I’ve been refreshing Twitter since the Tesla Cybertruck presentation, waiting for Elon Musk to drop a “JK LOL” so we can stop talking about the Participation Award-winning pinewood derby car design that was trotted out on stage. But I guess we’re doing this, so I guess we might as well look at some of the specs.
I’m still convinced this is a joke but the internet demands Takes so a Take you shall have. Regardless, understand: This one should be taken with a enough salt to go on the rim of an Applebee’s margarita.
Specs sheets from mainstream manufacturers are murky business as it is; specs that were tossed up in a cringey presentation seem dubious at best. But assuming the numbers we’ve now seen on the Tesla Cybertruck are valid, here’s how they’d compare to some other pickups you might be familiar with.
One more qualifier: we let each manufacturer present the strongest spec in each measure, assuming the constraints of “four-door, short-bed” configurations. These numbers came from the respective automakers’ consumer and media websites.
In case you scrolled past the last paragraphs: We’re looking at four-door, short-bed versions of half-ton trucks here. Plus the also-electric and also-not-yet-for-sale-really Rivian R1T. Ford’s width seemed like a major outlier but I think that might have to do with the inclusion of mirrors. The same F-150 spec sheet says the truck is 83.5 inches wide with its mirrors folded, which is more consistent with the others.
At any rate, my takeaway would be that the Tesla seems to be able to pair a long bed with a relatively short overall length, which makes sense since the Cybertruck’s hood is probably much shorter than the other trucks which have to be able to hide a V8.
Not needing center differentials does wonders for ground clearance, clearly. And the Cybertruck’s snout is pretty sharp according to this, which should make scrambling up things easier. The instant torque of electric power would help scale things, too. Not that a 230-inch long vehicle is a particularly adept length for rock crawling.
We’re giving all the other trucks optional suspension and factory-raiseable suspension on the “high” setting here, by the way.
I didn’t see any claims about curb weight or GCVW for the Cybertruck, but Tesla’s coming out of the gate with a 14,000-pound towing capacity claim. That’s extremely high, as you can see, and so is the payload capacity.
The difference there, for those of you who don’t read truck specs that often, is the max towing number here refers to how much weight you could pull from a conventional trailer hitch. Max payload is how much a truck can carry in its bed and cab.
What Does It All Mean?
This cursory look at how the Cybertruck would hypothetically measure up to some versions of its gas-powered rivals shows us that Tesla is clearly targeting to edge-out the capacity claims of the half-ton trucks we’re used to. I guess that makes sense for headline-grabbing, but I really wish Musk and company had focused on affordability, serviceability, and useful interior gadgets and accessories.
Today’s trucks are extremely capable–being able to pass those by 1,000 pounds or more is cool and all but few will ever really appreciate the full abilities of pickups you can already buy, let alone ones you can give a company an interest-free loan for in exchange for a spot to pay full price for one at a time TBD.
If you read every word of this blog I’m sure my skepticism is abundant, so I’ll just wrap by saying I think the Model 3 is one of the cutest designs on the road right now and I do dig electric cars. It seems like it’s important to preempt comments about bias with a statement like that in a post like this.
But the Cybertruck’s introduction was more awkward than awe-inspiring. I wouldn’t take anything out of it as gospel just yet.