fbpx
Car News Updated Hourly

They Brought A Crappy Tesla Cybertuck ‘Clone’ To A Major Car Show. We Interviewed Them

The most baffling thing I saw at this recent Los Angeles Auto Show – and, really, at any auto show I’ve ever been to – is the Aitekx Robotruck on display right in the middle of the show, in the large area between the main halls often reserved for startups and other low-volume companies. It was baffling because the quality of the Robotruck – which absolutely looked like a bootleg Tesla Cybertruck – was, to put it generously, abysmal. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen toddler-crafted gingerbread houses that looked more carefully constructed. I already wrote something about how miserable this thing looked, but that doesn’t really answer the bigger question: why? We talked to the people behind the baffling truck to try to find out. It was more awkward than you can possibly imagine.

There are lots of questions worth asking: Why would a company bring something so crude and poorly-built to one of the biggest auto shows in the world? What is thing going to be, anyway? Is the company real? How likely is it that it will actually be built? Are they really taking $100 reservations? Who the hell is giving this company $100 after seeing this thing?

Vidframe Min Top

Vidframe Min Bottom

David and I couldn’t get this remarkable mess out of our heads, so we knew we had to talk to the people behind the Robotruck. We did, and, boy, did it get awkward.

Here, you really should just brace yourself for the awkwardness and watch the whole thing, which is embedded above. You can also watch it here on YouTube.

Company Representative On His Own Truck: ‘I don’t Like It’

There’s really no way it wouldn’t get awkward, of course, since we’re going up to a startup company and asking them to explain why they decided to bring such a half-assed prototype — with a design that looks to us like an obvious knockoff — to the auto show; there’s just no nice way to ask that. I want to be clear that we’re not trying to scuttle anyone’s dreams here; if they genuinely have something they believe in, then I sincerely wish them all possible success – we need small, innovative automotive startups!

398044950 886138526214843 8665375541089931990 N

371430343 334863969245294 3622331900749942781 N

But the reality is what we saw out there on the show floor was in no way anything that would inspire confidence in the abilities or mission of this company. So we had to ask them about it, and things went in a very strange direction.

I think the strangest part is when Ed – that’s the only way we know him, as when we asked his last name he responded with “I don’t want to tell you” [Ed note: We think he’s likely Edmund Shen, see the update below]— actually agreed with us that bringing such a rough prototype to the auto show was a bad idea, saying “I don’t like it.” He actually recorded a video of David and me for one of his colleagues, stating just that. Ed said he did this because he did not like the rough bodywork, and disagreed with his “developer,” and wanted to show him that, essentially, he was right, and it was a bad idea to bring such a crude vehicle to show in public.

I think Ed was right.

Denying That The Robotruck Draws Inspiration From The Tesla Cybertruck Is Bizarre

Also strange, but perhaps slightly more expected, was the insistence from everyone at Aitekx that the company’s Robotruck was not in any way supposed to look like the Cybertruck (we didn’t even ask about the name similarity). But, while there are differences — sure, come on — it’s pretty clear what truck inspired the look of this thing:

Side Robo Cyber

The resemblance is especially clear in these idealized renderings of what the Robotruck is supposed to look like. And by the way, pretty much every other media outlet agrees:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 4.00.47 Am

And yet, AITEKX representatives denied that the truck was meant to look like the Cybertruck; in fact, they’ve denied it to others as well, with tech/startup online newspaper TechCrunch writing:

Don’t call it a Cybertruck

A previously under-the-radar company called Aitekx debuted its RoboTruck at a small booth by the auto show’s west hall.

You tell me — does this look like a Tesla to you? When I asked someone at the booth if the vehicle was inspired by the Cybertruck, he responded with a firm “no.”

I should note that on the second public day of the show, Saturday, after the slew of articles talking about the “Cybertruck clone” had appeared, they removed the big triangular “sail” piece from one side of the truck, in an effort to lessen the Cybertruck-like-look of the thing, if I had to guess.

Still, the company literally has this picture on its website:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 4.30.16 Am
Image: AITEKX

By the way, here’s a totally unrelated and in no way similar image of the Tesla Cybetruck:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 4.30.53 Am
Image: Tesla

Who are we trying to kid here? And more importantly: Why?

Quality So Bad It’s Hard To Take Seriously

The real-world Robotruck is, of course, far crappier than the truck’s renderings show.

Robotruck1

You can see some of that crappiness a few photos up, where some smaller pieces of side glass mate with the huge windshield; what appears to be black silicone sealant is just smeared in the cracks. The photo directly above also shows some of the shoddy build quality; look at the gap in that rear door, which is — believe it or not — actually closed. Here I am fitting half of my hand into that door gap as David stands by utterly shocked:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 12.36.44 Am

But we were even more shocked when we saw that, below the outer door panel was a gap and then another outer door panel of the donor truck on which this Robotruck was based — a Toyota Tacoma, we’re pretty sure. And the donor truck’s door handles were still there! Check it out:

370231419 6385578998215219 2808662749710295729 N

363510914 1806970623047155 3587750676526211728 N

By the way, here’s why we think the donor is a Toyota Tacoma — we found this on the glass:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 3.50.58 Am

The passenger’s side door gap, by the way, doesn’t look much better:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 12.54.41 Am

And if you go to the front of the car, you’ll realize that the “headlights” are literally just LED light strips stuck onto the car:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 1.01.08 Am

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 12.56.31 Am

These light strips can produce white or amber output, and appear pretty much identical to these I found on Amazon for $7 a foot:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 3.29.47 Am

The taillights are no better; they’re also just LED light strips with a red plastic lens screwed over top:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 1.04.08 Am

The center high mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) is also just an LED light strip that appears to have been haphazardly installed over top of sloppy bodywork:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 3.15.19 Am

And I do mean sloppy bodywork; here you can tell that some kind of filler appears to have been smeared over the truck’s body prior to paint:

371483785 6978515745541591 7534703640847566072 N

I could go all day showing the Robotruck’s poor craftsmanship, but there’s just no time.

The Chassis Appears To Be Unique

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 4.11.55 Am

The two AITEKX reps pointed us to a video of the truck actually driving. Ed, who, again, literally told us he doesn’t like the truck his team brought to the show, made it clear that they’re trying to show off their technology — the body is just meant to show the concept of the truck, whose chassis his team is proud of. And by the way, that chassis does appear to be unique; this isn’t just a Toyota Tacoma underneath, to the company’s credit.

I’m going to pass to David for some commentary about the chassis:

Here’s a look at where the battery mounts to the body:

370249992 304989632444636 6931176474482821499 N370208053 361893716373809 3171041061969211458 N

Here’s the front suspension from behind the front axle:

369051324 692518282862915 1205208535700602774 N

Here’s the front suspension from the front of the car:

370072551 230394613267859 4519609378956918456 N

395271726 280406174468947 7430786452324881387 N

Here’s the rear suspension from ahead of the rear axle:

398333835 3593964170817883 6290556415794457692 N

Here’s the rear suspension from behind the rear axle; you can see the motor/drive unit:

386472583 859503056176762 4398158280047135382 N

Still, even though the chassis does appear to be AITEKX’s own design, the heim joints everywhere, flat-welded steel control arms, and square and round metal tubing — it doesn’t look to me like what you’d expect to see from a modern OEM. Seriously, here’s a Rivian front lower control arm:

Front Left Lower Suspension Control Arm OEM Rivian R1T 2022 *Note | eBay
Image: eBay

And here’s the Robotruck’s:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 4.21.08 Am

The build looks like something you might see on a custom off-road race truck, and while the Robotruck is supposed to be an off-roader, the way the company is advertising it with pictures and videos of it on the street implies that this is meant to see some road use, and Ed told us the company plans to crash test it, so it doesn’t seem like this is just a small company making off-road-only buggies for select customers.

The Website Matches The Truck

It’s worth noting how AITEKX describes itself on its website, which is also as poorly crafted as the truck shown at the LA Auto Show. From AITEKX’s “About” page:

About

AITEKX Inc is a US Corporation located in Silicon Valley California, dedicated in versatile AI clean energy vehicles and mobility robotics development and manufacturing.

Because this is a Silicon Valley-based company, apparently, I don’t feel bad pointing out just how egregious some of the company’s website’s spelling/grammar errors are. I know I make plenty of these myself, but here at the Autopian, we do take the time to edit, usually. Check these out:

Screen Shot 2023 11 20 At 11.24.33 Am Screen Shot 2023 11 20 At 11.55.24 Am Screen Shot 2023 11 20 At 11.44.56 Am Screen Shot 2023 11 20 At 11.43.47 Am Screen Shot 2023 11 20 At 11.42.01 Am Screen Shot 2023 11 20 At 11.36.35 Am

Screen Shot 2023 11 20 At 11.54.23 Am

The website features a call for visitors to follow the company on social media:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 4.50.01 Am

The LinkedIn page brings you here:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 4.51.03 Am

There’s not much info to be gathered; apparently, the company has between 11 and 50 employees, and 22 folks follow it on the platform. There are no people associated with the company. The Facebook and Instagram links all lead to messages saying the page isn’t available, while the Twitter link gets you this:

Screen Shot 2023 11 22 At 4.53.59 Am

Seems legit.

AITEKX Representatives Wanted Us To Write Positive Things, Leave

Also alarming about our interaction with the company was the way the two representatives – Ed (who, by the way, wouldn’t tell us the size of AITEKX’s engineering team or who the company’s financial backer is, and who told us he has no title) and a gentleman who claims to have once worked for the ill-fated Lordstown Motors – tried to convince us that the media should be writing only positive things about the companies at the car show.

Positiveforcompany

Well, it was more Ed saying that, the other guy just wanted us to leave. That’s not how this works, though, Ed.

If we see a truck being displayed front and center at the Los Angeles Auto Show (look at the coverage from the Auto Show itself below), and if the makers of that truck are taking real (albeit refundable, they claim) money for reservations for this truck, then you absolutely have to understand that the quality of the truck that is shown there is going to be scrutinized by not just media, but everyone. And, sure, it’s a prototype, and you can’t expect final production-level quality from that, but even so, I’ve never seen any prototype or pre-production car built as poorly as this.

If I made this in my driveway, I’d be proud as hell! But I’m not taking it to the LA Auto Show, and I’m not taking deposits on it, or promising it will go into production.

Maybe Aitekx is legit. Maybe they’ll end up building top-quality Robotrucks by the thousands. Maybe everyone who dropped $100 on this thing will be thrilled when they get theirs in 2025 – you know, like 14 months from now. Who’s to say?

But, as it stands now, based on the look of the thing and the way the interactions went with Aitekx’ representatives, I’m not sure I’d suggest any breath holding.

Update: Based on this filing, and these photos, it seems like the person who would only identify himself as “Ed” is likely Edmund Shen. Big thanks to our friend Bozi for finding those.

Relatedbar

We Saw The Tesla Cybertruck Knockoff And It Looks Worse Than You Could Imagine

The Tesla Cybertruck Is Not Going To Be ‘The Best Off-Road Vehicle’ And I Didn’t Need This New Off-Road Footage To Tell You That

Tesla’s Head Designer Drove A Black Cybertruck To A Car Show And Everyone’s Making Fun Of It. Here Are All The Pics So You Can Judge For Yourself




This article was originally published by a www.theautopian.com . Read the Original article here. .

Subscribe To Our Email List

If you ain't first, you're last! Join to get the latest updates and exclusive offers!

Welcome to the club!

Something went wrong.