All these design flaws make Tesla's Cybertruck sound even more terrifying

Tesla Cybertruck
(Image credit: Tesla)

The Tesla Cybertruck seems to be forever getting pushed back. The company began taking orders back in November 2019, but three-and-half years later, those early customers still don't know when they can expect to receive their dystopian sci-fi pickup (or how much they'll have to pay for it).

A leaked internal presentation may explain at least part of the reason for the delays, revealing problems with braking, handling, noise and leaks. All in all, a lot of problems. But perhaps that shouldn't surprise us for a vehicle whose 'unbreakable' windows cracked on stage it was first revealed to the public (it's been messy – like some of these car logo rebrands).

Tesla Cybertruck

Heavy metal? Even the Cybertruck logo is scary (Image credit: Tesla)

"There's room for improvement," Musk joked when the Cybertruck prototype's windows cracked on two attempts to demonstrate their indestructibility during the vehicle's launch. Now in mid-2023, it seems that phrase might still apply. Internal documents leaked to the German business newspaper Handelsblatt reveal a list of basic engineering problems that could explain why the vehicle is taking so long, and which make the dystopian-looking vehicle sound even scarier. 

Those sharp angles and stainless steel alloy construction may look futuristic, but it seems they're presenting challenges. Only a year after launch, Musk revealed that the Cybertruck would have to be redesigned to make it road legal. Now it's been revealed that a January 2022 presentation highlighted leaks and excessive noise due to sealing problems as well as poor handling and braking.

Engineers were apparently struggling to find a way to seal the truck against water – something that's been an issue in standard Teslas – and against noise, identifying 21 potential noise leaks. As for the brakes, the report notes excessive pedal travel, inconsistent power brake assistance and excessive pitch. Meanwhile, the truck's handling was suffering from “excessive mid-speed abruptness and chop” and “structural shake.”

It's notable that the problems all stem from the 'truck' part rather than the 'cyber' part. They were identified when measuring performance against internal benchmarks and CAD-based projections. An automotive engineer, speaking anonymously to Wired for fear of reprisals, said the flaws were “classic mechanical automotive engineering challenges that you have in pretty much any vehicle. I'm blown away that they would be struggling so much with the basics.” 

A photo of Tesla's Cybertruck.

Tesla's original vision of the Cybertruck (Image credit: Tesla)

Others noted that the chassis and braking system is normally one of the first things engineers work on. And it appears some of the problems were so severe as to have no solution without modifying the design of the vehicle. Alongside a listed problem of “too high camber gain,” the entry in the 'solutions' column reads “possibly none.”

Some commentators have noted that while some of these issues could be expected, they're surprised at how far back in the design process the vehicle still was in January 2022, even if the Covid-19 pandemic did inevitably delay the intended 2021 release. It may be that with Tesla still struggling to meet sales targets on its regular cars, it doesn't see a niche vehicle like the Cybertruck to be top of the list of priorities, but the delay gives brands like Chevrolet, GMC and Rivian a chance to get ahead in the market.

Another concern is that if the Cybertruck's unconventional shape and materials are making it hard to design and produce, it's probably going to be hard to repair too. Musk most recently said the Cybertruck release date will now probably be in 2024. As for the price, it was initially estimated that it would start at under $40,000, but that's since been removed from the Tesla website. All Musk has said about that is that the price has changed. 

Can't wait (or pay)? Take a look at what other vehicles would look like redesigned in the style of the Tesla Cybertruck. Or perhaps you fancy a Tesla toilet?

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.