I’m unsure if I ever will, however I very a lot wish to drive a Tesla Cybertruck. I imply, take a look at that factor. Distinctive, bizarre or simply plain ridiculous vehicles have all the time been probably the most attention-grabbing vehicles, and so they’re those that automobile fans most wish to drive or study extra about. Doug DeMuro has made a profession out of showcasing them. And if the Cybertruck doesn’t qualify as distinctive, bizarre and simply plain ridiculous … nicely, it positive ain’t regular.
But, I additionally wish to drive the Cybertruck as a result of the expertise itself must be fascinating. And I don’t simply imply staring by means of the huge, flat windshield over the starkly plain sprint. The mix of chassis and drivetrain components described by Tesla CEO Elon Musk yesterday on the Cybertruck’s supply occasion (itself distinctive, bizarre and simply plain ridiculous), is fascinating.
Musk describes the Cybertruck as having the “dealing with of a sports activities automobile.” I haven’t pushed it, however I can’t think about that’ll be the case. It’s much more prone to have the dealing with of completely nothing else. How may it not? It’s as vast as a Ford F-150, however 6 inches shorter in size. It weighs practically 7,000 kilos when most vans are within the higher 5,000 vary. Sports activities vehicles as of late are within the 3,000s, perhaps 4,000s. It then has the low middle of gravity afforded by its gargantuan (and gargantuanly heavy) battery pack. It additionally has all-terrain tires, which sports activities vehicles don’t are likely to have. Until named Dakar.
Then there’s these chassis and drivetrain components I discussed. Each Cybertruck has rear-wheel steering (RWS), usually an possibility on giant, upper-crust luxurious vehicles in addition to some sports activities vehicles, together with the Porsche 911. By turning the rear wheels in the wrong way because the fronts, it considerably reduces the automobile’s turning circle, rising its agility round corners, and customarily making it really feel like a smaller automobile. That’s a giant deal for a giant automobile just like the Cybertruck.
However it’s not the largest deal. That’ll be the steer-by-wire system, which to me, explains why Tesla got here up with its controversial yoke within the first place (it simply jumped the gun by placing it within the Mannequin S first). Whereas the yoke drew unsurprising ire for being a poor match for typical steering, as Lexus found whereas concurrently creating its personal steer-by-wire system, a yoke is definitely well-suited for what’s apparently within the Cybertruck. Assuming it really works in the identical method as Lexus Steer by Wire, sensors will decide how a lot you turned the yoke and ship that data to the electrical energy steering system whereas the Cybertruck determines how briskly it’s going. These two items of information are then used to radically alter the steering ratio and due to this fact how a lot it’s worthwhile to steer. Extra merely, you’ll barely have to show the yoke at low speeds to make it flip. As a substitute of turning hand-over-hand a number of instances in a U-turn, you’ll possible simply deliver your proper hand from 3 to 10 o’clock.
Because the above video exhibits, it’s actually bizarre and unlikely something you’ve ever skilled earlier than, but it surely additionally appeared to work nicely within the Lexus. If it’s related within the Cybertruck, you possibly can see why I believe it’ll deal with and drive like completely nothing else. However that’s not the top of it.
The range-topping Cyberbeast provides a second motor to the rear axle (just like the Audi SQ8 E-Tron), due to this fact granting every wheel its personal motor that may spin at completely different charges. This permits for what’s known as torque vectoring, or the skin rear wheel spinning sooner than the within one to push the rear finish round a nook and lowering understeer. It’s certainly a boon for dealing with, as we’ve seen in numerous all-wheel-drive vehicles, most notably these by Acura.
Add all that up, and the Cybertruck could possibly be simply as wild to drive as it’s to have a look at. I needed to listen to much more about these components, however sadly, Tesla doesn’t hand out press supplies and doesn’t go into higher element in its client web site, both. Musk additionally spent lots of time, assisted by a pre-made video presentation, happening concerning the many superb Cybertruck feats of energy. That’s the place it misplaced me, as a result of so many had been utterly bereft of context.
I’m positive many non-car media retailers will parrot these capabilities as if they’re distinctive and unimaginable (and perhaps they’re!), however received’t dig deeper to see if they’re actually distinctive for brand new automobiles in 2023, whether or not the supplied footage/data tells solely a sliver of the total story, or if it was simply plain-old deceptive. Listed below are a few of these examples.
“As a result of the middle of gravity is so low, it doesn’t roll over,” Musk stated whereas video performed exhibiting a rollover check performed at 16 mph (based on a graphic on the display) whereby the Cybertruck laterally slides off a sled and lands with each left wheels in a sand pit. It doesn’t actually rollover.
Maybe that is an extremely frequent check within the automotive trade. Maybe this seemingly random velocity of 16 mph is the frequent trade customary. Or perhaps Musk is exaggerating and it completely would’ve flipped ass over tea kettle at 20 mph. Who is aware of! The issue is the utter lack of context right here, together with how different automobiles of assorted sorts would carry out.
We within the automobile media see footage of random exams like this on a regular basis on new automobile launches as a way to exhibit sure capabilities. I assume it’s often in good religion, and it most likely is right here, too. The difficulty is, once more, I’ve no context for it and with out context, you possibly can’t precisely use it as proof for “it doesn’t roll over.” Musk and Tesla definitely can. That’s known as advertising and marketing. Folks reporting concerning the Cybertruck and even these studying about it? Nope!
Instantly after that rollover check in that video, footage was proven of the Cybertruck crashing right into a seemingly customary crash check barrier. The gang erupted in applause, which did appear odd. Do they suppose vehicles often accordion from bumper to bumper in crash exams? Explode? Have they seen a crash check not too long ago?
Anyway, the one info supplied about its efficiency in that crash check together with a seemingly customary aspect check was Musk saying, “If you happen to’re ever in an argument with one other automobile, you’ll win.” Okey dokey. As soon as once more, that’s advertising and marketing, and it’s completely no completely different than the sticker on my son’s Britax automobile seat that simply says “Crash Examined.” That’s good, how did it do in that crash check?
To be clear, I wasn’t anticipating Musk to whip out a nine-page report documenting dummy head deflections, however till the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security will get its palms on one, we shouldn’t get too carried away about its crash efficiency. True, the Tesla Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y are IIHS Prime Security Picks, however that ensures nothing a few subsequent new mannequin, particularly one as basically completely different because the Cybertruck. All we all know is that it didn’t accordion or explode on influence.
Pulling a Porsche 911
That is one other one missing context. First, what sort of Porsche 911 is it? There are A LOT. Judging by the colour and wheels, it’s nearly definitely a Porsche 911 Carrera T, which has the least highly effective engine obtainable. Assuming Tesla was utilizing launch management (and that’s positively an assumption given the stunt nature of this train), the Carrera T will hit 60 in 4.3 seconds with a handbook or 3.8 seconds with an computerized. That’s additionally assuming the individual driving the 911 is of a comparable talent as the one that did Porsche’s instances. Once more, an assumption.
Additionally assuming the Cybertruck does certainly hit 60 in 2.6 seconds (with 1-foot of rollout as is the usual on a drag strip or at publications equivalent to Automobile and Driver), it will stand to purpose that the Cybertruck accelerates from zero to 60 mph in perhaps 4.2 or 3.7 seconds whereas towing 3,900 kilos of 911 Carrera T plus trailer. That’s actually cool!
Once more, although, context! Tesla positively picked a 911 right here that it knew it may beat in a 0-60 check whereas towing one other 911. In the event that they selected actually every other new Porsche 911 right here, one which isn’t a lightweighted mannequin and/or faster to 60, the Cybertruck loses this stunt.
Additionally, it must be famous that by 0-60 instances alone, a Rivian R1T with the Quad-Motor setup hits 60 mph in 3.0 seconds, based on Automobile and Driver. So a Rivian would possibly be capable of do that, too.
I practically did a spit take after I learn motor outputs for the Cybertruck. The Cyberbeast model has 845 horsepower, which is one loopy boatload, but in addition, that Rivian Quad-Motor has 835. The Cyberbeast order web page then lists torque: 10,296 pound-feet. Aaaaand, my laptop computer is sort of coated in espresso.
The Rivian Quad-Motor, for context, has 908 lb-ft as its acknowledged torque determine. So, holy crap, the Cybertruck is the torqueist rattling factor this aspect of a Falcon 9! Um, no. Tesla doesn’t measure torque or no less than report torque in the identical approach as practically each different new carmaker. That is on no account an apples-to-apples scenario. They may as nicely be saying the Cybertruck produces 10,296 millicochranes of torque. It means nothing in context of the figures you’ll see elsewhere.
Effectively, one exception: The GMC Hummer EV. GM stories that it maxes out at 11,500 various torques. So, um, the Cybertruck has lower than that. Good to know.
The spare tire
As the web site says, “All-terrain tires have you ever coated in any surroundings. Convey a spare tire for while you go the place roadside help can’t.” It then exhibits an image of an unlimited tire taking on half the truck mattress. This principally simply says, “The Cybertruck doesn’t have a regular spare tire, in contrast to the Rivian, Ford Lightning and (insert title of different truck), and even in the event you go for one, it’s a critical compromise.”
That is really not a superb factor.
The vary extender
One of many surprises of the occasion was the so-called “Vary Extender” battery that ups the full vary from 320 to 470 miles. That’s a giant distinction. It’s additionally a giant battery that, once more, takes up no less than 40% of the truck mattress.
Is that such a superb factor?
Actually, that query can just about be requested over and over whereas studying concerning the Cybertruck. And whereas it. It looks like one thing that we’ll be speaking about without end, however there’s a lot we nonetheless don’t know and a lot that’s slathered in a slick movie of selling that nobody ought to get too carried away with out extra info. Sadly, I’m afraid a lot will go unanswered as so few will be capable of independently check these superb feats for themselves as is feasible with nearly each different new automobile producer.