There has been a great deal of buzz surrounding Tesla’s new electric pickup, the Cybertruck, particularly regarding its external design, but what many are curious about is how fast it really is. Given its odd, futuristic polyhedric exterior, most assume speed is a shortcoming of the Cybertruck, but they’d be surprised with the reality of its capabilities.
The Cybertruck has three forms, each with its own acceleration speed due to the number of motors they have equipped. The single motor RWD has a 0-60 speed of 6.5 seconds. The dual-motor AWD has a 0-60 speed of 4.5 seconds, and the tri-motor AWD halves this speed at 2.9 seconds. The Cyberturck’s top speed is 110 mph across all forms.
Considering its appearance and body type, the Cybertuck boasts impressive speed specs that you can’t find in even some of the most prestigious sports cars. We’ll take a closer look at what the Cybertruck is really capable of in the speed department, how it’s possible, and how it compares to other similar vehicles on the market.
How Fast is the Cybertruck?
The Cybertruck is Tesla’s latest invention that is set to be released in limited numbers in late 2021 and enter mass volume production in 2022. While consumers anxiously await their pre-purchased Cybertrucks arrival, many have mixed emotions about the electric pickup’s design and specs.
One common source of suspicion and astonishment is the Cybertruck’s speed and acceleration capabilities. Due to its “Blade Runner-esque” and Cyberpunk appearance, the Cybertruck doesn’t look like a vehicle that could even turn a corner with ease, let alone drive at high speeds.
However, the reality of the Cybertruck’s speed capabilities is far more impressive than anyone could have imagined. To prove it, we’ve detailed Tesla’s electric pickup truck’s 0-60 acceleration speed, horsepower, and top speed below.
When Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen presented the Cybertruck at the unveiled the Cybertruck at the Tesla Design Studio in Los Angeles on November 21st, 2019, viewers were both shocked and a bit smug at what the Cybertruck could and couldn’t do.
Although the presentation didn’t go as planned when von Holzhausen shattered the Cybertruck’s supposedly bulletproof glass windows, people were astonished when they saw the Cybertruck met, if not exceeded, expectations when it came to its 0-60 acceleration.
Musk proudly displayed video footage of the Cybertruck racing a Porsche 911 and listened as the crowd incredulously applauded when the Cybertruck overtook the Porsche 911 almost instantly despite the other car having a slight head start. So, how fast is the Cybertruck really, and how is this possible?
Accelerations by Spec
The Cybertruck comes in three forms, and each has a different spec regarding its 0-60 acceleration speed. This is because each spec has a different number of motors, which affects their time significantly.
The Cybertruck form that raced the Porsche 911 was most likely the tri-motor all-wheel-drive, which boasts a 0-60 acceleration time of 2.9 seconds. This puts the electric truck on par with if not far above most speed demon sports cars that usually have a 0-60 speed of fewer than 3.5 seconds, the fastest currently being the 2021 Koenigsegg Gemara 1.9 seconds, closely followed by the Tesla Model S Plaid at 1.99 seconds.
Even if you don’t want to spend the $70,000 on the tri-motor Cybertruck, you can still get a 0-60 time that far exceeds the average car with both the dual and single motor forms.
The dual-motor all-wheel-drive Cybertruck has a 0-60 acceleration time of 4.5 seconds, while the single motor rear-wheel-drive form has a time of 6.5 seconds. Despite the single motor’s speed being a solid four seconds slower than the tri-motor form, it is still well below average considering most new cars have a 0-60 time of around 7-8 seconds.
However, the increased popularity of cars with these rocket speed capabilities is leading to more and more new vehicles being made with 0-60 times of around 6.5 or lower, so the Cybertruck’s competition might be steadily increasing in this regard.
There’s no denying that all of the Cybertruck forms can hold their own when expected to accelerate to high speeds in a short period. However, where the truck loses against the Porsche 911 shown in the drag race is its top speed.
The Cyberturck’s top speed varies by its form, again, mostly due to the number of motors each is equipped with, but you might be surprised to see that the difference isn’t nearly as significant as their 0-60 acceleration times.
In fact, compared to other new vehicles, especially sports cars like the Porsche 911, the Cybertruck has a low top speed. The single motor rear-wheel-drive form has a top speed of 110 miles per hour, followed by the dual-motor all-wheel-drive at 120 miles per hour and the tri-motor all-wheel-drive only caps out at 130 miles per hour.
These tops speeds are far from exceptional since most cars can actually exceed them. The average modern car usually has a top speed of around 120 miles per hour, which means they would overtake the single motor Cybertruck form when pushed to their limits.
The dual and tri-motor forms might outdrive them by 10 to 20 miles per hour, but if you pin them against the average sports car, their impressive 0-60 acceleration speed only helps them for so long since most can hit speeds well into the 200s. The 2021 Porsche 911 itself has a top speed of 195 miles per hour, defeating both forms in minutes.
Still, a top speed of 110-130 is extremely average, and few drivers would, or should, have a need for driving at such speeds. Best Tesla focuses on giving the Cybertruck other exceptional features rather than wasting valuable time and resources on giving the Cybertruck excessive speed it won’t need.
A car’s horsepower is important in the equation of its speed and acceleration because it refers to the amount of power its motor is capable of producing. The more motors a car has and the higher the horsepower, the easier it is to power the motor and move the car.
While Tesla hasn’t officially released the horsepower spec for any of the Cybertruck forms, many experts have been able to speculate the truck’s capabilities in this regard based on the motors and other specs provided.
It’s no surprise that the single motor form will have the least amount of horsepower with a projection of 400 horsepower but not more than 500 horses. This number might change slightly if there is any alteration to the electric truck’s motor, but for now, the estimated cap is 500 horses.
The dual-motor form will have an estimated output of 690 horsepower, and the tri-motor form will have the highest output of 800+ horses.
Again, these are all estimates based on other Cybertruck specs, such as the 0-60 acceleration, range, and the motor itself. It is possible that they will be different than the figures officially released by Tesla, especially considering the alterations the company will make to the Cybertruck’s overall design, such as reducing its size by 3%, so it is more suitably sized for European roads.
Fortunately, they would have to make significant alterations for the Cybertruck’s horsepower to drop to 180-200 horses, which is average for an American car. SUVs and larger vehicles typically boast 300-400 horses, so the single motor Cybertruck form will probably be considered average in its horsepower spec, but the remaining two forms will lie far beyond the average level here.
Is the Cybertruck Aerodynamic?
A common priority for Tesla car design is their aerodynamics, which is why you’ll see all of their other models, like the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y, sport a rounded and curvaceous exterior design. So, looking at the Cybertruck’s design, anyone would be astounded to hear that it’s not only made by the same company but designed by the same individual as well, Chief of Design Franz von Holzhausen.
If you know anything about aerodynamics, the first thing you’re probably assuming when you glance at the Cybertrucks bulky form and sharp edges is that it drives like a rock with minimal speed capabilities. While this is a safe assumption, the Cybertruck is more aerodynamic than you’d think.
Aerospace engineer Justin Martin was curious about how the Cybertruck holds up aerodynamically, so he ran a model of the vehicle through a simulator. A significant point to look for is instances where airflow is separated along a surface. Most vehicles that prioritize aerodynamics will have smooth and curvy exteriors to help maintain airflow and prevent drag.
Shockingly, the Cybertruck’s unique “vault” design, referring to the truck bed, actually prevents a common issue with other truck models where a turbulent vortex is created over the bed area. The Cybertruck helps prevent this by having a covered, sloping vault versus an open, flat truck bed.
One point that has some detached airflow is past the top peak of the Cybertruck, but apart from that, the biggest issues are its flat surfaces, such as the windshield. Ultimately, while the Cybertruck doesn’t have the teardrop shape necessary to be perfectly aerodynamic, its design is much more efficient on this point than you’d assume at first glance.
Why Doesn’t the Cybertruck Have the Same Design as Other Tesla Models?
Cybertruck’s exterior design doesn’t make sense to a lot of people regardless of how they feel about Tesla as a company. Its boxy shape is far from the most aerodynamic design, and its hardpoints and flat sides are a complete 180 from other Tesla models. So, why is this the design Tesla chose?
Futuristic inspiration aside, there is a logical reason why the Cybertruck doesn’t sport smooth, curvaceous lines, and it actually comes down to its material makeup.
One of Tesla’s goals for the Cybertruck’s design was to make it as durable and safe as possible and prevent damage and corrosion for maximum longevity. Hence, why they tried to incorporate bulletproof glass that didn’t make it past the 2019 unveiling test.
However, one test the Cyberturck did surpass that fateful evening was when Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen took a sledgehammer to its driver-side door multiple times without so much as a scrape appearing on the material. This is thanks to its exoskeleton skin made of Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless steel.
If you’re not familiar with this material, it’s the same stainless steel found on the SpaceX Starship, a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth, orbit the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
This material is known for being incredibly strong, and a majority of that strength comes from its rigidity. The high-grade steel is particularly difficult to bend, and the process of shaping it is both costly and would diminish the material’s overall strength.
For this reason, the Cybertruck has numerous flat sides and points in order to preserve the integrity of its material and ensure it can fulfill its promise of having a nearly indestructible exterior. It sacrifices aerodynamics through this design, but the high-grade stainless steel will undoubtedly provide the Cyberturck with one of the longest lifespans of any vehicle ever created.
Would it be Faster If It Shared Other Models’ Design?
Most likely. The Cybertruck’s current design isn’t as poor aerodynamically as many would understandably assume, but it’s far from perfect. Having a more aerodynamic design would do wonders for the Cybertruck’s acceleration and energy usage when driving at high speeds.
Because it has so many flat surfaces and peaks rather than rounded surfaces, the Cybertruck has to deal with more drag than other Tesla models. This means that it uses more energy to maintain speeds and overcome the drag it creates.
However, despite the fact that the overall design could be better, the drag it creates isn’t overly significant. Much of the turbulence behind the vault isn’t unlike the amount you would find behind the average truck.
Trucks, in general, don’t have very aerodynamic designs because of their broad fronts and open beds, so, when compared to other vehicles of the same body type, the Cybertruck is relatively normal. Of course, if it had an exterior design more similar to other Tesla sedans and SUVs, you would definitely see an improvement in its speed and energy use.
Additional Cybertruck Specs Impacting Speed
If you’re curious about what the Cybetruck can do beyond its top speed and 0-60 acceleration, here are some other specs you might find interesting about Tesla’s new electric pickup truck.
As an electric vehicle, the range is a particularly important spec to consider, especially since charging stations still aren’t a normal feature at rest stops and gas stations. Therefore, a bit more planning is required when driving an electrically powered car, like the Cybertruck, versus a gas-fueled one.
The Cybertruck’s range also happens to be one of its most impressive specs, particularly for the tri-motor form. On a full charge, this form has a whopping total range of 500 miles which far exceeds the average electric car’s range at around 180-200 miles.
It also makes this particular Cybertruck form the Telsa vehicle with the highest range if all promises are met upon release. The current champion holding this title is the Model S with 370 miles of range.
Luckily, you don’t have to pay for the Cybertruck’s pricier form in order to get decent range since the dual-motor form has a total range of 300 miles and the single motor form has an above-average range of 250 miles. This renders all Cybertruck forms quality choices for an electric car with an exceptional range in addition to the other perks it offers.
Consumers typically purchase trucks for their utility in towing or carrying excessively heavy loads you can’t hook up to a regular car. Despite the Cybertruck’s tin foil appearance, this vehicle is more than capable of towing loads equal to or heavier than the average truck and SUV.
It comes as no surprise that the Cybertruck’s towing capacity is also affected by the number of motors it has, meaning the tri-motor form can tow the most at 14,000 pounds, and the single motor form tows the least at 7,500. The dual-motor form sits comfortably in between the two with a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds.
Again, the Cybertruck’s most powerful form, the tri-motor all-wheel-drive, sets the bar particularly high and exceeds all expectations. Considering most tow campers and trailers weigh somewhere in the range of 2,000-7,500 pounds, this form is more than capable of towing this common luxury many consumers purchase trucks specifically to move.
In addition to towing capacity, another reason why consumers will purchase trucks is for their off-roading abilities.
These model types are typically built to have exceptional ground clearance, approach angles, and departure angles in order to travel over rough roads and obstacles without damaging the vehicles’ underside, front bumper, or rear fender.
Because all Cybertruck forms have the same dimensions, they share off-roading specs, which we’ve listed below.
- Ground Clearance: Up to 16 inches
- Approach Angle: 35 degrees
- Departure Angle: 28 degrees
When it comes to ground clearance, the minimum a truck should have is between 6.6 inches and 8.7 inches, with anything above 8.5 being a relatively safe amount for nearly any kind of off-roading terrain.
Looking at the Cybertruck’s ground clearance spec, there is little doubt that it is more than equipped to handle even the most challenging off-roading expeditions, which increases its appeal to adventurous drivers.
Of course, your ground clearance does little good if your vehicle has poor approach and departure angles. Luckily, both of these specs for the Cybertruck are well within reason. An approach angle between 31–33 degrees and a departure angle between 26–27 degrees is usually preferable for off-roading vehicles.
Another feature the Cybertruck has that will be extremely useful here is its air suspension. One reason the Tesla Cybertruck’s release has been pushed back is that the company is incorporating active suspension systems into its design.
This will allow the Cybertruck to self-level when carrying heavy payloads and adjust to uneven terrain more easily. A feature that will come in handy when you’re towing your camper to the ideal, secluded spot.
Vault Size and Storage Capacity and Payload Capacity
The final specs we will cover for the Cybertruck are its vault size, storage capacity, and payload capacity, which are all important when using this vehicle for common truck purposes.
Again, since the Cybertruck has the same dimensions across all forms, these specs will be the same regardless of the motors present.
The vault simply refers to the Cybertruck’s bed, and its length measures to be 6.5 feet which is actually larger than many popular truck models. This electric pickup truck’s built-in tailgate ramp, in addition to its decent vault size, makes it perfect for towing four-wheelers, motorcycles, and other hefty sports/travel vehicles.
In terms of cargo specs, the Cybertruck has 100 cubic feet of storage and boasts a carrying payload capacity of 3500 pounds, which is nearly double the average capacity of a gas-powered truck.
Considering these specs, in addition to those previously mentioned, you should have no problem fulfilling the typical truck-related tasks using the Cybertruck.
How Does the Cybertruck Compare to Other Trucks?
In our analysis of the Cybertruck’s speed-related specs above, we’ve been comparing it to the 2019 Porsche 911 that Musk used in his acceleration demonstration.
However, although this comparison makes the Cybertruck’s feats all the more impressive, it isn’t a great match considering the Cybertruck isn’t a sports car; it’s an electric pickup truck. So, how does it compare to other cars of the same body type?
For this comparison, we’re going to look at the Cybertruck’s speed capabilities in addition to the other specs we’ve listed above so you can have a comprehensive look at how the Cybertruck will compare to other popular trucks on the market.
Just to recap, the Tesla Cybertruck has three different 0-60 acceleration times and top speeds depending on which form you have chosen. The single motor has a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 110 miles per hour, the dual motor has a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 120 miles per hour, and the tri-motor has a 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds with a top speed of 130.
Compared to the average truck, the single motor is within the realm of being average, if not slightly above, whereas the dual and tri-motor forms far exceed the typical truck 0-60 times. Currently, the pickup truck with the fastest 0-60 time is the 2021 Rivian R1T with a 0-60 of 3 seconds, meaning the Cybertruck would exceed its time if released with the 2.9 it is currently projected for.
In terms of top speed, while the Cybertruck can’t really compete with most sports cars, it sits up there on the list of fastest pickup trucks with its 110-130 miles per hour top speed. Other pickup trucks deemed to be the fastest on the market have top speeds ranging from 106-150 miles per hour, so the Cybertruck can definitely compete here.
Trucks were essentially created to handle heavy loads, which is why the average pickup truck can tow up to 5,000-10,000 pounds reliably, depending on the model.
However, once you get into the realm of ¾ ton pickups, the towing capacity skyrockets to an average of 12,000-15,000 lbs. Comparatively, the Cybertruck is within the realm of being average on the towing capacity scale. The single motor form is definitely on the lower scale with a capacity of 7,500 pounds, but the other two forms are within the typical capabilities of a ¾ ton pickup.
The Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is currently the leading pickup in terms of towing capacity, capable of pulling up to 36,000 pounds. Although there are areas where the Cybertruck definitely pushes the boundaries of normalcy, it has average performance in towing.
We’ve touched pretty briefly on a lot of these specs when compared to the average truck in our previous section, but we’ll reiterate them here.
Starting with the vault, the Cybertruck has a decently long truck bed that is more or less average for any pickup truck. A bed length of 7-8 feet is considered long, and some pickup trucks only have a bed that measures about 5 feet long. So, the Cybertruck’s 6.5-foot-long vault doesn’t set any records, but it’s a good enough size to perform most truck-related tasks.
In terms of off-roading, the Cybertrucks 16-inch ground clearance is nearly double the height of some of the top-most ranked pickup trucks on the market. The 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel from Dodge, for instance, has a ground clearance of 8.7 inches. The trucks best equipped for off-roading will have ground clearances from 8-12 inches, but few have more than that, making the Cybertruck a leading force in this field.
As far as approach and departure angles are concerned, these measurements are reasonably average for any truck, especially if off-roading is involved.
This is where Tesla loses a lot of die-hard truckers. Yes, we recognize this point has nothing to do with the Cybertruck’s speed, but it actually affects the vehicle significantly in terms of its success in sales.
We previously discussed a significant reason why the Cybertruck has its futuristic, polyhedric design instead of following the typical pickup truck aesthetic. While the design is affected by its material as much as Musk and von Holzhausen’s preferred appearance, its unique direction is obviously nothing like any truck currently on the market.
On the one hand, Cybertruck’s strange exterior design gives people a lot to talk about, keeping it in the public eye. On the other hand, it has received a great deal of criticism and disapproval, particularly from truck enthusiasts.
The Cybertruck is missing so many design features that are staples of modern-day trucks that people sometimes can’t even recognize that this electric vehicle identifies as a truck at all.
While Tesla gets points for thinking outside of the box with this one, it might bite them back in the end when the everyday consumer doesn’t want to give up their comfortable and sporty trucks for this sharp, otherworldly alternative.
Tesla’s Cybertruck is a sheer force to be reckoned with on the roads when it comes to its 0-60 acceleration time that outmatches even the best sports cars. Its top speed, on the other hand, is average for a truck and sub-par for a sport’s car. If you’re looking for a speed demon that will defeat the best of sports cars, the Cybertruck isn’t going to be your first choice.
However, thanks to Tesla’s ingenuity, it can excel above the average car and pickup truck on nearly every other spec. Be sure to look out for the mass production of the Cybertruck in 2022, and don’t be afraid to pre-order your own today. We recommend the single motor for the everyday driver and the tri-motor for the off-roading adventurer and camping enthusiast.