The latest innovation from Elon Musk’s electric car juggernaut Tesla has just dropped. It has big hype, sleek lines, flawless functionality and a cold steel exterior. No, we’re not talking about the Tesla model S,3,X or Y. We’re talking about the Cyberwhistle, and it’s already sold out.
So, what can we expect from Elon Musk’s first foray into the luxury whistle sector? The listing on Tesla’s US website reads:
“Inspired by Cybertruck, the limited-edition Cyberwhistle is a premium collectible made from medical-grade stainless steel with a polished finish. The whistle includes an integrated attachment feature for added versatility.”
Despite the $50 non-refundable price tag (plus shipping), Musk fans have already snapped up all the Cyberwhistles on offer, with scalpers offering pre-ordered whistles on eBay for over £300. This may end up being a pretty good deal considering the $1500 Tesla surfboard from 2018 now sells for a cool $12000. Fans on Twitter have also praised the product’s potential uses, anything from scaring away bears at a family picnic to deafening your close friends.
Yet what motivates a billionaire part-time Mars explorer and flamethrower salesman to pivot into the ancient art of whistle-making? Perhaps the same impulse behind his other high-cost hijinks: trolling. From giving his child a name that sounds like a high school long division problem (X Æ A-Xii) to promoting a cryptocurrency based on a long-dead meme (Dogecoin), Musk seems to delight in trolling the public with almost unbelievably bizarre behaviour.
However, later tweets by Musk suggest that this time, his trolling is targeted. Hours after the Cyberwhistle’s launch, the 50-year-old Musk impishly wrote: “Don’t waste your money on that silly Apple Cloth, buy our whistle instead!” This is a pointed jab at Apple’s most recent drop, a £19 microfibre cleaning wipe available on their UK store. Only time will tell how, or if, Apple’s Tim Cook choises to respond.
The choice of a whistle could also have darker motives. Tesla has recently been slammed by lawsuits from US whistleblowers claiming mistreatment by the company while under its employ; one black employee received $137million in damages for racial abuse he suffered while working at the company’s factory in Fremont, while another female worker accused the company of failing to act on reports of her sexual harassment. Musk’s tweets suggest the whistle could even be an attempt to mock his accusers. The billionaire launched the product by urging his 65 million followers to ‘blow the whistle on Tesla’, perhaps a veiled reference to the legal claims.
Either way, the Cyberwhistle – made, like its namesake the Cybertruck from stainless steel devised for space travel – seems to have made Musk’s fans very happy. Only time will tell if its value will blow up like a SpaceX rocket.