Tesla Cybertruck gets cyberstuck during off-roading expedition
Owner pledges to try again once software update improves performance
Video A Tesla Cybertruck owner who took his wheeled wedge off-road ended up with busted wheel fairings and self-detaching wheel covers for his trouble – and all without the thing being able to make it up a challenging hill.
Ben Levin, a Cybertruck driver and owner of Tesla aftermarket services provider VoyageATX, shared his experience in a YouTube video published on Sunday, in which he described his adventures as "an absolute win" despite many problems.
The Cybertruck’s most obvious failure as an off-road vehicle came during an attempt to climb a hill that was easily summited by a Toyota 4runner and Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness driven by Levin's friends. You can see how it went in the video below.
"[The Subaru] took everything we threw at it," Levin claimed. "Good proof you don't need to spend $80+ thousand to go out on the trails and have some fun."
The Cybertruck's software, Levin explained in the video, was "trying, trying, trying, stopping, [didn't] know what to do, and trying again" to make it over the reasonably-accomplishable hump. But it simply couldn't achieve it – even after reducing tire pressure from 50psi to 30psi.
Levin concluded the Tesla’s troubles are attributable to its lack of locking differentials – a feature that locks axles together to force wheels to rotate at the same speed and which has been standard on gas-guzzling cars for years.
The lack of locking differentials, Levin argued, is "a really big miss" for Tesla.
It’s not the Muskmobile’s only problem: Levin opined "This is kind of a common theme with this car: lots of unfinished features deploying to customers."
One would think that, after years of promises and delays, Tesla would have had time to finish some basic features – like diff locks. Levin told us the Cybertruck infotainment system indicates the feature will be added in a future update.
Duck – a cover!
Software issues may have prevented Levin from tackling some of the obstacles he came across, but the Cybertruck had some physical issues in its off-road excursion, too.
While trying to climb the hill he attempted, the wheel fairings (which Levin refers to as "mud flaps") were completely broken off on the front and rear driver's side of the vehicle, and a third fairing popped off on the other side when he took an alternative route.
Unbeknownst to Levin at the time, Tesla recommends removing the wheel fairings when driving off-road. Trying to figure out how to remove them brought up another problem because no instructions are available. The Cybertruck infotainment system points owners to the Cybertruck DIY manual for instructions on removing the fairings, but the DIY manual says to consult the Tesla website.
"If I go to the do-it-yourself guides [on Tesla.com] … it's not there. It's just S, 3, X and Y," Levin said in the video. "This is a problem, Tesla. If you're gonna say I need to remove it in the owner's manual you gotta actually have the content out there."
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Along with the broken fairings, Levin said that the wheel covers on the truck didn't so much go round and round while he off-roaded, but instead "flew off" while driving. This problem isn't unique to off-road environments – a Cybertruck wheel cover was previously spotted hurtling down a freeway when prototypes started hitting the roads late last year.
Despite all those shortcomings, Levin intends to continue using the Cybertruck as an off-road vehicle. He told us, however, that he'll be waiting for some software tweaks before heading back out.
"At first, I was certainly deterred by the truck not performing as well as I had hoped during that specific portion, but I reflected and genuinely think the entirety of that day was an excellent experience," Levin told The Register.
"Yes, the software didn't aid me, and diff lockers would have made a difference in my opinion, but at the end of the day, my two complaints are software, and software can be updated."
Levin also attributed some of the Cybertruck's failures to his own inexperience as an off-roader, and believes there's "a good chance maybe someone with more experience could have gotten up that hill."
"Once Tesla makes some tweaks, I fully intend on heading back and getting up that incline," he concluded.
Tesla bills the Cybertruck as "Durable and rugged enough to go anywhere". ®