Just a few weeks after Elon Musk unveiled his polarizing sci-fi Cybertruck, the Tesla CEO was seen driving the prototype vehicle in Malibu, California this weekend, all while knocking over a sign and possibly making an illegal turn in the process.
It’s not the first time the Cybertruck has been spotted on public roads since its unveiling on November 21st. But it is the first time Musk was seen in the driver’s seat, which was enough to spark TMZ and the Daily Mail into licensing the paparazzi footage that has since gone viral. (The truck was also spotted later that evening cruising down Interstate 405.)
Elon Musk took the Cybertruck to Nobu in LA over the weekend pic.twitter.com/79IUyFDxAS
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) December 9, 2019
Automakers commonly run prototype vehicles on public roads for testing purposes before they’re ready for production. In fact, there’s a whole cottage industry of people who go to great lengths to photograph these vehicles to get a sense of what automakers have in store with their newest models, and automakers typically respond by using all sorts of camouflage and fake bodywork to throw spectators off the scent.
There’s no hiding the Cybertruck, though, with its massive angular steel frame, giant wheels, and raised suspension. And Musk wasn’t trying to be covert while driving it this weekend. Instead, he took the truck to dinner at celebrity hot spot Nobu, accompanied by Grimes and a few other passengers. (He even gave actor Edward Norton a look at the truck on the way out of the famous sushi restaurant.)
The Cybertruck prototype is missing a number of features it will eventually need to become street legal when it ships around the end of 2021, like a driver’s side mirror, windshield wipers, and more dedicated headlights and brake lights. But just like other automakers do with their prototypes, Tesla has outfitted the Cybertruck with a manufacturer license plate, which gives companies some wiggle room to test vehicles on public roads even if they don’t meet the US federal motor vehicle safety standards.
While it initially seems like Musk ran a red light leaving Nobu, a closer look at Google Street View shows this particular exit of the parking lot doesn’t have its own light. But Street View also shows that the sign Musk hit is there to tell Nobu patrons they can only make a right turn out of the parking lot. Musk went left, clipping the sign and crossing in front of cars that had just received a green light.
It’s not exactly comforting that Musk was seen clipping a child-sized sign in his behemoth electric pickup truck during one of the prototype’s first appearances on public roads. Of course, much like the truck’s polarizing design, Musk’s decision to bring the prototype to a high-profile spot like Nobu is also probably going to inspire even more people to put down $100 deposits — regardless of how carelessly he drove the thing.