In a bid to compete with the Hummer’s “Crab Mode” and R1T’s tank turns, Tesla is adding four-wheel steering to the Cybertruck. Tesla promises that the new feature will provide “high agility,” including the tightest possible U-turns for a vehicle that looks like a pickup truck from a low-resolution video game. It’s also been hinted that the new four-wheel steering will also be suitable for off-road maneuvering.
Elon Musk says the design will be “almost exactly” what the prototype looked like during its introduction in November 2019. When it was introduced, it looked big even for a truck and almost as tall as Musk himself at its highest point. It will be heavy enough that Tesla previously issued plans for a Supercharger designed specifically for the Cybertruck.
The rear-wheel steering might be necessary for some “tight quarters” steering, including driving around a parking lot. This might be especially important for buyers of the Cybertruck who opt for the Autopilot, which includes the “Smart Summon” feature that will require it to navigate the parking lot on its own.
The company still plans to start producing Cybertrucks in late 2021. Gigafactory Texas will be the first location in the United States to produce larger vehicles like the Cybertruck and Tesla Semi. Elon Musk has also floated the idea of producing an electric city bus at Gigafactory Texas, though the concept seems to come and go. Gigafactory Texas is expected to employ 10,000 people when it opens.
In bids to attract qualified employees for his companies, Elon Musk has previously called for more housing in the Austin area and donated $30 million to the Boca Chica, Texas, area for education and community improvement projects. Musk has referred to Austin as “America’s next boom town,” which may be backed up by soaring real estate values in the area and his own decision to build manufacturing facilities for Tesla and SpaceX in the area. Open positions at the factory can be found on Tesla’s website.
Some observers expressed concern that Tesla might not be able to keep up with the technology available to rivals if it gets too hyperfocused on programs like Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. Although it seems to be a leader in this department and has even discussed licensing the driver assist programs to competitors and adding an optional subscription model for the software, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are not quite ready for “prime time” when it comes to operating with minimum input from the driver.
Rivals for the Cybertruck include planned electric pickup trucks that will be manufactured by Ford, GMC, and Rivian. The available specs indicate that they will be able to match or beat the Cybertruck in their features’ capability. Now that Tesla is no longer alone in the electric vehicle market, this might be a sign that the company is working on keeping up with competitors for features outside of its driver assist programs, including more advanced steering options for the Cybertruck.