The Hollister Hills adventure caused a lot of talks on social media, as the Cybertruck struggled to climb what appears to be a low-difficulty climb. To be fair, this is nothing but, with the "stairs" made mostly from cement. This makes them slippery, putting traction, suspension, and driver assistance systems to the test. The reaction to the videos people shared on social media didn't make Tesla proud. The testing team later asked people to refrain from posting videos of the Cybertruck off-roading in the Tahoe forest.
Since we only have videos of the Hollister Hills performance and don't know what Tesla engineers were trying to test, it's hard to assess the Cybertruck. What we see in the videos is that the Cybertruck stops repeatedly during the climb, something that off-road veterans say is not how you climb. This makes sense only if the testers wanted to test specifically the traction control systems in this low-grip scenario.
If that's the case, the Cybertruck failed the tests because, halfway up the stairs, you see the rear wheels spinning, dragging the rear axle off-course. At the same time, the front wheels were doing nothing to help their buddies on the rear axle. It's clear that Tesla engineers must go back to square one with the traction system because having a massive ground clearance is not enough when climbing.
After watching the video, one Rivian R1T owner decided to re-do the climb in his truck. He also recorded the climb from the same angles Cybertruck was filmed. It doesn't take a lot of off-road experience to realize that the Rivian was much better than the Cybertruck. The R1T graciously climbs the stairs as if they weren't there. The driver, who identifies as omg_Tesla/Rivian (@omg_tesla) on X (formerly Twitter), stopped repeatedly exactly as the Cybertruck did.
It's unclear whether the tires played a significant role in this demonstration, as both trucks appear to feature all-terrain tires. Besides the traction control, other factors could hinder the Cybertruck's off-road performance. The body rigidity is one of them, as the Cybertruck appears to "bounce" on the bumps while the Rivian "stretches" better to keep all wheels on the ground.
The all-wheel steering system of the Cybertruck could also pose problems during climbing. Tesla should consider an off-road mode where the rear wheels remain fixed, maximizing the contact surface. We also don't know whether the Cybertruck was a dual-motor or a three-motor configuration, whereas the Rivian R1T was Quad-Motor, another factor that helped it during the climb. In Cybertruck's defense, few people will take it off-road, so, in this case, we should refrain from judging a fish for its ability to climb trees.
Stair Step is made from mostly cement. They made it to be a low traction surface and offsetting the steps making the vehicle climb and flex or articulate its suspension. As more vehicles drive up, they leave behind trails of dirt making it more slippery. pic.twitter.com/uuRpzjx6H5— omg_Tesla/Rivian (@omg_tesla) November 13, 2023