Tesla Cybertruck bends upper control arm in testing, raising concerns about suspension durability
The Cybertruck showed off some of its durability last week when Tesla “emptied the entire drum magazine of a Tommy gun into the driver door,” resulting in a lot of damage but no cabin penetration. That said, recent close-up images shared on the TFLnow YouTube channel show off some of the Cybertruck's suspension components, revealing a rather flimsy-looking upper control arm that appears to already be bent after off-road testing.
At first glance, the control arm doesn't look particularly out of place, but after looking at an image of the same hardware in a previously-seen Cybertruck, it's clear that the control arm is bent upwards, as if it suffered a hard knock or was subject to high loads while the vehicle was flexing.
It's unclear what caused the damage to the Cybertruck, but given how much off-road testing Tesla is doing — as well as the off-road location where the images seem to have been taken — it appears as though it may have been as a result of a hard impact during off-road testing.
Any serious damage to the upper control arm of the Cybertruck would pose serious safety issues, including unpredictable steering, misaligned wheels, and even diminished braking performance.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has been very active on social media platform X (fka Twitter), boasting about the off-road prowess of the Cybertruck. If the pressed steel upper control arm design present on this release candidate is the final design, though, Cybertruck owners may want to think twice about where they take their electric pickup trucks.
Many popular pickup trucks that often see off-road duty, like the Toyota Tundra, are equipped with much burlier suspension components, and their control arms are generally made from cast or forged aluminium or cast or welded tubular steel. The upper control arm doesn't usually experience as much force as the lower control arm, but it still seems unlikely that Tesla would equip the Cybertruck, which is set to weigh in at well north of 3,000 kg (~6600 lbs), with such flimsy-seeming hardware.
While pressed steel makes perfectly acceptable control arms for lightweight passenger vehicles, the Tesla Cybertruck's substantial weight and intended use as a cargo and off-roading vehicle make pressed steel a questionable choice for upper control arms. It's entirely possible, though, that the suspension components on this particular Cybertruck weren't the final designs, and Tesla may end up swapping the control arms out for something more substantial.