Trucks & SUVs

Is the Tesla Cybertruck a Full-Size or Midsize Truck?

Elon Musk revealed the long-awaited Tesla Cybertruck back in November 2019. Its new design and impressive features garnered a lot of attention from fans and the media. Tesla, which has plans to produce this pickup in 2021, compared it to the Ford F-150 when they unveiled it. They even showed that the Cybertruck had enough power to tow a pickup truck like the F-150.

InsideEVs.com reports that the Cybertruck, which people thought would compete with the F-150, isn’t even in the same classification as the iconic Ford pickup. Instead, it’s classified with the Ford F-250 and the RAM 2500 – all ranked in the medium-duty truck class.

Wait, is the Cybertruck a midsize pickup or full-size truck then?

The newly unveiled Tesla Cybertruck at the Tesla Design Center
The Tesla Cybertruck | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

It’s important to not confuse midsize pickups with the term medium-duty vehicle. A midsize truck is one that’s typically on the lighter side with less power and has lower towing capability than the bigger trucks. The most common midsize pickups are the Toyota Tacoma and the Chevy Colorado. Full-size pickups are trucks that are much bigger, can haul lots more weight, and have more powerful engines. The Chevy Silverado 1500 and the RAM 1500 are two examples of full-size pickups.

Tesla filed a document with the California Air Resource Board claiming the Cybertruck will have full-size pickup specs. That would mean that it will technically compete with the RAM 1500 and F-150 vehicles. It’s officially rated as a medium-duty truck, however, which is a different classification than the automotive marketing term of full-size.

How are trucks officially classified?

The U.S. Department of Transportation puts trucks into one of eight classes based on their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The GVWR is the total weight a vehicle can carry, including the fuel, passengers, and cargo. The light-duty pickups will fall into the Class 1 rating, the medium-duty trucks under Class 2, and the heavy-duty ones under Class 3.

The Cybertruck falls into Class 2 as it’s considered a full-size pickup. This class has two parts to it – Class 2A, which is where the F-150 falls, and Class 2B, where the RAM 2500 is. But Tesla’s a medium-duty pickup and will have a classification of 2B. Class 2B starts at a weight of 8,000 lbs, and that’s the cut off for when vehicles need an MPG rating on the manufacturer sticker.

The Tesla, having the 2B rating, means it will go up against the likes of the F-250, Silverado 2500, and the RAM 2500.

How will the Cybertruck stack up against the competition?

The Cybertruck owner’s club broke down the figures for the Class 2B pickup trucks. Tesla’s truck has a maximum payload of 3,500 lbs with a tow rating maxing out around 14,000 lbs. The figures are definitely impressive, but when you compare them to its competitors, you’re left scratching your head.

The closest is the Silverado 2500, which has a 3,979-lb payload rating with a 14,500-lb tow rating. The F-250 (gasoline version) has a max payload of 4,260 lbs and tow rating of 19,500 lbs. The RAM 2500 has a 4,050-lb payload rating and a 19,780-lb towing capacity. These pickups overshadow what the Cybertruck is capable of, at least when it comes to payload and towing capacities. The Tesla does have the steel body, faster acceleration rating, and lots of cabin and cargo space.

The Tesla isn’t on the production line yet, but it sure is gaining a lot of attention and a lot of pre-orders. It promises to be a one-of-a-kind truck, the likes of which we haven’t really seen before, which is what makes this pickup exciting. That, and the fact that is an all-electric pickup to boot.