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Tesla Cybertruck Shows Questionable Off-Road Abilities, Gets Rescued by Ford Super Duty

A Ford Super Duty came to the rescue when this Tesla test mule took a trip off the beaten path.
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The Tesla Cybertruck’s off-road capability has been in question since a pre-production model was filmed struggling to surmount an obstacle—one the Ford F-150 Lightning easily conquered. Now, the Cybertruck’s chops once again come into doubt after a prototype got stuck on a snowy hill in an apparent attempt to retrieve a Christmas tree.

Shared on Instagram, the video was allegedly taken on the Corral Hollow OHV Trail outside Bear Valley, California (east of Sacramento). The video depicts a pre-production Cybertruck stranded off-trail in the snow, struggling to get up the hill even with the aid of a Ford Super Duty recovery vehicle. The Tesla appears to have gotten there as part of off-road testing, as other pre-production trucks were filmed traveling a trail together around the same time.

In the video, the Tesla’s driver tries to drive up a snowy slope after leaving the trail—whether the truck is there by accident or on purpose is unclear. There are no tire tracks leaving the trail, and for some reason, there’s a pine tree in the bed.

Like in the previously circulated video, the Cybertruck struggles for traction, digging ruts instead of achieving forward motion. This supports the suspicion that its traction management software isn’t up to scratch yet, or even at the standard the Rivian R1T‘s was when it launched. There are traction boards visible in the frame, but for reasons unclear, they’re not used.

There’s more at play than under-developed software, though. Snow on the ground is an X-factor that can confound even great off-roaders with the right tires. Those tires don’t appear to be aired down either, and while it’s unclear what rubber is used, the trucks feature wheels that either forego the production model’s covers or are entirely different. In any case, it’s obvious we aren’t seeing the Cybertruck at its best, and that whoever’s at the wheel can’t magically make it work. Judgment must still be withheld.

Still, there’s additional evidence of shortcomings off-road stemming from its unusual design. One of the recovery crew said in the comments that the truck lacked recovery anchors, and that the recovery rope was attached to the suspension arms. Tesla fans believe they previously identified recovery points behind the front fascia, though the fact that these loops aren’t used suggests either that’s not the case or that the recovery anchors were unusable.

This raises a further question: Where do you mount a winch? They’re not strictly necessary, as hand winches exist, but they’re sorta antithetical to the Cybertruck. Plus, they’re more useful for a kind of off-roading that a stock Cybertruck won’t be well-suited to. Or for that matter, a lighter off-roader than this nearly 7,000-pound Tesla.

Between the Tesla Cybertruck’s continued off-road testing and its unimpressive performance in this video, it seems the off-road functions for the truck weren’t complete as of release. This would be supported by the undisclosed inclusion of a wading function, which you’d think Elon Musk would boast about if it were any good.

Then again, Musk said the Cybertruck would float, not wade, so it wouldn’t exactly live up to the expectations he himself set. And depending on how you see things, that might be the biggest problem of all with the Tesla Cybertruck.

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