The Tesla Cybertruck’s Wade Mode Uses Air From The Suspension To Protect The Battery

There’s been some talk lately about the Tesla Cybertruck’s so-called Wade Mode, but other than its name, no official details were available.

Until now that is, because none other than Jay Leno got to drive a production-spec Cybertruck and he had Tesla’s VP of Engineering Lars Moravy and chief designer Franz von Holzhausen next to him to get all the details right.

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Tesla wants to make off-roading hassle-free

A lot of off-road-oriented cars today can wade through water, but Tesla wants to make it easier than ever before. That’s why the Cybertruck has a so-called Wade Mode that automatically raises the air suspension to its highest setting and pressurizes the battery pack using air from the suspension compressor to keep water out.

You can watch the full one-hour video at the top of this page, but I’ll lay down everything you need to know about the pickup’s Wade Mode in text form here, too.

Let’s start with what sets this special driving mode apart from any other vehicle. As per Lars Moravy, when the driver activates Wade Mode, the vehicle uses the air suspension compressor to pressurize the battery enclosure so that water can never reach the cells.

Gallery: Tesla Cybertruck

The pack is sealed, to begin with, but as Tesla’s rep said, this is an added precaution to keep things nice and dry. It takes about 10 minutes for the air compressor to pressurize the pack, but after that, you’re good to go. That said, the screen also says that the mode automatically deactivates after 30 minutes.

Wade Mode also raises the car’s suspension to its highest point, taking the hassle out of a potentially dangerous and damaging driving scenario. However, the maximum wading depth itself might make some adventurous drivers unimpressed.

According to the car’s screen, the Cybertruck can wade through water up to 31 inches deep, which is not great, not terrible, as the famous meme from HBO’s Chernobyl mini-series said. 31 inches is 2 feet 7 inches or 38.7 centimeters.

By comparison, the Rivian R1T has a maximum wading depth of 43.1 inches (109.4 cm), while the famously off-road-capable combustion-powered Land Rover Defender can drive through 35.4-inch (90 cm) deep water. The Ford F-150 Lightning is at the other end of the spectrum, though, with just 24 inches (61 cm) wading depth.

The Wade Mode screen says that “Water levels should not exceed the top of the bumper,” so off-roaders can forget forging paths through windscreen-deep water. But what do you think? Is 31 inches enough? Let us know in the comments below.

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