Tesla Inc. told California regulators this week its upcoming Cybertruck will be classified as a medium-duty pickup, putting it in a separate class from the Ford F-150 that CEO Elon Musk has been quick to pit the electric pickup against.
"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,'" Sarah Van Cleve, Tesla's senior managing policy advisor, said in a Dec. 9 letter to the California Air and Resources Board.
The letter was submitted as the state weighs a new rule -- the nation's first sales standard for electric trucks -- that some analysts estimate would require truck manufacturers to sell about 75,000 electric trucks in the state by 2030.
Class 2B pickups have a gross vehicle weight rating between 8,501–10,000 lbs. The 2B classification covers Ford's F-250 Super Duty, Fiat Chrysler's Ram 2500 and General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado 2500.
The Tesla pickup's classification raises further questions about a stunt video the automaker posted after the Cybertruck's reveal in which the Tesla pickup drug an F-150 uphill in a tug-of-war contest. The video drew scrutiny from observers who noted it was not an apples-to-apples comparison between the heavier, all-wheel-drive Cybertruck and what appeared to be a base, two-wheel drive F-150.
Musk has vowed on Twitter the Cybertruck will be better than the F-150, but it fails to stack up in some metrics to the more comparable F-250 Super Duty.
The gasoline version of the 2020 F-250 has a maximum payload of 4,260 lbs. and a maximum tow rating of 19,500 lbs., while the diesel variant has a maximum payload of 3,940 lbs. and maximum towing of 22,800 lbs. Both figures beat the Cybertruck's expected payload of up to 3,500 lbs. and towing capacity of more than 14,000 pounds. The 2020 F-250, which Ford recently freshened, is on sale now.
A Ford spokesman late Thursday declined to comment about the Cybertruck's classification.