Does the act of someone’s net worth plummeting make an actual sound?
If so, then for Elon Musk it would be the thonk of a metal ball splintering the purportedly unbreakable glass of his long-awaited cybertruck.
Thursday’s unveiling of Tesla’s latest electric vehicle hit a snag when the company’s chief designer smashed the vehicle’s windows while attempting to demonstrate their durability. Tesla’s share price subsequently plummeted 6%, bringing Musk’s personal net worth down by $768m in a single day, according to Forbes.
“It is literally bulletproof to a 9mm handgun,” Musk said of the cybertruck, moments before design chief Franz von Holzhausen went on to demonstrate not once, but twice, that the windows could break because a man threw a ball at them.
“It didn’t go through, that’s the plus side,” Musk said.
Musk had previously described the vehicle as a “really futuristic-like cyberpunk, Blade Runner pickup truck”. But the overall reaction to its design has not been kind, with many laughing at its almost cartoonishly large, video game-like features.
The Cybertruck is great because it offers the perfect blend of owning a pickup truck and the feeling that you’re at burning man all year long.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) November 22, 2019
It wasn’t the first time Musk’s theatrics have sent his company’s share price tumbling. Tesla’s shares took a similar 6% hit a year ago, when Musk decided to smoke marijuana on a live web show.
At the time, Musk called the Guardian “the most insufferable newspaper on planet Earth” in response to a question about the wisdom of smoking marijuana while he was under investigation by the SEC for tweeting that he had “secured” funding to take Tesla private.
For what it’s worth, he claimed his team had successfully tested the stunt ahead of the launch, and that the windows had not shattered.
We threw same steel ball at same window several times right before event & didn’t even scratch the glass!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2019
But with Musk’s net worth still estimated at more than $20bn, perhaps he can afford to keep breaking things.