The Tesla Cybertruck was first revealed in concept form in 2019 and has been repeatedly delayed, and a leaked document may reveal the reason why.

    The internal report, dated January 25, 2022, first reported by Handelsblatt and later by Wired, reveals a pre-production “alpha” version of the Tesla Cybertruck was still struggling with issues surrounding its body sealing, noise levels, handling, suspension, and braking.

    On the same day as this report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he had been “driving [the] latest Cybertruck prototype around Giga Texas”, adding that “it’s awesome”.

    Braking was one of the worst areas in the leaked report, which saw the alpha version of the Cybertruck achieve a four, or “poor” rating according to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) rating scale. Tesla engineers were aiming for a seven, or “fair” rating.

    According to the leaked report, the Cybertruck’s brake pedal pressure pad wasn’t finalised, and the alpha version experienced “excessive pedal travel and inconsistent stop”, “excessive pitch during friction braking”, as well as issues when braking while turning, and power braking instability.

    The alpha version of the Cybertruck was hand-sealed, but the report revealed “there are a number of areas that we do not have a clear path to sealing” in the production vehicle.

    Sealing doesn’t just keep rain out of the vehicle, but also noise in the cabin. Data in the report showed the alpha version was much noisier than engineers had projected, with tester identifying 21 potential noise leaks in the body.

    Handling was another issue for the alpha version of the Cybertruck, with the leaked report noting “excessive mid-speed abruptness and chop”, “high head-toss accelerations”, and “structural shake”.

    There was also “excessive lateral jerk during low-speed manoeuvring”, as well as problems with steering refinement and body roll.

    The Cybertruck’s “crab walk” function apparently displayed “only basic functionality”.

    The leaked report revealed the front of the vehicle had some issues where there was “no solution without modifying suspension design”.

    Other issues included “too high camber gain”, resulting in tyre wear and alignment change with ride height. As for solutions to this problem, the report said there were “possibly none”.

    “It’s an alpha-stage vehicle, so it’s not surprising that it’s some way off its targets,” former Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told Wired, adding he was surprised at the frankness of the report.

    “You’d be giving the engineers that wrote this stuff a good bollocking. You don’t normally write this down.”

    Given this report details an early prototype from over 12 months ago and Tesla has significant financial resources, it’s quite likely many, perhaps all, of these key issues have been addressed.

    Tesla has confirmed the Cybertruck is on track for production to begin later this year, with mass production beginning during 2024.

    Mr Musk recently told investors that a “hand over” for the first deliveries is planned for the third quarter of 2023.

    It’s expected the brand will confirm final pricing and specifications closer to that date.

    MORE: Everything Tesla Cybertruck

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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