Tesla’s Cybertruck is having trouble living up to the hype

During the Cybertruck event last year, Elon Musk showed off a pretty impressive demo that pitted its 6,600-lb EV pickup against a Porsche 911 on a quarter-mile drag strip. The Cybertruck came out on top — with the twist that it was towing a Porche 911, too.

Tesla claims the $99,990 tri-motor “Cyberbeast” went from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 2.6 seconds and completed the quarter-mile race in less than 11 seconds. But was that really the case? In a video posted last week, YouTuber Engineering Explained calls out Musk for peddling what appears to be exaggerations about the Cybertruck’s capabilities.

For one, channel owner Jason Fenske says the Cybertruck doesn’t actually complete the full quarter-mile race in the demo — instead, Tesla ends the race at the one-eighth mile marker. Fenske points out that both vehicles are only “halfway to the timing boards” when Tesla shows the view of the Porsche and Cybertruck crossing the finish line side by side.

That suggests they only completed one-eighth of a mile, as the timing boards are typically placed at the end of the quarter-mile strip. Fenske found some additional evidence supporting this, too, and even measured the length of the track on Google Maps using landmarks from the video.

This isn’t the only potential discrepancy Cybertruck owners have found so far, now that the vehicle is being delivered to buyers. Another YouTuber, Kyle Conner from Out of Spec Motoring, held a livestream to test the Cybertruck’s range. At the end of the five-hourlong stream, Conner found that the Foundation Series dual-motor model only got around 254 miles of range after a full charge — quite lower than the 320-mile range promised by Tesla. The cold might’ve had something to do with the lower-than-expected range, though, as Conner took it out on a highway in around 45-degree weather. Cold weather can significantly reduce an EV’s range.

Meanwhile, over at the Cybertruck Owners Club forum, one user has found that towing a heavy load severely limits the range of the vehicle, which is expected. In their tests, they used their all-wheel drive Cybertruck to tow a Tesla Model Y on a trailer weighing in at a total of around 6,000 pounds. The driver got just around 111 miles on an 84 percent charge before the Cybertruck’s battery petered out

Tesla said it will eventually release a range extender that’s supposed to offer an additional 130 miles of range, but these findings don’t exactly go along with Tesla’s portrayal of the current Cybertruck as a towing powerhouse. The delivery event last year heavily promoted the truck as able to do all the things normal trucks do, including towing heavy objects such as a SpaceX rocket engine.

The Cybertruck might not be as rugged as Musk describes it, either. A post on Reddit offers a glimpse of the Cybertruck’s owner’s manual, which similar to Tesla’s other vehicles, suggests that owners should “immediately remove corrosive substances,” including grease, oil, bird poop, road salt, dead insects, and other materials from the exterior of the car to “prevent damage.” But the Cybertruck also doesn’t have clear coat — something most cars come with to help protect the paint against damage from the sun and minor scratches.

That’s why Tesla notes “any scratches that appear are in the stainless steel panels themselves.” All of this doesn’t quite add up to the Cybertruck being the otherworldly beast capable of going off-road and being “built for any planet,” especially when apparent software issues stranded this Cybertruck in the snow. The Cybertruck might not even be the most practical pickup for here on Earth.

Update January 17th, 3:23PM ET: Added clarification about the Cybertruck’s exterior.


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