The Tesla Cybertruck may be even bigger than it looks.
Automotive News has uncovered a letter sent by Tesla to the California Air Resources Board in support of a stronger mandate for zero-emissions truck sales in the state that revealed the automaker expects the Cybertruck to be certified as a class 2b to 3 medium-duty truck. That would put it in the same segments as the Ford F-250 and F-350, rather than the light-duty F-150 Elon Musk often compares it to and pitted against in a controversial tug of war.
Trucks are classified by their gross vehicle weight ratings, which combines their own weight and the maximum amount of payload they can carry. Class 2b trucks run from 8,501 to 10,000 pounds and Class 3 trucks from 10,001 to 14,000 pounds.
Tesla said the Cybertruck will be able to carry up to 3,500 pounds and tow over 14,000 pounds. Considering that the smaller Tesla Model X SUV weighs over 5,100 pounds, even the same empty weight with that sort of payload rating would push it into Class 2b. However, when equipped with the large battery pack that will be required to provide the 500 miles of range projected in the top of the line Tri Motor Cybertruck, a weight above 6,500 pounds is not out of the question, and common in medium-duty trucks with similar capabilities.
A Class 2B or 3 rating would also exempt the truck from EPA range and efficiency testing. Most automakers decline to reveal exact fuel economy projections for trucks this big. It’s not clear from the letter if all three of the Cybertruck models announced, including the entry-level two-wheel-drive version, will be medium duty. Fox News Autos asked Tesla in November if they would be sold as a light or medium-duty trucks, but the company never responded.
Musk has also not followed up on a promise to redo the tug of war after many people, including celebrity scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, pointed out that the ford Ford F-150 model used was not equally matched to the Cybertruck.
Musk tweeted on Nov. 25 that he was aiming to webcast a second matchup the following week, but it has yet to happen.
For the record, and potential tale of the tape, while the F-150 can be configured to pull up to 13,200 pounds, the 2020 F-250 has a maximum conventional tow rating of 20,000 pounds.