The Tesla Cybertruck is shaping up to be an extremely capable off-roading vehicle. To drive this point home, after strapping on a SpaceX Starlink mobile terminal, Tesla has taken 2 release candidate Cybertrucks on a 1280-mile off-road test across the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.
In a livestream commemorating reaching the finish line of the arduous journey, Tesla engineers said that the 2 Cybertruck prototypes, with a graffiti paint job and SpaceX Starlink mobile receivers, were able to finish the trip without any major issues.
In addition, Elon Musk and Tesla executives have confirmed that the Cybertruck will have the highest ground clearance of any vehicle and that the truck will come standard with a brand new air suspension with industry-leading 14 inches of travel.
This means the Cybertruck can be raised and lowered 14 inches between its highest and lowest suspension settings. In contrast, the Rivian R1T, which is currently the off-road champion amongst all-electric vehicles, “only” has 6.5 inches of suspension travel and 14.4 inches of ground clearance.
On paper, this gives the Cybertruck a clear advantage over the Rivian, and that’s without even counting the Cybertruck’s stainless steel exoskeleton which should give the Tesla vehicle the extra toughness when facing challenging environments.
However, these are just numbers, and in order to truly get a sense of how the vehicles perform in a real-world situation, we’ve to bring the two trucks together for an off-road test.
Lucky for us, this is exactly what one Rivian R1T owner did over the weekend. Given the fact that Tesla has not started customer deliveries of the Cybertruck, it is obviously difficult to get the vehicle for a one-on-one comparison.
However, Tesla engineers have been taking release candidate Cybertruck prototypes to some of the most famous off-roading trails in the US. A recent impressive demonstration of the Cybertruck's off-roading capabilities took place at the Hollister Hills Stair Steps incline.
First 8K Walk Around Video of a White Interior @Tesla Cybertruck Showcases Sub-10-Micron Level Impeccable Build Quality. @elonmusk#teslahttps://t.co/YxjfxT9Okx
— Torque News (@torquenewsauto) November 11, 2023
The Stair Step is a particular patch of off-road in the Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area in California. The Stair Step combines a steep incline with a slippery surface to push a vehicle’s off-roading capabilities to its limits.
In the video posted last week of the Cybertruck attempting to climb the Stair Step, you can see the vehicle make it to the top without too much struggle. Having said that, off-roading experts have also pointed out that the vehicle's suspension appeared too stiff, the wheels spun too often, and that other off-road vehicles have been able to climb the stairs with less struggle.
Depending on who you ask, the Cybertruck’s performance at Hollister Hills ranged from a smashing success to utter failure. However, in my opinion, the Cybertruck did really well with some room left for fine tuning.
But, what better way is there to assess the Cybertruck’s performance climbing up the stairs than to pit it against the all-electric off-roading leader Rivian R1T? In a video posted on X by omg_Tesla/Rivian, you can see a forest-green Rivian R1T attempting the same feat at Hollister Hills.
The Rivian is able to complete the climb up the Stair Step. Similar to the Cybertruck both vehicles experience a wheel slip here and there however, if we are splitting hairs, it appears that the Rivian was able to climb the off-road challenge with a bit more ease than the Cybertruck.
This is especially true at the start of the Stair Step where the Cybertruck is seen struggling quite a bit before the truck is able to get going.
Based on this one instance, it could be suggested that the Rivian is a better off-roading vehicle than the Cybertruck. However, there could be several factors that helped the Rivian come out ahead.
These factors include the air pressure in the tires, suspension setting, driver experience, weather, and so on. Add to this the fact that the Cybertruck is still in its early development phase and that Tesla is still calibrating the Cbyertruck’s throttle response and electric motors, it’s still too early to crown a winner.
Having said that, it’s still exciting to see the two vehicles going up against each other in an off-roading setup. Undoubtedly, this is the first of many comparisons that will take place between the Cybertruck and the Rivian R1T and we’ll be sure to keep you posted as we get the results of the future tests.
Until then, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Do you think the Rivian was able to outperform the Tesla Cybertruck? What do you think this means for the Cybertruck once it starts customer deliveries? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Image: Courtesy of omg_Tesla/Rivian
Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.