The Tesla Cybertruck’s Steering Broke My Brain

The Tesla Cybertruck’s Steering Broke My Brain photo
The Tesla Cybertruck’s Steering Broke My Brain photo

I recently drove the Tesla Cybertruck and found that, in most aspects, its form dictates (and limits) its function. No surprise there, but what did surprise me was some of the truly impressive engineering it contains—namely, its unique steering system.

The Cybertruck is the first vehicle on U.S. roads to go fully steer-by-wire with no mechanical linkage between the front wheels and the steering wheel. Lexus and Infiniti have offered steer-by-wire systems before Tesla, but they had mechanical backups. Powered by the Cybertruck’s 48-volt low-voltage architecture (as opposed to the 12-volt systems in most cars), multiple electric actuators move the front steering rack and turn all four wheels in response to inputs.

In theory, it’s a bit unnerving. The thought of removing a safety-critical link between driver and car is a scary one. In practice? I loved it. The variable ratio translates small inputs into deft maneuvers at parking-lot speeds before relaxing for highway cruising. Paired with the Cybertruck’s four-wheel steering abilities, it makes driving a big vehicle much easier and eliminates wasted effort. As I noted in my full review:


“Instead of going hand-over-hand for 90- and 180-degree turns, you just turn the steering wheel about 75 degrees for a right turn, or as far as it’ll go (roughly 120 degrees) to make a U-turn. There’s no hand-over-hand, no shuffle steering, and no guessing as to how far to turn the wheel. It’s a boon for maneuverability, and paired with the Cybertruck’s EV-typical low center of gravity, goes a long way toward making it feel far more agile than it should.”

You can see the quick ratio and just how far the rear wheels turn in this clip: