Tesla Cybertruck Charging Performance Will Get a Much-Needed Boost With Upcoming Update

Tesla Cybertruck at a Supercharger station 6 photos
Photo: Tesla
Tesla Cybertruck charged at 800 voltsTesla Cybertruck charged at 800 voltsTesla Cybertruck charged at 800 voltsTesla Cybertruck charged at 800 voltsTesla Cybertruck charged at 800 volts
Tesla Cybertruck has impressive technologies that wowed engineers and fans but also suffered from teething problems that annoyed many owners. Among the most criticized has been the Cybertruck's charging performance, which makes the electric pickup a poor choice for longer road trips. Now, Tesla promised a fix is coming by the end of the month with an over-the-air software update.
Many people have been disappointed by the Cybertruck's shortcomings. Compared to what Tesla promised in 2019, the trucks delivered in 2023 looked like a joke. Among the biggest blunders was the limited range, which fell short of the initial specification even when boosted by an unwieldy range extender. However, those who considered themselves lucky enough to have taken delivery of a Cybertruck complained about other issues.

Some were common "teething problems" affecting many new car models, such as poor build quality or software mishaps. Others, like the lack of driver assistance systems or the limited range, were just Tesla overpromising and underdelivering. However, people soon discovered that the Cybertruck was also a letdown because it was much slower to charge than other vehicles. And I mean not only other Tesla models but also other electric pickup trucks with similar or bigger battery capacity.

Much of the blame has been put on the mediocre performance of Tesla's 4680 cells. Instead of the breakthrough Tesla announced in 2021 during Battery Day, the bigger cells proved difficult to manufacture and inferior to the 2170 cells produced by Panasonic. They had lower energy density and charged slower, the opposite of what Tesla promised. This also made the Cybertruck perform poorly, and people hated especially the lackluster charging performance.

Some believe that the Cybertruck will shine when Tesla will offer 800-volt Superchargers. This would unlock the full potential of the Cybertruck's 800-volt electric architecture. However, experts have contradicted this theory. They are certain that the charging performance is not limited by the chargers but by the 4680 cells and their power and thermal limitations. It could also be that Tesla software capped charging until it collected enough data to prove that faster charging is safe.

In April, Tesla's former VP of engineering, Drew Baglino, promised the EV maker would offer an over-the-air update to improve charging performance. He said the update would unlock up to 154 miles (248 km) recovered in 15 minutes of charging. Currently, the Cybertruck specifications promise 128 miles (206 km) added in 15 minutes. That would make a 20% improvement in charging performance after the software update. This should result in 90% of Cybertruck charging sessions being under 20 minutes.

Although Baglino is on his way out as Tesla's vice president, it looks like Tesla will still offer the Cybertruck the much-needed charging performance boost. Cybertruck lead engineer Wes Morrill reiterated that the software update is just around the corner and will arrive by the end of June. Until then, the update must pass internal validation before being offered to the wider public.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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