back to article Gone in 35 seconds – the Cybertruck's misbehaving acceleration pedal

While the vast majority of recent Tesla recalls have been addressed with over-the-air updates, the fix for Cybertruck's recalcitrant acceleration pedal necessitates a rare venture into meatspace. And it's as underwhelming as it is simple. Last week the electric vehicle juggernaut issued a recall notice for every Cybertruck it …

  1. Spazturtle Silver badge

    I am genuinely amazed that they simple just glued the pedal on, how do they think of these things?

    When I think "how do I attached X to Y in a structurally sound way that prevents slipping" I imminently think "Ah screws / bolts & nuts". But no!, at Tesla they go "ah some PVA will do".

    Truly revolutionary design!

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Whatever you do, don't look at modern jet wing manufacture then!

    2. Ze

      Are you sure they glued it on? The mention of residual lubricant implies to me they didn't use glue rather they just pushed it on relying on pressure and designed in mechanical fasteners eg tabs,spring tabs,ledges etc to hold it together.

      When designed right glue joints with the right glue and mechanical design can be incredibly strong. Just look at any modern windscreen, or the racecar windscreens of sports prototypes which can be cut out and reused as part of the structural monocoque in the event of a crash.

    3. aerogems Silver badge

      Pretty sure all they did was glue a rubber sleeve over the metal plate that is the pedal. Still, given they were too cheap to provide a protective coating to the exterior, I'm amazed they didn't decide to save a couple pennies and not bother with that rubber sleeve. So what if the person's shoe is wet, like from melting snow, and it causes it to slip off the pedal? That's something you can blame on the owner!*

      * /s for the humor challenged

    4. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Glue

      You could try listening to the BBC's recent radio series about the history of human use of glue at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001y89y. (*)

      "Released On: 15 Apr 2024 Available for over a year

      Modern life would quite literally fall apart without glues – they hold our buildings, our phones, even our bodies together. But the story of stickiness runs much deeper than that. In fact, our greatest leaps forward as a species couldn’t have happened without adhesives.

      In this series, materials scientist Mark Miodownik charts the journey of human progress through the sticky substances that have shaped us. In episode one he explores the very earliest adhesives, dating back at least 190,000 years, that allowed our ancestors to invent, innovate, and make the first tools.

      And he hears how lumps of these prehistoric glues contain fragments of the stone age people who used them, trapped in time for thousands of years."

      * Log on required, sorry, but it is really interesting, in a nerdish sort of way.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Glue

        "... allowed our ancestors to invent, innovate, and make the first tools."

        They left off "stick random objects together for a laugh", which I imagine dates back 190,000 years less one day.

      2. Not Yb Bronze badge

        Re: Glue

        Log on might not be required, I'm outside the UK, and it seems to work without (at least for the first episode).

      3. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Glue

        Quick question: Anyone any ideas for why that post warranted a downvote?

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Glue

          No particularly good idea. Possibly some people think that the invention of glue is where human civilisation became decadent. Or possibly when glue instead of screws etc. became a preferred tool for assembling personal computers and cellphones, for the last word in "no user serviceable parts inside"-ability.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Glue

          You had the temerity to suggest someone might listen to the BBC?

          Who knows. For every non-trivial opinion there are haters. And you post here often enough that it's possible you've simply attracted one of the local Downvoting Trolls, an invasive species which is known to infest most of the Internet.

    5. David 132 Silver badge

      PVA?

      Pritt-stick, surely, because Musk isn’t allowed anything from the older kids’ cupboard.

    6. IGotOut Silver badge

      "I am genuinely amazed that they simple just glued the pedal on, how do they think of these things?"

      Best not buy a Lotus Elise, pretty much the whole chassis is glued together

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Best not buy a Lotus Elise, pretty much the whole chassis is glued together"

        Or fly on a carbon fibre bodied aircraft :-)

    7. Not Yb Bronze badge

      If they used glue, it would have stayed in place. I believe the excuse I've heard is "the employees used soap to make it easier to install", which is how people have installed rubber onto metal for decades now. The real mistake was the engineering department who were clearly much more concerned with making it look a particular way, instead of making it functional.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The clock is ticking

    I honestly think Musk is wearing out his welcome to a dangerously thin state.

    He should stop pretending that his main job is defending his personal Free Speech and get back to work.

    If he ever was capable of actual work, that is.

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: The clock is ticking

      Just thank all the gods that were, are, and will be, he's ineligible run for POTUS. One thin-skinned narcissist asshole was more than enough.

    2. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: The clock is ticking

      Delaware is a thin state.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: The clock is ticking - Aside 'thin state'

        True story:

        A Travel Agent got an angry call form a customer complaining that there was no sea view from his hotel bedroom window win Tallahassee, Florida.

        "I've seen the atlas, Florida is a thin state"

        Admittedly, "Tallahassee is located just 22 miles from the Gulf of Mexico"*, but a sea view from your hotel room window? Reminds me of:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVMgtv9oIM4

        * https://choosetallahassee.com/beaches-near-tallahassee/#:~:text=Tallahassee%20is%20located%20just%2022,beach%20in%20America%20for%202023!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: The clock is ticking - Aside 'thin state'

          Well, the horizon for an averagely tall person is about 3 miles away so the complainant would need to be on the upper floor of a fairly tall hotel to get a see view, over 300' feet up. It'd have a be a pretty clear day too, something not common in humid States.

          Of course, if the complainant was a flat earther it might get all philosophical :-)

        3. ICL1900-G3

          Re: The clock is ticking - Aside 'thin state'

          Come to Cornwall, that gets really thin down the pointy end.

    3. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: The clock is ticking

      >> and get back to work

      What? no! let him entertain himself running Twitter and Tesla into the ground, they are of no use to man or beast.

      If he "gets back to work" he may put his sights on SpaceX and that would be a real loss for mankind...

  3. david1024

    Not surprised

    This was a totally new vehicle from the ground up. And quick fixes are to be expected. I'm not a fanboi, but really...

    Not news.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not surprised

      It may be a new vehicle, but a pedal is a pedal. Nothing revolutionary there.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Not surprised

        "Nothing revolutionary there."

        And neither is a nicely moulded rubber pad that fits over it and has a lip to grip the underside of the pedal. But that's just too common for a vehicle for Special People.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Not surprised

          Yes, this struck me too. I'm pretty sure all the cars I've ever owned had pedals with molded rubber pads that have a lip that wraps under the edge of the metal pedal. It's the obvious design. Why go to the trouble of fucking that up? Hell, source an existing set of pedals from a parts manufacturer, rather than designing new ones and paying for tooling. Niche autos have been using existing interior gear from popular models forever. It's the sensible thing to do.

    2. Alumoi Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Not surprised

      Yeap. They had to reinvent the wheels, the chasis, the seats, the nuts and bolts (I hope they body is not glued to the chasis) and so on.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Not surprised

        They don't reinvent the fit and finish though, each car has more gaps in the body than a barn.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not surprised

          > each car has more gaps in the body than a barn

          No, no, those are carefully crafted air intakes to provide cooling to the CPU.

          They had been taped over as part of the "wash mode" prep.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Not surprised

            Room for panel expansion in case you're traveling at supersonic speeds.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Not surprised

              Shirley you mean "Ludicrous" speeds!

        2. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: Not surprised

          has more gaps in the body than a barn...

          Typical US car build quality.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Not surprised

            My last US-built car had quite nice build quality, particularly at the price point.

            It was a Honda Civic, not a Tesla (which, indeed, did not exist at the time). But still.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not surprised

          Since Musk wants to channel the DeLorean, he is going for the same legendary build quality as well. At least DeLorean had the excuse that it was being built by workers in a factory in Northern Ireland who had never built a car before due to tax breaks from Thatcher's government.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not surprised

        Who do they think they are Saab ???

  4. Ace2 Silver badge

    I mean, better than using old drywall screws they found in a closet in HQ, right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's the premium version..

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Man, I just saw a Just Rolled In video the other day where someone had screwed the battery cables to the posts with wood screws.

      Nothing to do with Tesla, of course, but never underestimate the cunning of DIYers, either.

      (Just Rolled In — a YouTube channel — is an excellent corrective if you're ever feeling complacent about the state of the other vehicles you may encounter on the road.)

  5. aerogems Silver badge
    Holmes

    I love an opportunity to take a potshot at Xitler as much as the next person, but how often do you really spend looking at the accelerator pedal in a car? As long as it keeps the problem for happening, who cares if it looks like ass when you might only see it fleetingly in your peripheral vision?

    I'm still very dubious of this "unapproved change" explanation. Best case scenario it means that the change control process at Tesla is extremely slipshod, which is not the sort of thing you want when you're driving around a couple tons of metal, complete with a bunch of flammable battery packs, at 60-70mph. Whatever sub-department of the DOT is responsible for this sort of thing, should be going in and doing a white glove level audit of Tesla's entire process. Wouldn't be surprised if the insurance premiums on the Cybertruck also went up significantly as a result of this. If I'm an insurance underwriter and I hear that an "unapproved change" made it into the better part of 4K vehicles, and was only caught when it impacted a customer, I have to wonder what other ticking timebombs "unapproved change[s]" might be in every other Tesla vehicle on the road.

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      how often do you really spend looking at the accelerator pedal

      Personally, I don't really want to know what's lurking in my footwell. However "premium" (I think that's the correct marketing term for unnecessarily expensive) vehicles tend to make a feature of their design and engineering as some sort of sop to the financial conscience of their buyers. It is often seen as the hallmark of true engineering excellence that even the parts you can't see are as carefully crafted as the parts you can.

      It does strike me that there is a certain amount of exceptionalism at play if (a) the owner of a particular brand of expensive car doesn't mind that a cheap rivet is holding the accelerator pedal together and (b) it remains true that the parts you can see are indeed crafted with the same care.

    2. steelpillow Silver badge
      Boffin

      Soap up, folks!

      This particular "unapproved change" is an old dodge - soap up the rubber so it slips on easy (stop sniggering at the back, there!). But it's also as dodgy as it is old. Back in the 1980s a colleague bought a shit-hot roadster, basically a LeMans car with number plates (Lotus Elite maybe)? There is an absolutely sharp right-hander in the middle of open ground on the way back from the research center, and he took it at over a ton. The tyres turned the corner OK but the rest of the car did not.... Turned out the mechanics had used a touch too much soap when putting on a fresh set of tyres.

      Roll forward 35 years, and yawn! His Muskiness just learned the same lesson - keep that soap in a strong safe!

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Soap up, folks!

        Reminds me of a story my late friend told me. They were driving on the freeway and there's a car next to them. The wheel comes off, and for a brief time actually gets out ahead of the car, before the laws of physics asserted themselves.

        But some of this also reminds me of stories you hear about the racism that goes on at Tesla. One black woman put into a lawsuit how when she complained to HR about the rampant racism her supervisor retaliated by putting her on a duty she was physically ill equipped to do. IIRC it involved installing something from the under side of the chassis and the woman was on the shorter side, which meant she had to climb into the chassis as it was going down the line and she very nearly was seriously injured. There's also a secondary production line outside in a tented area that isn't heated or anything, and surprise surprise, that's where most of the black workers end up stationed. You can take the Apartheid out of South Africa, but you can't take the Apartheid South Africa out of Xitler.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Soap up, folks!

          The wheel comes off, and for a brief time actually gets out ahead of the car, before the laws of physics asserted themselves.

          Yes, that will happen with wheels abruptly liberated from their vehicles, and with hubcaps that come off as well. I've seen it happen once or twice with wheels, and several times with hubcaps (always from someone else's care, not the one I was in).

          With the hubcaps it seems like there might be a conservation of angular momentum effect in play, though without working it out on paper I'm a bit dubious of that thought.

          With a wheel, I wonder if it's just because once relieved of the weight of the car, the tire deforms less, so rolling resistance is reduced.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Soap up, folks!

          "Reminds me of a story my late friend told me. They were driving on the freeway and there's a car next to them. The wheel comes off, and for a brief time actually gets out ahead of the car, before the laws of physics asserted themselves."

          Despite driving up to 60,000 miles per year this last 30 years, I've seen that happen only twice, both times when in a previous job that only had a 15 mile each way commute. One was on a bridge crossing, two lanes in each direction, no central divider, 40mph speed limit and a front wheel came off a car coming towards me, both of us in the outside lanes so only feet clearance and a relative closing speed of about 80mph. Luckily for me, his wheel folded flat under the car and he somehow kept it straight and in lane! The other time, I'd just got into work, looked out into the car park and saw a wheel bouncing over the kerb from the road and into the car park, missing all the parked cars and slowing enough to roll in a circle and fall flat :-)

    3. that one in the corner Silver badge

      > how often do you really spend looking at the accelerator pedal in a car?

      I always assumed that the Cybertruck had a camera in the footwell, so you the driver could see a dramatic shot of his foot pressing down as he pretended to be Batman

      1. aerogems Silver badge
        Trollface

        You took that in a completely different direction than what I was thinking it'd be used for.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    rivet?

    Surely a rivet will protrude from the top of the pad and make it slippery so a foot might slide off the pedal?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: rivet?

      That was the error made in the video - they're supposed to leave the rivet pin sticking out so the driver can be sure their foot will not slip, on account of now being spiked to the pedal..

      Given how Tesla fans treat the words of their messiah I'm certain some would actually follow through on this if Musk pronounced it as being essential..

  7. that one in the corner Silver badge

    "pedal rework kit"

    > We're also sure that owners will not be thrilled that a mechanic is taking a drill to the pickup

    All they had to do was include a drill bit in the kit, paint it purple and describe it as "specialised equipment for precisely modifying the accelerator pedal whilst fully retaining its bulletproof rating".

  8. Philo T Farnsworth

    Neutral?

    I admit complete ignorance on the subject of EVs of any sort and specifically Teslas and Cybertrucks, so maybe someone can help me out here.

    My understanding, from admittedly cursory research and sketchy understanding, is that most EVs are direct drive -- the motors drive the wheels directly and there's no transmission.

    This strikes me as a problem.

    I'm old school. I drive a car with a stick (manual) shift. If, for some reason, the accelerator sticks in the "floored" position, I can still just push in the clutch, pop the transmission into neutral, and brake to a stop. I don't drive automatics all that often but I'm pretty certain you can shift to neutral there too and, similarly, then brake without fighting an engine that is out of control.

    With direct drive that seems not to be an option.

    A useful fail-safe seems to be missing.

    Again, I'm asking from a position of ignorance and if someone can enlighten me, I'll be appreciative.

    1. Not Yb Bronze badge

      Re: Neutral?

      One victim of the accelerator sticking problem mentioned being able to press down on the brake hard enough to get it to stop. The problem is the unexpectedness of acceleration frequently doesn't give enough time to avoid all types of accident.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Neutral?

        It is a requirement of roadworthiness that an average driver can stop the vehicle using the mechanical brakes with the engine "in gear" and at full power.

        So if they met that, stomping on the brake pedal with both feet should still stop the vehicle.

        It'll take a lot longer than it ought to, so you'll need a fairly long, straight section of empty road.

        As well as a clean pair of undies.

        That said, modern cars are fly-by-wire. The accelerator pedal is just an input to the ECU.

        A sensibly designed EV should treat "90% brakes" as being "90% brakes, zero accelerator", regardless of the position of the accelerator pedal.

        I'm not sure what my car does though, and tyres are expensive so I'm not planning on finding out.

        1. Kapsalon

          Re: Neutral?

          Actually, this is all drive by wire, no need to stomp, just press the brake and all juices stop flowing to the motors.

          And the truck comes to a normal stop.

          There are videos of it out there.

          1. Telman

            Re: Neutral?

            You are correct, but it is still an issue. The Cybertruck has a listed 0-60mph (0-96kph) of 3.9 seconds. By the time someone reacts, a lot of bad things can happen.....

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Neutral?

      Is the accelerator directly connected to the motor, or does it go via some sort of controller unit (can it do cruising where you don't press the accelerator at all?)? If it goes via a controller, then maybe some other inputs can override the accelerator, like pressing on the brakes?

      1. Kapsalon

        Re: Neutral?

        Yep, pressing the brake overrules the accelerator, car comes to a normal stop.

    3. Dinanziame Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Neutral?

      I assume that Tesla cars are able to drive in reverse, so they must have a lever to control that, which very probably also has a neutral and park mode.

      EDIT: holy shit it's not a lever it's a fucking touch screen:

      https://www.tesla.com/ownersmanual/model3/en_eu/GUID-E9B387D7-AFEF-4AAF-8685-4FE71E09287D.html

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Neutral?

        Hey, welcome to reason #24668 why NOT to buy a Tesla..

      2. EBG

        christ

        on a fecking space hopper

      3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Neutral?

        Touch screen to reverse? Oh dear...

      4. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Neutral?

        How is this sort of thing even legal? Touchscreen for infotainment purposes like backup camera or GPS? Sure. Radio and other purposes? Getting iffy. Gear shifting, turn signals, speedometer... fuck that!

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Neutral?

        Worse it says:

        "The touchscreen is the preferred method to manually shift. However, in the unlikely situation in which the touchscreen is unavailable and therefore can't be used, the drive mode selector on the overhead console automatically activates and must be used to shift (see Shift Using the Overhead Console).

        If you try to shift when it is prohibited by the current driving speed, the touchscreen displays an alert, a chime sounds, and the drive mode does not change."

        And the link to "overhead console" option states:

        "In addition to manually shifting on the touchscreen, you can shift by pressing P, R, N or D located on the overhead console. In most situations, these buttons are not available until you press the brake and touch one of the buttons to activate it."

        So the "emergency option" is in the "overhead console" and may not even work in an emergency if the vehicle speed is in the wrong range and "computer say no", ie the braking system has failed.

    4. VicMortimer Silver badge

      Re: Neutral?

      The VAST majority of American cars are not stick shift, and haven't been for decades.

      The accelerator pedal is just an input to the computer on most cars now, it's in no way directly connected to anything other than wires.

      Even Turdlas have 'neutral', but it's not directly connected to a gearbox any more than on any other modern car.

      And you'll blow your engine if you do that with an actual throttle stuck on full in a stick shift car. You're better off hitting the brakes HARD unless it's a "stop now or die" situation.

      The real problem with Turdlas is that they have essentially one pedal operation. If you don't adjust the settings properly, letting pressure off the accelerator will cause a significant amount regen braking. It's a truly stupid way to drive, and idiots who leave it turned on will get used to it and forget how to use the brake pedal.

      1. Philo T Farnsworth

        Re: Neutral?

        First, thanks to all who replied.

        @VicMortimer: Yes, I'm well aware that I'm probably among the last of a dying breed that wants to drive a stick and even knows how to. I think of it as antitheft insurance.

        A few years ago I was staying at a somewhat fancy hotel in Los Angeles that only had valet parking.

        Checking out in the morning, I called for my car and went out to stand at the kerb waiting for it to be delivered.

        After cooling my heels for a few minutes, the attendant comes up to me and says, "Uh, sir. There's a problem with your car."

        My immediate thought was that some hamburger backed into it or it was burgled in the middle of the night, but no, the problem was that the attendant couldn't drive a stick.

        He led me down to the garage and I retrieved my car.

        Yeah, I tipped him. Not much but, hey, I'm a soft touch.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Neutral?

          "My immediate thought was that some hamburger backed into it or it was burgled in the middle of the night, but no, the problem was that the attendant couldn't drive a stick."

          Since they are usually relatively young, give it a few years and they won't know how to put a key in the ignition, never having seen one before. Or drive an ICE vehicle "because it makes weird loud noises, it must be broken" :-)

  9. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Why not duct tape?

    I read the repair procedure PDF. I would not trust that tiny aluminum pop-rivet to survive on a gas pedal for more than 2 years. The rivet specs say a lot about Tesla too: "5/32X4.5-9.0 GRIP,AL/SS". Yeah, that's 5/32 inches wide with a 4.5 to 9.0 mm working length.

    1. My-Handle

      Re: Why not duct tape?

      4mm wide aluminium pop-rivet? Really? Those things are hollow - I'm surprised if one hard jerk on the petal wouldn't take it off.

      If it were me, I'd drill that thing out as soon as I got it home (if I even needed a drill) and replace it with a round-topped coach bolt (stainless steel, trimmed to length). I might even glue the pad down first before bolting it - belt and braces, as my late granddad used to say.

      Of course, this would be if I were inclined to get a cybertruck in the first place. Which I'm not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not duct tape?

        The best place to use good glue in a Tesla is on the door seals so you'll never actually drive it..

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Why not duct tape?

        From the video, I suggest you would need to be careful about the length of the bolt; too long and it will stop the pedal from being floored…

        I note the 35 seconds to fix excludes the removal of swarf, it as its under the mat, no one will notice…

  10. heyrick Silver badge

    a model supposed to represent the height of luxury and excess

    Only so long as it doesn't get wet...?

  11. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Why aren't they fixing the footwell?

    The pedal cover is not the problem. I have had pedal covers fall off on cars before. Difference being the footwell wasn't designed so that they could jam the accelerator.

    A rivet is a workaround, it is not a fix.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Why aren't they fixing the footwell?

      From the video, I would say the shape of the pedal is the root of the problem. Suspect if they had used an inverted triangle shape the cover (assuming it had a lip that wrapped around the edges of the pedal) would have remained attached.

  12. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Is Tesla becoming the new Boeing?

  13. Jedit Silver badge
    Trollface

    A fundamental flaw

    Lubricant and glue are entirely different substances and should not be used for similar tasks. You might give "bonding with your partner" a whole new meaning if you do.

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