Modded Tesla Cybertruck and Toyota Land Cruisers Explore Death Valley

By 5 Min Read

YouTube channel Donut has gotten ahold of a Tesla Cybertruck modified by Unplugged Performance for improved off-road capabilities. To test out this custom rig, they were given a guided tour of Death Valley and Cerro Gordo by the Dissent Off-Road crew, who made the excursion in their own modified Toyota Land Cruisers.

Their trip began in Alabama Hills, a scenic area in the shadow of the Santa Monica mountains. Alabama Hills is about 215 miles from Los Angeles and there is a convenient Tesla Supercharger in the nearby town of Lone Pine, making this the perfect location to set up camp for the Cybertruck.

On their first evening at the Cybertruck’s base camp—no, not that Cybertruck Basecamp—the electric truck definitely impressed the team with its light show and convenient access to electric power. 

But the real trip began the next day with the climb up to the ghost town of Cerro Gordo. This is usually considered to be a moderately challenging route, but nothing the trucks here could not handle. The terrain did take its toll on the Cybertruck’s range of course, with the truck losing 8% of charge on a 7-mile climb. 

But the video production team really seems to be playing up the range anxiety angle here. The trip to Cerro Gordo from their base camp is less than 30 miles away, and there is a Supercharger between their destination and their campsite. Not that it was ever any concern, since they started their day with a charge of about 69% and arrived at Cerro Gordo with 53% battery remaining.

Of course, this was mostly driving dirt roads or highways. The next stage of the trip was going to be more demanding. They planned to take a tour through Death Valley, which was about a 60-mile trip each way from their campsite.

Once there, after some time doing a bit of light off-roading, they planned to take the trucks to a hot spring on the other side of the mountains.  

Cybertruck charging slowly at Supercharger

Before starting out, they charged the truck up to 100% at a Supercharger. Oddly enough, at about 60% charge they only seemed to be pulling 47 kW of power.

About 80 miles into the Death Valley trip, they ran into their first real delay. The Cybertruck was performing well with 244 miles of range remaining. Unfortunately, the gas station where they had planned to refuel the Toyotas was out of commission. The camera truck was running on fumes and would need to head back before it could go on. So the rest of the team was left to wait around a while.

Death Valley gas station out of order

Back on the road again, they found the Cybertruck was continuing to get good efficiency by keeping at 65 mph on the highway. Of course, once they left the asphalt, efficiency began to drop once again as expected. After some more off-roading, the truck was sitting at 46% state of charge. But they were still on track to reach their final destination and return with range to spare. 

So despite some hand-wringing about range early on, everything was going great. Until they got news that their planned route had been closed. There had been a landslide due to recent storms, and the detour route was significantly longer. Having not planned for this, and with only 43% range remaining, the team decided to pass up the final leg of the trip and head back to civilization. 

Overall it was a successful trip, and everyone enjoyed their time. But when off-roading or traveling in areas with very little infrastructure, it’s pretty easy for your plans to get derailed. Plenty of electric vehicles have made similar trips to Death Valley in the past, and there are even some L2 charging opportunities at hotels in the park area. So planning a multi-day trip is plenty doable, especially if you can charge overnight. 

What is the most interesting off-the-grid location you’ve taken your electric car or truck to? Let us know in the comments below. 

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