The Cybertruck Has Deal-Breaking Issues
Users are reporting horrific range and charge times.
A while ago, I smothered the Cybertruck in praise. Despite the fact it is far from the vehicle Musk promised (read more here), its range, performance and cost put it way ahead of any competition. But, the lucky few who got the first customer Cybertrucks, are now reporting some worrying figures. Far from being the range monster and rapid-charging hero we thought it was, it seems that, sadly, in the real world, the Cybertruck is a massively limited EV. But how bad is it really?
These figures come from the Cybertruck owner’s forum, where one owner has already clocked up nearly 10,000 miles on his Dual Motor Cybertruck. Around 70% of these miles were on the highway and 30% in the city, and the owner said that they don’t baby the truck, and just drive it as normal. According to the Cybertruck’s recorded data, over the course of 9,944 miles, it used 5,939 kWh of energy, giving an average efficiency of 1.7 miles per kWh. As the Cybertruck has a battery capacity of 123 kWh, that means that they were only getting 209 miles of range out of a charge! And that is if you drain the battery to zero, which you never do. This is far lower than the 340 miles of range Tesla stated the Cybertruck Dual Motor would have.
Now, the manufacturer’s stated range is almost always over-optimistic, but not by this much! Take the standard Model 3 with its 318 miles of range, according to Tesla and the WLTP cycle test. In the real world, it averages more like 260 miles, or 18% less than expected. In comparison, this Cybertruck’s real-world range is 38% lower than claimed by Tesla!
But it doesn’t end there, as this owner also reported horrific charging times.
While the Cybertruck doesn’t have the 1MW charging Musk once promised it would have, it can still charge at up to 350 kW, giving it a 10% to 80% charge time of just 27 minutes. That might sound good, but the severely reduced range means that even in this situation, the Cybertruck is only charging at a rate of 325 miles of added range per hour of charging. For comparison, the base Model 3, which only charges at a rate of 170 kW, adds 404 miles of range per hour of charging (using real-world range). Some of Hyundai and Kia’s recent cars can even hit a charging speed of 630 miles of added range per hour of charging (again, using a real-world range). So, the Cybertruck is already a slow-charging EV even in optimum conditions.
Yet, it gets worse. These owners only had access to Tesla’s V3 chargers, which top out at 250 kW. As such, they reported that the 10% to 80% charge time was over an hour. That’s double the time Tesla claimed or roughly a charge rate of only 162 miles of added range per hour of charging! That’s about the same rate as the super cheap Nissan Leaf or the BYD Dolphin. Not ideal for a $80,000+ luxury EV.
Now, Tesla’s V4 chargers are reportedly capable of 350 kW of power and unlocking the Cybertruck’s higher charge rates. However, some reports say they are actually limited to 250 kW like the V3, but unlike the V3, both cars charging from it can draw 250 kW at the same time. There are also very few of these chargers out there, and the roll-out is incredibly slow. So, in the real world, the Cybertruck is utterly impractical to charge on the go.
This can’t get any worse, right? Wrong!
You see, the Cybertruck’s main rival, the Rivian R1T, has no such problems.
The R1T Dual Motor Max Pack is the most similar spec to the Cybertruck Dual Motor. It costs a little more than the Tesla at $89,000, but most Cybertruck customers are paying way above the MSRP to get their hands on the truck, so the price is likely close to what some Cybertruck Dual Motor customers are paying. The manufacturer’s stated range is already higher than the Cybertruck, at 410 miles, but so is the real-world reported range by customers. One customer extrapolated data from driving on a dry, flat highway with zero wind at 77 mph and came to a real-world range of 355 miles, and many other customers reported similar real-world ranges. So the Rivian can do 146 more miles per charge than the Tesla!
But the charging is better too. One Rivian R1T Dual Motor Max Pack owner recorded the truck taking just 48 minutes to charge from 6% to 80% using a Rivian 300 kW charger. According to the owner, this equated to an additional range of 295 miles. This means that the Rivian can charge at speeds of 368 miles of added charge per hour charging, which is significantly faster than the Cybertruck in perfect conditions. But don’t forget, this charging situation is more similar to the V3 charging scenario of the Cybertruck than the claimed V4. As such, in the real world (at least until the V4 is more widely rolled out), the Rivian charges far quicker.
The gap between the two grows even more when you consider waiting lists. You can get a Rivian within a month or two of ordering, but if you place a Cybertruck order now, you won’t likely get it for at least another year, possibly even two.
So, why would you choose the Cybertruck over the Rivian? Maybe because the rugged stainless-steel body makes it more reliable. However, Teslas are some of the least reliable cars on the road, even worse than the infamously poorly built Land Rovers in some surveys; this isn’t because the vehicles aren’t rugged enough, but because the batteries and electronics in their cars fail regularly. As Cybertruck uses many of the same electronic components as other Teslas, it likely won’t be that reliable at all, despite the rugged design. Rivian is far from a reliable brand, but in the real world, it is likely to be far more reliable than a Cybertruck.
With all of this in mind, would you still get a Cybertruck? If you would, that’s great! I hope you enjoy it. But for many, these severe issues are complete dealbreakers.
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