The ridiculous Tesla cybertruck

You may have seen photographs of the Tesla cybertruck. It is a hideous vehicle that looks like something in a futuristic dystopia.

It is the brainchild of Elon Musk and has had to be recalled because of a dangerous problem.

Tesla recalled all Cybertrucks Friday after federal safety regulators contacted the company over malfunctions with the vehicle’s accelerator pedal. New Cybertruck orders have been reportedly cancelled or stalled. The news follows numerous reports of embarrassing Cybertruck failures.

Cybertruck owners reported that their vehicles were at risk of getting stuck driving at full speed due to a loose accelerator pedal. Video showed the pedal itself falling off and the piece beneath wedging itself into the car’s interior, which would force the vehicle into maximum acceleration. One driver was able to save himself from a crash by holding down the brake pedal.

The Cybertruck, which has long been a pet project for Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO, began deliveries in late 2023 after years of delay due to production problems and battery-supply constraints. Since then, numerous failures in the vehicle’s design and function have ranged from embarrassing to outright dangerous.

The trucks – which Musk once claimed would be the “best off-road vehicle” – have been shown getting stuck in sand, snow and dirt, with one towed away by a Ford truck. Some owners have reported their new Cybertrucks have simply stopped running completely. Many have complained the truck’s stainless steel exterior rusts easily, and one owner said the windshield broke quickly in a hail storm. Musk himself claimed the car was bulletproof at its unveiling before cracking its window with a steel ball thrown by hand.

It looks like the cybertruck will not meet the EU’s safety and quality standards and so will not be sold there. Lucky Europeans! We in the US will have to deal with this monstrosity on the roads.

Here is a brutally funny review of the cybertruck, explaining why only Musk fanboys who have bought into his shtick are likely to buy this piece of trash. Astonishingly, apparently two million people have paid deposits to buy one, that will take between eight and thirteen years to be delivered to them.


  1. Holms says

    I am continually amazed there are people that think this thing looks ‘cool’. The damn thing is taking design notes from 80’s futurism, and looks like low poly cgi from a 90’s computer game. They even steal the Cyberpunk font!

  2. flex says

    Musk should have just made actual Landmaster vehicles from the movie, “Damnation Alley”.

    The novel was pretty bad, even though I like Zelazny. The movie was even worse, but the Landmaster….

    That was a great vehicle. The trinary wheel system was just brilliant!

    Too bad only one was built.

  3. Matt G says

    Let’s give Elon the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the glass is bulletproof until the bullet makes contact. This guy’s development really did stop in his early teens, didn’t it?

  4. sonofrojblake says

    The glass is absolutely bulletproof. Hold a bullet in your hand -- no matter how hard you throw it at the glass it won’t go through. What more do you want?

    It’s hardly surprising, though. It’s astonishing enough that Tesla -- a company with by industry standards about ten minutes of experience -- managed to make an electric car (a category that, to date, is still not in my judgement fit for purpose) into literally the best-selling car in the world (the model Y outsold the Rav 4 and the Corolla in 2023 -- that’s actually quite a big deal in marketing terms, on a par with Red Bull coming out of nowhere in the 90s and duking it out with Pepsi and Coke… except they got to third, not first). But that’s “just” a mainstream car. They swung for the fence trying to make a far, far more specialised piece of kit, with essentially no experience in the sector -- and failed. It’s only news because they have a CEO who’s a narcissistic arsehole for whom the electric vehicle thing is a hobby (having made his billions elsewhere).

  5. garnetstar says

    An off-topic PSA: when your accelerator is stuck down, braking usually doesn’t work so well: you’re fighting your engine.

    So, for a stuck accelerator, shift into neutral and turn off the engine. You’ll be able to brake or coast to a stop.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    @garnetstar, 7: you assume you’re in a vehicle that’s fit for purpose, not an electric vehicle. You can’t “shift into neutral and turn off the engine” if your car (a) doesn’t have a gearbox (b) doesn’t have an engine and (c) interposes a computer between you and whatever makes it go faster when it’s working -- the failure of which is the source of your problem.

  7. Matt G says

    I would suggest running a diagnostic when your Tesla is accelerating out of control. I think the sequence is Shift-Alt-Right.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    A possibly useful analogy here: driving a conventional, fit for purpose car is like flying a helicopter -- you have a direct linkage to the control surfaces, the rotor blades in the chopper, the throttle and the brakes in the car.
    Driving and electric car is like flying a drone -- there’s a computer doing the actual business of controlling what needs to be controlled (the rate of spin of the four/six/however many propellers there are to keep it stable/the amount of electricity supplied to the various motors in the car). All you’re doing is going via an interface to that computer and telling it what sort of thing you’d like it to do. When the computer conks, it’s not that you’re not in the loop any more -- it’s that there’s no longer a loop to be in.

    (Is it too soon to declare the thread won, btw? “Shift Alt Right”, just superb.)

  9. says

    I saw one the other day and I had no idea what kind of vehicle it was. I had no idea how to do a search. Now I know what it was.

  10. flex says

    @sonofrojblake, #6,

    I know Tesla was the best-selling car in the world in 2023, but as usual the devil is the details.

    First, in the US it was not. IIRC, it was 5th, maybe 6th, in terms of vehicle sales. But 2nd in terms of car sales. The Ford F150 outsold every other personal vehicle in the US by a wide margin. Saying car sales is different than personal vehicle sales, which includes pick-up trucks. To give some perspective on the difference, the combined sale of Model 3 and Model Y Tesla appears to be about 800,000, which is about the number of Ford F150 sold. So, you are comparing the total sales from one company with the one model from one of the big three. If you compared total company volume of vehicles sold (e.g. Tesla vs. GM), Tesla wouldn’t rank all that high. Tesla makes 3 models, most major car companies have at least a dozen. That doesn’t mean Tesla can’t compete, or isn’t a good company, but there are multiple ways to make comparisons. Model sales volume is one of many.

    In Europe it was the best selling vehicle, but there were probably a couple factors beyond Tesla’s performance which contributed to it. First, Tesla cut their prices tremendously. Second, Toyota had to close the factory in St. Petersburg in late 2022 which was the primary builder of European RAV4 hybrids. Toyota did their best to keep the supply of RAV4’s into Europe going, but they did take a significant hit on available volume in 2023. The two factors, the drop in price on the Tesla and the limitation on volume on the RAV4 probably contributed to the Tesla 2023 European sales.

    Next, there have been two other factors which have boosted Tesla 2023 volumes. First, it is aggressively marketed in China and is one of the top selling EV vehicles in a country which is creating great incentives to purchase an EV. Second, the 2021 deal with Hertz to purchase 100,000 Tesla’s for their rental fleet. I can’t find good numbers, but it looks like Tesla delivered about 30,000 vehicles to Hertz in 2023. Hertz is now going to sell about 20,000 of their Tesla’s for about 50% of what they paid for them, or less, as the demand for Tesla’s as rental vehicles is lower than they thought. The contract ends (I think), in 2024, which means that in 2025 Tesla will lose about 25,000 in sales in that year.

    As for China, there are some startups in China which are already stealing Tesla’s market share. I don’t know if Tesla has peaked in China, but I would not be surprised if in an a year or two Tesla’s China numbers start slipping. The current recession in China is only going to encourage more Chinese to purchase from manufacturers in China. That’s going to be touted, and believed, as being patriotic.

    Finally, let’s talk a moment about the Model 3 and Model Y price reduction. It is very possible that Musk is not making any money on those sales. I hope that his business is breaking even, i.e. that the cost of materials, labor, and overhead is covered by the selling price of the car. But it’s got to be close, at most in the 5% range. Now Musk doesn’t need the money, and maybe he talked his creditors into living with a low ROI (or told them they had to) in order to get more market share. So there is no reason that I know of that Tesla couldn’t keep the profit margin low indefinitely. Unless he is actually selling the vehicles below cost. He can do that for awhile, but that will burn through money pretty quickly. Automotive manufacturing is a very capital intensive business.

    So yes, Tesla had one of their models be the number one seller in 2023. Some of the reasons Tesla reached that point was due to circumstances beyond their control. Like Russia invading Ukraine and halting the factory which built the most RAV4 models for the European market. Some reasons were due to things Tesla did, like dropping their prices dramatically.

    I’m not saying that Tesla will not have the number one selling model in the world in 2024, but there are factors which may push it off that spot. I’ll wait and see about 2024.

  11. sonofrojblake says


    I know Tesla was the best-selling car in the world in 2023, but as usual the devil is the details.
    First, in the US it was not

    It wasn’t the best selling car in the world in the US? I mean, American exceptionalism is one thing, but reality being just different there is another. It fucking WAS the best selling car in the world in the US, because the US is in the world. What a weird thing to say.

    Saying car sales is different than personal vehicle sales

    It’s different than sales of phones, or forks, or underpants too. I’m sure if you were as desperate as you appear to shit on Tesla you could come up with any number of unrelated, irrelevant products that sold more units than the Model Y. Lego probably sold more cars than Tesla in 2023, why not point that out?

    If you compared total company volume of vehicles sold (e.g. Tesla vs. GM), Tesla wouldn’t rank all that high.

    But you seem to have missed the point, which is that a company that 13 years ago was a niche manufacturer just managing to turn out a few basically handbuilt battery-powered go-karts for the rich has, since then, reached a point where they make the best selling car in the world. You might want to consider why you’re so upset by that fact.

    demand for Tesla’s as rental vehicles is lower than [Hertz] thought

    I can’t help laughing at this. I honestly would have thought that the people at the top of Hertz would have recognised, as I have (and as very obviously their customer base has) that Teslas, and electric vehicles generally, are not fit for purpose. Yet it seems they had to drink the Kool Aid and see the sales figures to have it shown to them, rather than being able to spot it for themselves. I’m encouraged that the public have voted with their wallets.

    I don’t know if Tesla has peaked in China. Personally, based on relatively little research, I think they’ve peaked worldwide. They have never lived up to the hype, and until battery technology changes drastically, they never will. I shall shortly be buying another car, possibly two, and nothing on earth would convince me that I should buy electric -- and believe me, I *want* to. I just can’t afford the massively increased insurance costs (if your insurance company will even touch an EV, which several in the UK no longer will), don’t want to risk having my car written off for some minor scratch or relatively minor ding, and certainly don’t want to find myself driving something that doesn’t work in the cold, with diminishing range and basically no second-hand value. I do have friends who like their EVs… but they’re the ones who never drive more than 20 miles from their house. If that’s you, they’re mostly good if you can afford the insurance. If not… stick to ICE for as long as the government will let you.

  12. flex says

    @14, sonofrojblake,

    I’m sorry that you think I’m shitting on Tesla. Honestly, they have outperformed my expectations, but my expectations were certainly somewhat formed by DeLorean. So my expectations were low to begin with, and to be fair, Tesla has exceeded them. For the Model 3 and the Model Y, Tesla had some good engineers who knew the automotive industry to help create a vehicle which would be functional. I think they overpriced them initially, and that’s kind of why I think their recent price cut might be hurting them. If the cost of the Tesla really reflected the cost + profit they wanted, cutting their prices as much as they did must have hurt. But there really are many reasons why an initial cost might have been high, e.g., they were trying to recover the initial capital investment in their sales. Maybe Musk decided to pay for that cost himself, that would lower the per vehicle overhead.

    As an engineer (well, I’m more in management now) in the automotive industry, there are some aspects of the Model 3 and Model Y which many engineers have been saying should be pursued for decades, but the established automotive manufacturers have not be interested in. They are now. Tesla has forced them to take notice. However, nothing in the Tesla Model 3 or Model Y is really revolutionary from an engineering standpoint. The Tesla hype around driver assist systems has been unbelievable, and I think could be actionable, but the actual performance of their systems is well in line with known engineering. Which is understandable as Tesla hired a lot of automotive engineers from established automotive manufacturers.

    The cybertruck is a completely different beast. On the development for that vehicle, apparently, Musk had a personal design interest. And it shows. That vehicle is a collection of bad ideas. It’s a vehicle designed by someone who doesn’t know the first thing about HMI, or use cases, or even safety. The fact that the standard option is uncoated stainless steel tells me that management (i.e. Musk), doesn’t know anything about corrosion. I’m not even certain an engineer would tell him that stainless steel doesn’t mean corrosion proof. Although anyone who washes cutlery should know that. I doubt Musk washes his own cutlery.

    Then the cybertruck controls being part of a touch screen, ARGGH! I worked for a couple years in the early 2000’s on a way to integrate touch technology with HMI controls to avoid requiring the driver to take their eyes off the road. It would have been cheaper and safer than touch screens.

    I still think Tesla is going to have problems going forward, but I’m amazed at how far it’s come. The main reason I think Tesla is going to have difficulties is because of the economics of the automotive industry. The automotive industry is a capital-intensive, high-barrier-to-entry, industry. This type of industry means there is a limit of how many companies can make a profit within the industry. As more automotive companies enter the world marketplace, the difficulties in making a profit increase. This is why Chrysler has, over the past 20-some years, been sold, re-sold, merged, split, etc. It has a great brand recognition in the Jeep. But it has had a hard time staying profitable. Because of the entry of BYO and Rivian into the automotive market there will be increased pressure on all the companies. Because of the high capital expensive in the automotive industry, if a company loses market share it quickly becomes unprofitable. Which results in mergers. We saw that throughout the 1970’s. Consider AMC, who originally held the Jeep brand, which ended up merging with Chrysler. AMC was formed by a previous merger of Nash and Hudson.

    So, I’m not anti-Tesla, and I don’t intend to shit on Tesla. Tesla has impressed me by how long it has maintained a business. But I will say that at some point Tesla is likely to be sold to another automotive OEM, or go out of business, simply because the market cannot bear too many automotive manufacturers. I’m impressed by some of Tesla’s engineering, but none of it is new, or original. First to market has its benefits and drawbacks. And I don’t believe the hype.

  13. Ridana says

    7) @garnetstar: That’s true for a normal car, but as I understand it, electric cars cut the motor when you brake (part of the regenerative braking system or whatever it’s called?), but as soon as you let up on the brake, the motor kicks in again. So you can stop while your foot’s on the brake, but you need to figure out how to turn off the car before you let up on it.

    I’m sure someone else will explain it better. 😀

  14. consciousness razor says

    He was just trying out a visionary mashup of Keep On Truckin’ and cyberbullying, and it failed. Leave Britney alone.

  15. jenorafeuer says

    My take on Tesla generally is simple, was formed before I knew who Elon Musk was, and hasn’t really changed in the last few years. The automotive industry is brutal, and its history is littered with the corpses of companies that made significant improvements in cars, had a good run for a few years, and then got either undercut or bought out by the bigger entrenched companies once the existence of an actual market and available technology were successfully demonstrated.

    Tesla’s well into the later stages of that now: the big companies have moved more slowly, but their bigger engineering teams and general massive economies of scale are well on their way to eating Tesla’s lunch, especially with the way Tesla has given itself several black eyes with idiocy like the Cybertruck.

    The very fact that there is now a Ford F-150 ‘Lightning’ all-electric Ford truck is evidence of that. The Cybertruck was already only going to sell to people who wanted a truck to look ‘tough’, rather than people who actually wanted a truck to do work with it, and it has proven completely incapable of doing either of those two tasks. With something like an electric F-150 out there, even most of the people who only want trucks to show off aren’t going to be getting a Cybertruck unless they’re, as noted above, primarily just Elon fanboys.

  16. sonofrojblake says

    The Cybertruck was already only going to sell to people who wanted a truck to look ‘tough’ like something from a Playstation game circa 1998

    Fixed it for you.

    Tesla did achieve something -- they got the major car manufacturers to sit up and start making EVs *now*, rather than when the technology was actually ready and the vehicles it is possible to manufacture fit for purpose. You can tell from how I phrase it what I think about whether that’s a good or bad thing, but you can’t deny their achievement. And they did better than anyone had any right to expect actually selling cars, too -- the barrier to entry is very high, and they have cleared it. My guess would be they have ten to twenty years left, and Ford, Stellantis, Volkswagen, Honda,Toyota and the rest will barely look up when they stop.

  17. says

    The damn [cybertruck] thing is taking design notes from 80’s futurism, and looks like low poly cgi from a 90’s computer game.

    All of which, in turn, was stolen from MY crude drawings — informed by ’50s futurism — of futuristic cars from the late ’60s when I was nine! I had it all in my head FIRST, and the evil establishment built on MY WORK and never gave me any stinking credit for it!

    Also, let’s give #QElon some credit where it’s due: who else could use stainless steel in a way that somehow makes it the opposite of stainless? I’m tellin’ ya, the guy’s a magician!

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Flex @ 2
    Another Zelazny reader!
    I would rather enjoy the spectacle of a tornado picking up a cybertruck.
    And let us set the alien from ‘Eye of Cat’ on chasing Elon.
    BTW the cybercar in the 1980s TV series with The Hoff was way cooler.

  19. says

    I would rather enjoy the spectacle of a tornado picking up a cybertruck.

    What if it’s stick in sand? Would there be a tug-of-war between tornado and sand that we could bet on?

  20. says

    No matter your take, hate or love of this… There is genius in the fact that it is being discussed more than any other truck in history…

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