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Rear Wheels Breaking Off. ‘Floppy Wet Noodle’ Windshield Wipers. Easily Humiliated by a Subaru. This Is the Cybertruck.
March 14, 2024

Rear Wheels Breaking Off. ‘Floppy Wet Noodle’ Windshield Wipers. Easily Humiliated by a Subaru. This Is the Cybertruck.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Tesla’s ‘Bulletproof,’ ‘Stainless,’ ‘Indestructible’ New Truck Is None of Those Things, A list of the most disturbing, hilarious, and catastrophic Cybertruck disasters., A list of the most hilarious, disturbing, and catastrophic Cybertruck disasters.

Here’s a serious question: Since Tesla’s Cybertruck was officially rolled out to the public on Nov. 30, has it seen a single week without a series of either hilarious or nigh-catastrophic disasters?

It has been four years since Elon Musk botched the exhibition of his company’s first electric pickup truck, by touting ‘unbreakable,’ ‘bulletproof,’ ‘Armor Glass’ windows that broke easily after contact with a metal ball. (The windows being easy to break might have been a good thing, however: As the Wall Street Journal reported recently, the shipping executive Angela Chao died in a tragic accident after she backed her Tesla Model X into a pond and firefighters, police, and paramedics were unable to break the Tesla’s windows and rescue her.)

Having now recovered from myriad parts-sourcing and manufacturing issues, the Cybertruck has seen its belated introduction to prime time greeted with much hype—and worry. It’s not just the overwhelming size and weight of the thing, or its documented struggles in scaling off-road hills, or its sharp, stainless steel edges, all of which could prove fatal in the event of a collision with pedestrians, bikers, or other drivers. Really, it’s … basically everything about this boxy monstrosity. During the November rollout at Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory, tech reporters and other observers made note of the truck’s complicated doors, its floppy and lengthy windshield wipers (which … don’t cover the entire windshield, are rather expensive to replace, and apparently ‘flop around like a wet noodle‘), its windows’ rebranding as ‘rock-proof’ instead of ‘bulletproof,’ and its incredibly faulty anti-crash features. Not long after the event, even more concerning elements came to the public’s attention, in the least ideal way possible: publicly, and dangerously.

Let’s lay out a little timeline here:

• Just a few days after the rollout, a transportation-focused TikTokker posted a popular video showing off the Cybertruck’s alarming ‘visibility fails,’ including the driver’s obstructed front and rear views, and the lack of easy functionality for gear shifts and land-change indicators.

• A few days after that, Instagram user Matt Chambers shared videos from an off-road trail in Bear Valley, California, where a Cybertruck slid far from the track and had to get towed by a Ford pickup driven by his friends. It turns out, per an update to the caption, that this truck had ‘traction control issues due to software problems, not aired down, no pickup points, poor choice of tires and no recovery points!’ Thanks to the popularity of the videos, Chambers is now selling a limited-edition ‘CyberStuck’ sticker, in case you’re interested.

• A late-December head-on collision in Palo Alto between a Cybertruck and a teen-driven 2009 Toyota Corolla all but destroyed the latter’s front end, although, thankfully, no passengers in either vehicle were seriously hurt.

• By early January, it became apparent the Cybertruck was not up to the job of navigating an extremely snowy winter, thanks to faulty tires unable to find traction in fluttery conditions. Social media posts from drivers showed their trucks stranded on the side of the road, blanketed by snow.

• Later that month, after Cybertruck owners complained that their vehicles’ mileage capacities per charge were far lower than advertised, another off-road-driving YouTuber detailed his struggles with operating the truck’s locking software and the Cybertruck’s difficulty navigating the inclines in a Texas dirt-road park. Humiliatingly, his friends managed to tackle the park just fine in their Subaru Crosstrek and Toyota 4Runner.

• In early February, a immediately viral, now-deleted video from user @blakestonks showed us the worst of both worlds: a Cybertruck driver going hands-free on the highway while wearing an Apple Vision Pro headset and clearly occupied with some sort of virtual game. Other outlets reshared the clip:

• Also in early February, at the desert-racing King of the Hammers tournament, a Cybertruck’s rear wheels popped off after its driver put it through what Futurism called ‘some gnarly donuts.’ The Cybertruck wasn’t the only vehicle there to undergo technical difficulties—but, because it’s an all-wheel drive, it was the only vehicle whose rear wheels broke off. Not great for a supposedly invincible juggernaut. (Oh, and did we mention that the Cybertruck’s tires are already weaker than most, thanks to tightly applied wheel covers that rub up against the rubber?)

• This has already earned quite a bit of attention at this point, but it’s worth reiterating that not only did Musk’s insistence on a stainless-steel exterior for the Cybertruck lead to yearslong manufacturing delays but has now fueled customer dissatisfaction with the discoloration and ‘orange rust’ stains that affect the truck’s look whenever it gets wet. As Wired explains, ‘The Cybertruck does not ship with a clear coat,’ but you can purchase a $5,000 Tesla-produced wrap if you’d like to keep your shiny truck from looking all corroded. So much for stainless!

• To kick off March, tweeter Matthew Chiarello shared this harrowing story in a now-deleted post: ‘Love @tesla and my @cybertruck but ‘catastrophe failure’ with steering and brakes while on a road trip with wife and toddler. … Pretty pretty pretty not good. Oh and service center not open today. @elonmusk.’ Pretty much explains itself.

Another early-March post from a Cybertruck owner that earned some attention: ‘I’ve had my truck for two days, got in this morning, everything was on. Went to press the brake to put it in reverse and everything went black. Power door button wouldn’t even let me out, had to use manual release to get out. I can not get back in either. My battery is at 40%, so no it’s not dead.’ Ah, well, nevertheless.

• Last Tuesday, a local news channel in Monterey County filmed a Cybertruck that ‘got stuck while illegally driving on Marina State Beach.’ The drivers could only push it away from the beach after the local fire department arrived to deflate the tires. Naturally, many online observers had fun with this image, recalling memories of the big ol’ boat that got stuck in the Suez Canal almost exactly three years ago.

• Only a few hours after sharing an Instagram video in which he flexed his new Cybertruck, the up-and-coming rap star 2Rare admitted that he’d crashed it into a sign outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, an incident that gained even Elon Musk’s attention. 2Rare’s reaction to seeing his whip literally go up in flames? ‘Iknoo i F#^ked that money upp yall iknoo.’

• On Friday, the popular YouTube reviewer JerryRigEverything decided to test the Cybertruck’s ‘bulletproof’ claim by firing a .223-caliber AR-15 at its steel walls, which indeed gave way to the powerful rifle’s bullets.

• Oh, and by the way, if you wanna attach a ‘Basecamp’ tent to the back of your Cybertruck, it’ll cost you $3,000, and the tent will be nowhere near as sturdy or as adaptable to your truck’s needs as advertised.

• Over the weekend, a Texas-based electric vehicle enthusiast tweeted a video of his Cybertruck’s screen flashing red with a ‘critical steering issue’ warning, forcing him to pull over in a parking lot. What ended up fixing this? ‘Walking away from the vehicle and coming back resolved the issue,’ he wrote.

• Also over the weekend, Tesla fan and TikTokker Jeremy Judkins posted a video of what will happen should you find yourself locked inside the Cybertruck’s trunk, or Cybertrunk: There is no glow-in-the-dark emergency release—normally a standard feature for passenger vehicles—and the space contains internal sound pretty effectively. Another issue Tesla just might wanna fix.

Well! That should suffice in bringing you up to speed on the fragile state of the Cybertruck, dear reader. Little wonder that fans of Golden State Warriors star Gary Payton II are begging him not to get one for himself—even as resale prices for the truck reach record lows, thanks to disaffected owners flooding the auction market with their discolored, damaged, unsafe, complicated, and possibly wheel-less vehicles. (But if you try to list your Cybertruck for resale, Tesla might retaliate against your account and cancel your other reservations with the company, according to Electrek.) For Elon Musk, who’s betting a lot on Cybertruck success for the sake of Tesla’s business, that may end up being the worst crash of all: the hit to his market share. Who knows? Maybe it’ll take another four years to helm a safer version.


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