One of the most eagerly anticipated electric vehicles, the Tesla Cybertruck, has hit a few potholes on its journey to the production line. Details from an engineering report, leaked by a whistleblower in early 2022, suggest that the futuristic pickup experienced substantial hurdles in its design phase, particularly in terms of its suspension, braking, and handling systems.
Tesla unveiled the Cybertruck over three years ago, originally aiming to kick off production in 2021. Fast forward to mid-2023, and close to 1.8 million reservation holders are still waiting. So, why the delay? While multiple factors could be involved, the truck’s cutting-edge design seems to be the primary culprit.
“You can’t just use conventional methods of manufacturing,” Musk said on an earnings call in May as he was explaining why the Cybertruck is a difficult vehicle to make. “We had to invent a whole new set of manufacturing techniques in order to build an exoskeleton car rather than an endoskeleton car, so it is clearly not trivial.”
Dated January 25, 2022, the leaked report provides a unique insight into the technical challenges that Tesla engineers grappled with in the Cybertruck’s early development stages. The alpha model of the Cybertruck, which was deemed problematic, was plagued by issues relating to “structural shake”, excessive noise, and water leaks due to sealing difficulties.
One engineer was quoted as being “blown away” by how Tesla was “struggling so much with the basics”. Furthermore, the report indicated that the Cybertruck’s unique aesthetic made it a challenge to seal properly, resulting in an “abundance of noise and leaking issues.”
The performance of the prototype Cybertruck also left a lot to be desired. The vehicle reportedly exhibited significant body roll, steering problems, and inadequate braking. Based on the Society of Automotive Engineers scoring system, where seven is “fair”, the Cybertruck prototype scored a concerning four, suggesting it was unfit for public roads.
However, 18 months have passed since the release of the report, which is ample time for Tesla to address these issues. Despite the rocky road to production, Tesla CEO Elon Musk remains bullish about the Cybertruck’s future. He has expressed confidence in a Q3 rollout of the first release candidates, with mass production slated to commence in 2024 at a projected annual rate of 375,000 units.
This leaked report not only sheds light on Tesla’s struggles but also underscores the company’s unwavering commitment to bringing the Cybertruck to market.