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A timeline of Tesla Cybertruck problems, from rust to hail damage to pedal recalls

What started with a continuously delayed production timeline has now ended with a major recall. Here’s the flubs and driver-reported issues that happened in between.

A timeline of Tesla Cybertruck problems, from rust to hail damage to pedal recalls
[Source photo: Tesla]

We called it back on January 24, 2023: the Cybertruck has a serious design problem. Industry experts believe that its design is so bad that it affects the company’s ability to manufacture it, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself later admitted. So bad, in fact, that it may actually require a complete redesign or, perhaps, even a product cancellation at some point this year.

But the number of reported problems have resulted in a disastrous timeline that culminated today with the physical recall 3,878 units (which appears to be every one on the road) because of a faulty gas pedal.

So here is the definitive timeline of all Musk’s Cybermucks. Or as complete as I could make it, because I’m sure I’m missing some specific problems from some owner in the Cybertruck Owner Club forum. I’ll keep updating this list if new failures keep appearing.

NOVEMBER 21, 2019

Elon Musk unveils the Cybertruck for the first time. He claims its windows are made of ‘Armor Glass’, a bulletproof material that won’t even dent when you hit it, even at close range with a steel ball.

Seconds later, two windows break in a live demonstration.

Musk claims it will reach customers in late 2021 starting at $39,900.

AUGUST 8, 2021

Tesla announces it won’t be able to get the Cybertruck out in 2021 due to production problems. The company says it will be pushing the date to early 2022.

JANUARY 31, 2022

Once again, Musk announces that Cybertruck production is delayed again to late 2022 due to various design and manufacturing challenges.

NOVEMBER 1, 2022

Unsurprisingly, Tesla says it won’t be able to meet its late 2022 release window, pushing the release once again to the end of 2023, with “early production” in mid-2023. “We’re in the final lap for Cybertruck,” Musk says on a financial conference call.

JANUARY 24, 2023

In an interview with Fast Company, industry experts say they doubt that the Cybertruck’s design will allow the company to produce it in any significant numbers.

Adrian Clarke—a professional car designer who now writes design critiques for The Autopian—and others in the industry believe it’s having and will have lots of problems: “As soon as we saw [the Cybertruck], everyone I know in the industry started laughing. We just thought there is no way they’re gonna be able to get that into production,” he says.

Clarke believes it’s going to be extremely hard to make “those dead straight panels.”

JULY 20, 2023

The first production prototype of the Cybertruck rolls off the production line at the Giga Texas factory, and eagle-eyed auto industry experts immediately spot one major quality mishap: the front and back passenger doors don’t align.

Misalignment like this is not new to Teslas, but Elon Musk vowed to eliminate the problem back in 2021. These problems will continue in models through the entire production run.

Also, during a May 2023 shareholder meeting, Musk insisted that the Cybertruck would be built as an exoskeleton, a solid steel skin design that would act as the structure—like an arthropod have—making the car virtually indestructible. But car and manufacturing experts Cory Steuben pointed out on the famous automotive video blog Munro Live, that the Cybertruck clearly does not have an exoskeleton. According to him, the Cybertruck’s assembly line pictures clearly show a regular unibody chassis, just like the one you would find on “an old Honda Ridgeline or a Model Y,” with its flat panels just acting as your usual body.

AUGUST 24, 2023

It’s official. The Cybertrucks coming out of Tesla’s Texas factory are not good enough, according to Musk. The CEO writes a leaked internal email to Tesla employees, revealing his concerns in categorical terms: “Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb.”

DECEMBER 1, 2023

Remember the promised $39,900 starting price tag? It was wrong. The real starting point is officially announced: $60,990.

JANUARY 25, 2024

Reports of the locking differential feature being inoperational appear, displaying a “Coming Soon” message during use​ according to The Drive.

FEBRUARY 2, 2024

Tesla issues an over-the-air software update recall for 2.2 million vehicles, including the Cybertruck, due to the font size of the ABS, brake, and park indicators being too small, which could increase the risk of a collision.

FEBRUARY 22, 2024

New Cybertruck owners report rust and corrosion on the allegedly stainless-steel body of the truck, especially in vehicles exposed to rain. This was one of the biggest selling points that Musk touted when he announced the truck.

FEBRUARY 28, 2024

Multiple owners report seeing 25 critical system errors within a few days of using the truck, including warnings from the high-voltage system, “critical steering issue” system malfunctions​, and “loss of system redundancy” that alerted drivers that the “vehicle may suddenly lose electrical power, steering, and propulsion, and may be unable to apply the parking brake.”

There were also alerts for degraded adaptive drive control plus automatically disabled traction, lane departure avoidance, and stability controls. Some users also report door latches that don’t work.

MARCH 12, 2024

Add another link to Elon Musk’s long chain of broken promises: He previously announced a futuristic optional camping tent that matched the polygonal shiny looks of the car but that sleek render of the future turned out to be a sad hodgepodge of flaccid fabric in real life.

MARCH 13, 2024

The Cybertruck Owners Club forum is now flowing with multitude of reported problems. Owner “cyberstank” reports how they took delivery on March 13, “made it one mile down road, started getting steering error, flashing red screen, pulled off the side of highway. Now the truck is dead and I’m waiting for a tow truck. Dealer couldn’t do anything for me. It was great for 5 minutes. I tried everything, restarting, screen is stuck black and keeps beeping”. Their message finishes with: “Tesla really rushed these trucks out, what a nightmare.”

MARCH 26, 2024

One owner reports problems with the Cybertruck’s autopilot system: “I encountered a truck on the other side of a two-lane highway. My Cybertruck suddenly made a hard brake stop when we both had a clear wide enough space between us. Luckily there is no vehicle at the back as it would have been a definite collision.” In the same thread, others report similar problems but, to be fair, users report this happens with other Tesla models.

APRIL 1, 2024

Owners all over the internet show the effects of the Cyberguillotine: Tesla didn’t include anti-pinch sensors for the Cybertruck’s frunk, which could cause severe injuries or amputations if fingers get caught. The truck will slice the hell out of your fingers—or any body appendage—that gets too near to its closing front hood. (It happens with its doors too.)

APRIL 9, 2024

Apparently, the Cybertruck’s allegedly bullet-proof and indestructible, so-called ‘Armor Glass’ can’t stand hail, as this Redditor shows. The cost for the repair, according to the owner? “Just got an estimate of $2,326.75 via app service request.”

APRIL 15, 2024

Tesla halts all Cybertruck deliveries after owners report a problem with the accelerator pedal, which could become stuck down, due to lubricant residue causing the pedal cover to shift and become lodged in place.

APRIL 19, 2024

Tesla physically recalls all its Cybertrucks. The recall notice states: “The accelerator pedal can become stuck, sending the truck accelerating beyond control, making it a danger to everyone on the road.”

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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company. More

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