Tesla Writes Off-Roading For Dummies Book For Cybertruck Owners

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A few weeks ago, some new Cybertruck owners who had no truck experience managed to make fools of themselves. While there are experienced off-road drivers who now have a moving doorstop in the driveway, some buyers did things like post pictures of a Cybertruck going slow on a relatively mild dirt road while saying “Watch out Jeep, the future coming through.”

For readers not understanding why the guy has been roundly mocked for the video, I’ll go ahead and explain it. In short, this isn’t off-roading at all. People regularly drive low-clearance sedans on forest roads like this one, especially when the ground is dry. There’s nothing wrong at all with going on these roads to go camping, see scenic vistas, and otherwise have a little fun out in nature.

I personally like taking my front-drive Chevy Bolt EUV on roads like this one, and others that are more challenging. With some care and strategic choice of line, you can do a lot more with a 2WD low-clearance vehicle than many people know. With a mild tire upgrade to increase grip and resilience to rocks, a stock 2WD vehicle can do even more.

But, when I get a chance to take a serious off-road vehicle like a Jeep or a Bronco out, I’ll do things like my brother did in his electric Bronco in this video:

When you compare driving slowly on a forest road to real off-roading, it becomes pretty clear that Jeep’s people aren’t losing any sleep over the former. If anything, it shows Jeep that many Tesla buyers are in a completely different target market, while also giving anti-EV jerks the opportunity to paint the whole community with the urban nerd brush because whether we want to be or not, we all represent the EV community.

The Truck Isn’t The Problem Here

Now, to be perfectly clear, I’m not bashing the Cybertruck itself. As Tesla and others I’m friends with have proven, the truck can be quite capable when driven by someone who knows crap from apple butter. Here’s a great example:

Here’s another great example from Top Gear, with rock crawling, jumping, and sand:

So, the problem isn’t the truck. It’s that some of the owners need to learn a lot more about off-roading, both so they can know whether they’re really doing it and so that they can be safe and have more fun if they choose to go for some real adventure beyond the kind of sight-seeing I do in my Bolt.

Tesla’s Cybertruck Off Road Guide Should Help With This

The good news is that Tesla is working on educating the less-informed among us, starting with a Cybertruck Off-Road Guide! So, when we see people making rookie mistakes or making dumb claims, we can send them straight to Tesla to learn and grow instead of just making fun of them.

The book starts out giving new or prospective owners some information about the truck’s capabilities. Things like four-wheel steering, steer-by-wire, EV torque, the suspension, and lockers all get discussed. For those of us who know what all this stuff is, it may seem like very basic information. But, for someone who’s going to off-road for the first time in a Cybertruck, this is basic information that they need to learn about if they’re going to be able to learn more advanced things.

Next, the guide explains some things that people need to watch out for. Tire pressures, motor and battery temperatures, locker controls, and roll/pitch are all vital information to keep people from damaging the truck or getting into trouble. For the next several pages, it gives people of all skill levels information on where they can find different controls in different off-roading modes, like Overland and Baja.

Next, the guide gives people some basic safety information. Best practices, like paying attention, braking gradually, keeping both hands on the wheel, and going out to check on terrain before trying to drive over it are all given. A checklist recommends planning, preparing, distributing loads, securing people and cargo, having adequate charge, airing down, and removing wheel covers and fairings.

One very important thing the guide recommends is using a spotter on the most difficult spots. Rules for this are explained, and what you should expect a spotter to do is explained. Another important thing the guide explains later is what to do if we get stuck.

Next, the guide goes through all of the modes the vehicle can be put in, and how to use them on different kinds of terrain. Overland mode, wade mode, Baja mode, climbing mode, and more are covered. Accessories and their potential impacts are also explained. It’s also good to see the book mentioning lessening one’s impact on nature by staying on trails!

It’s A Good Start

The guide is a great place for both experienced ICE off-roaders and EV people new to off-roading to get a start. The mix of basic information combined with information experienced off-roaders need to know (especially to watch out for high temperatures) makes this a valuable guide.

Sadly, there are many Tesla fans who won’t trust information from other sources. Without something from an official Tesla source, this kind of overzealous but ignorant fan likely didn’t know what they didn’t know, and thus didn’t know what they needed to learn. This guide is good for that kind of person, too, because they’ll figure out that general off-road knowledge many of us grew up with is going to take some learning and practice.

That having been said, if you aren’t experienced with off-roading, this guide is only a jumping off point for further knowledge. After reading it, new off-road drivers should seriously consider seeking more information from local off-road clubs (who would be thrilled to teach you), YouTube videos, and some of the better off-roading publications.

Finally, stay humble. Even the most experienced off-roaders (that’s NOT me, unfortunately) are always learning new things, so there’s no shame in seeking that information out and being a life long learner. Don’t be afraid to both learn new things and un-learn bad habits when you learn better ones!

Featured image: a screenshot from the Tesla Cybertruck Off-Road Guide (Fair Use).


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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1984 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba