Cybertruck Headed for Medium-duty Classification?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
cybertruck headed for medium duty classification

There’s many unknown aspects of the Tesla Cybertruck, not least of which is its curb weight, but a recent letter to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reveals that Elon Musk’s retro-futuristic brainchild might have no business engaging in a one-on-one with the Ford F-150.

According to the letter, Tesla is pursuing a medium-duty classification for the triangular pickup, placing in in competition not with the F-150, but the F-250.

The document, seen by Automotive News, quotes Sarah Van Cleve, Tesla’s senior managing policy advisor, as saying, “While we have not yet begun production of the Cybertruck, we expect it to have a towing capacity of 7,500-14,000+ lbs., and it should very likely qualify as a ‘Class 2B-3 medium-duty vehicle.”

Class 2B trucks, like the F-250, Ram 2500, and the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500, carry a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,501 to 10,000 pounds. Regular full-size (half-ton) pickups fall into the 2A category.

In the past, Musk has claimed an expected max payload of 3,500 pounds for the Cybertruck, with a max towing capacity of “more than” 14,000 lbs. Forgetting the F-150, which comes close to Tesla’s would-be payload rating in a certain guise, the F-250 Super Duty easily tops the Cybertruck’s specs. It trounces the towing figure when equipped with the newly upgraded 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. (Ford’s Super Duty line underwent a comprehensive revamp for 2020.)

All of this call into question the Cybertruck’s actual weight, which factors heavily into GVWR calculations and a truck’s resulting class.

It also makes one wonder whether Tesla will bother staging another tug challenge between its creation and the model it wants to unseat: the F-150. The previous “test” earned a rebuke from Ford after an all-wheel drive Cybertruck was filmed towing a rear-drive F-150 uphill, placing additional weight above the Ford’s non-drive axle. And does it matter at this point?

Tesla fans will love the Cybertruck no matter what, while Ford fans will now demand Tesla pick on someone its own size (knowing that the F-250’s specs should ensure a win).

[Image: Tesla]

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  • Thx_zetec Thx_zetec on Dec 14, 2019

    This is interesting. The medium-duty (e.g. F250, F350) market is large and very high margin, and here the big3 have had no new competition (Toyota and Nissan have not entered this space). These vehicles are desired because they a bigger/heavier (perceived value) and have some tax benefits (depreciation of "work" trucks). If your business needs a f150 you might do better with the f250 given better tax treatment. Note that you can use the truck up to 50% personal and still get tax benefit. What is the curb weight of the cyber truck going to be? A model-x is a medium-size SUV and weighs ~5200 lb. Add all that battery for 500 mile range and you could be 6500. The good news is that you have regen braking for city economy not as bad as you'd think, but this would cause more expense for tires. Will the gross vehicle weight be so high that some states might require different registration? How fast will this thing re-charge? The 500 mile truck will have huge amount of battery capacity, easily 2X the model3. Will the supercharger be able to charge at 2X the current? If not you'll be there 2X longer.

    • See 4 previous
    • JimZ JimZ on Dec 15, 2019

      @HotPotato yeah, and Elon thought he found a way to automate the entire assembly process for the Model 3 and could build them three times as fast that way.

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Dec 14, 2019

    Cybertruck headed for Medium Duty Classification? No. To Mars. Haven't you read about it? The air density on Mars is less than 1% of Earth's, so you get low drag gar-on-teed. That and the low gravity, only 40% of Earth, gives Cybertruck a thousand mile range, so Musk won't have to install very many Superchargers there. Two per sealed Tomato and Kale Greenhouse Station, max. Just one double-charger station at each end of the typical Mars "canal" superhighway, and one in the middle on the longer cyberways. Another benefit of that low, low Mars gravity? Payload! Yessir, 10,000 Earth equivalent lbs easy, but towing suffers. You win some, you lose some, but a Ford F250 diesel just won't work there, so there's that.

    • JimZ JimZ on Dec 15, 2019

      I doubt this thing is rad-hardened, and wouldn't work for very long in the much higher ambient radiation environment on Mars. Mars lacking a magnetosphere makes things a lot more difficult.

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