We hit the Tesla Cybertruck with sledgehammers

Cameron Neveu

Check out our brand-new film on the Tesla Cybertruck in the latest installment of “Jason Cammisa on the ICONS,” which you can watch right now on the Hagerty YouTube channel.


If being visionary means having the power to peer into and understand the future, how do we define the ability to create the future? Is that not much rarer? Doesn’t it demand a boldness that verges on being preposterous, a willfulness that balks at the conventions that block so many others? Can it take the form of … an unpainted pickup truck?

What about an electric, 800-horsepower tri-motor four-wheeled Frigidaire that completes the quarter-mile in 11 seconds flat and can outrun a go-kart… on a go-kart track?

We just spent two days at Sonoma Raceway filming, drag racing, and whacking the Tesla Cybertruck with sledgehammers in vain attempts to dent its “HFS” exoskeleton. (It was a riot.) HFS, by the way, is short for Tesla’s immature-but-accurate name for the in-house alloy developed for the Cybertruck: Hard F*cking Steel. That it seems a fitting but clunky moniker for an aspiring adult actor is pretty in line with Musk’s brand of humor. But we digress.

This truck doesn’t need crude jokes to get noticed. Even at California’s Sonoma Raceway, a place regularly populated with high-end racing cars (more than a few scenes had to be reshot thanks to the sporadic background yawps of a hotlapping Fly Yellow GT3 Ferrari) the Tesla slab was a gravity well of attention. Every single soul who caught a glimpse wanted another. And they all had something to say: “What in the Cyberf*** am I looking at?“ “That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” “That’s hideous. May I please test if it’s bulletproof?”

Hagerty video host Jason Cammisa summed it up best: “[The Cybertruck] is going to become a polarizing status symbol parked in the driveway of every Lamborghini owner as their ‘suburban assault’ daily driver, but very much like a Lamborghini, there’s real genuine substance baked in … And the sad part is, you’ve already made up your mind about the Cybertruck based on the way it looks. So did I, so did everyone else. But that’s not fair to this thing.”


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He’s right. Beneath the controversially curveless skin lies the truly interesting bits. For starters, the Cybertruck features a “steer-by-wire” system wherein there is no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels. Instead, a group of sensors interpret it all for the driver, changing the steering ratio depending on the environment. This technology isn’t new, but Tesla’s use of it here feels dramatic, and there’s no physical failsafe as there was in the decade-old Infiniti Q50. While hauling down the highway at 80 mph, the ratio is high; while navigating a tight parking garage causes the ratio to drop so you’re not rotating the wheel around like you’re driving a dump truck. In other words, the Cybertruck’s four-wheel steering system is bolstered by a variable steering ratio for greater adaptability. That’s not just a party trick, like the Tesla whoopie cushion gag that makes a fart noise when you sit down, that’s a very practical piece of tech. The Cybertruck uses proprietary batteries that are both more efficient for vehicular power and manufacturing. The batteries feed a 48-volt electric architecture.

Cybertruck Randy Pobst sledge hammering refrigerator metal
Cameron Neveu

And that bodywork that we had so much fun slamming with our sledgehammers? It’s not just a fun way to show off your Mars-mobile to your idiot friends—it translates into a structure that’s so tough that Tesla doesn’t need to put crash bars in the doors. If you want to see what that looks like in a crash test, pay special attention to that part of our Cybertruck film, which goes into much more technical detail on the aforementioned gizmos.

Cybertruck side pan action drag strip
Cameron Neveu

Time will reveal whether the Cybertruck heralds our driving future, or if it merely becomes one of many alternate realities that atrophied in ours. What’s certain, though, is that it’s unlike any other new vehicle. And even the people firmly opposed to its existence must admit that this truck is fascinating. In a time when we’re seeing a massive paradigm shift in the way we think about personal transportation, yet only see a handful of cars and trucks that seem to be doing more than trend-chasing, we say “the more the merrier.”

Backing up a provocative design like the Cybertruck with genuine innovation is how seemingly farcical visions become visionary realities, and this thing falls squarely (or is it rectangularly?) in the latter category.




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    This vehicle will just become a sub note in Tesla history. It will rest with doors on the SUV that did not really work well or were needed.

    The Shocking styling has worn off due to the time it has taken to come to market. The stainless will prove to be a pain like it was on the Delorean. Anyone with stainless in the kitchen know the trials and tribulations of finger prints. Yes you can hit it with a hammer but don’t touch it with your hand.

    I really wonder if Tesla had really constructed a truck to where it was more affordable and practical what they could have done. Right now this thing will not be remembered for the right things.

    I agree with some of your comments but as a Delorean owner, I will tell you that despite the fingerprints and other challenges of a non-conformist vehicle, the fun and pride in owning something unique, outweighs the negative. I don’t know if Cybertruck as a daily driver would be the case for me, but would love it is a second vehicle. I think it could be successful despite the late delivery and other hurdles. Not sure if the look with wear off. Deloreans still stun people 40 years later.

    Between the fit quality and lack of styling it is not really a work of lasting art. It held shock value at first but that is over. The Delorean at least was styled well.

    This truck in the long run will not do all that well. For the average buyer and at a lower price point they will need more sales than they will see.

    Add on top the EV factor that is worse than an under powered v6.

    In the end this will be a historic novelty car that will have a cult of followers.

    It’s an interesting vehicle with a hideous exterior to me. Looks like what a kid designed on MS Paint. It will sell to well to do foolish suburbanites who want to be noticed. This could be more appealing without the goofy styling. I wonder how long it will take to see one in or near my neighborhood as we have Plenty of Tesla Model Y’s, a Rivian or two and a Lucid.

    No room to haul anything. Not much ground clearance (relatively speaking). Towing? Not sure, but don’t count on it. The steering may be an interesting development, if it works reliably, which has not been Tesla’s strength. If it doesn’t, can it be dangerous? This thing its best left in the garage. A VERY dark garage.

    “if it works reliably, which has not been Teslas strength” …

    Marc, where do you get the thought that Teslas are not reliable? I ask, as that is simply not a true statement.

    My son and I drove his Tesla on Alpha Romeo‘s national rally in Colorado.
    We had no mechanical problems.
    We had no problem keeping up with the fastest of the alpha Romeo on the road and threw the mountains.

    I don’t own a Tesla And probably never will but I don’t agree that they’re not reliable.

    Your comment tells me you didn’t look at any specs and made up your mind from the cover or some tesla hater.

    6 foot bed closed(bigger than F150 and Rivian)
    11K towing
    2.5K hauling
    14″ ground clearance. How is that not much?
    It beats all but super duty pickups in towing specs.

    Lookswise, this is a radical/electrified extrapolation of the extreme homeliness of the Pontiac Aztec, just far, far less attractive. In fact, that isn’t dramatic enough. Bring on the “Yo momma” jokes about this thing.

    “Yo cybertruck so ugly, people throw trash in it thinking it’s a garbage dumpster….” etc.

    There is a group that all electric will/are great for, but trying to push everyone isn’t the way to go. Have a 2021 Camry hybrid and am sold that is the best way to go for now. Drives normal but gets 57 mpg around here and about 49 mpg once you get to 70 mph and above. If only I could have done that back when gas was 19-21 cents a gallon!

    I’m curious about what happens when one of these trucks is involved in a crash with another vehicle. Based on your sledgehammer tests, it appears pretty indestructible. So whatever hits it (or is hit by it) gets to absorb all the energy generated by the impact? That doesn’t seem fair (or healthy).

    Does that 80000 lbs semi next to you on the freeway seem fair or healthy to you if you’re in an accident with it? And there are a whole lot more of them doing 75-80 mph on the highways than cybertrucks

    How about doing something truckish, like put a load of rock in the back and go across a rutted road, or hook up a car trailer with car and go up a mountain road, a long mountain road. This is just more of the same, PR photos and some cute text.

    On average about 3 Million trucks are sold each year in the US, and you think that this will sell more than that alone…

    Very disappointed that this review did not cover daily use of a truck! 1-How many bales of hay will it transport versus a Ford 150? 2-How much can this ‘truck’ tow and what is the battery life with say a 7,500 pound load?

    Indeed. For being a “truck”, haven’t seen much anywhere on its uses as one. A good truck doesn’t need 11 sec speeds. A good truck needs to do truck work.

    In all my years working in the film business, I have never seen anyone rig a camera like it’s rigged in that shot with the refrigerator. Kinda scary.

    While I am not fan of the style i am excited about the technology. I think it’s about time someone moved ahead and I think some of this will move into other automobile companies benefiting everyone. Refreshing to see a clean sheet of paper to one that has been updated for 60-80 years

    How can anybody call this a truck? What kind of cargo can it carry? How much can it tow and for how far? I choose a truck that can tow my trailer or haul some cargo, not win at the stoplight to stoplight dragstrip. The Rancheros and El Caminos were more of a truck than this toy primarily meant for virtue signaling.

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