Cybertruck struggling spurs cheeky Forest Service offer


Elon Musk touted the Tesla Cybertruck as the perfect vehicle for an apocalypse at a launch event in Texas a few weeks ago. And on its website, Tesla claims the futuristic electric vehicle is “built for any planet,” being “durable and rugged enough to go anywhere.”  

Many recalled such boasts when a video went viral this week showing a Cybertruck, with a single harvested Christmas tree, struggling to navigate a snowy off-road hill in California’s Stanislaus National Forest. In the video, a Ford pickup truck on a road wrenches the Tesla vehicle up the slope.

The phrase “sport futility vehicle” spread on social media as the video went viral, with one X user posting, “Ok, seeing the Cybertruck called a ‘sport futility vehicle’ after having to be rescued by a Ford made my day.”

Others argued the problem was more about an inexperienced driver and less about the Cybertruck itself, noting other trucks also get stuck on snowy hills. But there may have been an issue with that particular Cybertruck, too, which as one Tesla follower noted appeared to be a prototype with some equipment issues.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, for his part, posted to X: “Just to be clear… this is a Super Duty and NOT advertising. Glad a Ford owner was there to help.”

Yesterday, the National Forest Service released a press release cheekily offering to partner with Tesla on “an education campaign regarding off-road vehicle use on public lands.”

It posted the press release on Facebook, where a user commented that they thought the video “was a spoof.” 

The Forest Service replied, “while we may have been a touch cheeky in our response, our offer to Tesla is real and this really happened out on Corral Hollows on the Calaveras side.” 

Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Jason Kuiken said in the release, “We are always thrilled when new opportunities to explore our public lands become available, but feel there may be work to be done in educating users about our Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM).”

He added, “You never have to worry about a software update at an incredibly awkward moment with one of our MVUM maps.”

The Forest Service continued, “We feel confident that had the driver of the Cybertruck had a better understanding of the topographical feature indicated on our maps, practiced Leave No Trace principles, and generally been more prepared, this whole incident could have been not only avoided, but also provided much-needed education to many new off-road users.” 

The Cybertruck has generated significant excitement among Tesla fans. 

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who already had a Model X, was among the first customers to pick up a Cybertruck in Austin, Texas, a few weeks ago. He said in a livestream that driving it felt “super futuristic.” 

Whether the vehicle attracts the kind of drivers who usually opt for the F-150 pickup truck or a similar no-nonsense workhorse remains to be seen, however. 

Fair or not, the Cybertruck was roasted by many on social media this week following the video going viral. One Facebook user quipped about the Cybertruck driver in the clip, “Bless his heart…he thinks he’s in a truck.”

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