storms.

      I just expect the failure rate of the door opening mechanism to be high enough that owners will routinely be locked out of their vehicles for weeks at a time due to Tesla’s apparently continued inability to manufacturer enough parts to actually service customer vehicles.

  4. I was already aware I’m not cool enough for Tesla, but I just don’t get the door handle removal.

    Is the truck smart enough to know my approach direction? Will it know when I’ve cleared the door if I’m going from the front, so it doesn’t smash a door edge into my crotch as I’m squeezing past in a tight spot? Do I have to get my phone to a certain state for it to know I want into the truck and aren’t just walking past it in my garage?

    All of this sounds like a detriment, not a feature.

  5. Door handles who needs those, it is not like the car runs out of power and you need to get in for some reason. You are not the type to rely on a rescue team being able to, you know, grab a handle and open a door.

    This is like the half steering wheel. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

  6. I have the best commute if you have to have one. It’s about 15 minutes, 6ish miles, three stop lights, two traffic circles and one stop sign on the way into work. Two stop signs on the way home. I go past a few grocery stores and gas stations if I need anything. When I get to the office, I have my own little office with a solid door and a window that opens. Regardless of anything else, that may be my biggest reason for staying at the job.

  7. The shop is only 7 min from my house for days when I need to grab something/check in. IF I get assigned to the project I’ve been pushing for, my commute through August will be: drive normal roads for 30-90 minutes, open gate, shift the Quigley into 4Lo, then creep up a mountain for 10-30 min to reach the cell site while trying to keep Scruffy the 3-legged mutt on my lap/from slithering down underfoot. I got no complaints-except for thunderstorms: working on HVAC on a mountain under a massive lightning rod tends to spike my blood pressure.

  8. On Volvo:

    Making safe cars so they can kill with their drop-dead gorgeous styling.

    I recently purchased a S60 Recharge and loving every minute of it. Averaging around 140 mpg and got 400hp when I want to have some fun.

  9. That Volvo crash test has been running on a loop in my head for years. Almost every other vehicle I’ve seen digs into the barrier and pivots around the impact, spinning the car. The Volvo, despite horrific damage, glances off and keeps going, its path only deflected. For the occupants, other cars are decelerating them to a full stop, while the Volvo is making sure that they don’t experience the full impact. It’s just amazing engineering.

    1. Two details to look for in the slo-mo: That front left wheel peels off and the rim splits into at least 3 pieces held together by the tire. The dummy’s faceprint on the airbag rotating slowly to the right as the steering wheel spins. Shouldn’t the steering wheel turn to the left? No… that wheel’s gone, and the right front wheel can do as it likes, finally free from the balancing pull of its erstwhile partner.

  10. My commute depends on my morning. Sometimes it’s a thirty second drive to the office. Other times it’s immediately hoping in the work truck in the driveway and hauling ass to whatever nonsense I have to deal with.

  11. My commute is hell. ODOT decided to do construction on every major highway in/around Akron at the same time. They have literally closed dozens of exits and rerouted traffic in the dumbest ways possible. If you are someone who planned this project and you’re reading this I hate you. My commute would be better if roughly 75% of the traffic disappeared. Other than that it’s perfect.

  12. The Flush

    I work out of my home, but I do have an office to go to when I need/want to. That commute is six miles in the opposite direction of everyone else. Except when I have to visit a client site, then it varies on where I go and the route I take.

  13. Years ago, when I lived in LA, I figured out that the key to a successful commute is the soundtrack. With the right music anything is possible, even my nightmare hour-long trek from Glendale to North Long Beach every day. (I am so glad I don’t have to do that any more.)

    No talk radio, though. Gotta be music, and for me, gotta be full albums. This morning it was Love And Rockets’s 1986 masterpiece “Express,” yesterday was G. Love and Special Sauce’s debut album, earlier in the week it was Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers – “No More Beautiful World.” On the way home today I’m thinking it will be Thomas Dolby’s “Aliens Ate My Buick.”

    1. Agreed. Those amber DRLs are the most distinct thing on the Tellurude.

      Thankfully it still looks like it is going to be tastefully designed unlike it’s ugly sister from Hyundai.

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