Tesla Cybertruck Will Have More Towing Range than a Gas Ford F150 $TSLA

Nextbigfuture has calculated that a Tesla Cybertruck will be able to beat the range of a gas-powered Ford F150. This is based upon the calculated Tesla Cybertruck specifications with the assumption they will use Tesla Semi technology. A Ford F150 has a 23 gallon fuel tank and gets 460 miles of range without carrying anything and gets 207 miles of range with payload. F150 handles 8,200 lbs. of towing and maximum payload of 1,985 lbs. The F-150 Platinum has a 36 gallon tank. The platinum has a range of 324 mile range with a heavy load.

Tesla Cybertruck will also use several Plaid engines and a 1000 volt powertrain. This is optimized to not lose range under load. Cybertrucks with Semi engines and powertrain should have 200 miles of range with full loads with 85 kWh batteries and 250 miles with 110 kWh. A 180 kWh pack should give 500 miles empty and 400 miles under class 4 load.

I matched the formula for energy used by the Tesla Semi for their recent 500-mile video recorded delivery of 81,000 lbs. Tesla is about 13% from optimal assuming they drove at 60mph on their 500-mile test. If they drove at 52mph then they were 27% from optimal. Optimal based upon known aerodynamics and other parameters. The formula is at the bottom of this article.

A Tesla Cybertruck that is able to match the Tesla Semi at 13% from optimal energy usage while towing or moving loads would surpass a Ford F150 range while towing with a 110 kWh battery pack.

I have used a formula for calculating the energy usage for an electric vehicle based upon its weight, speed and aerodynamics.

This formula is from the – ACS Energy Letter – Performance Metrics Required of Next-Generation Batteries to Make a Practical Electric Semi Truck [2017, American Chemical Society]

Instagrammer, Ftronz, posted a picture and video of a beta production Tesla Cybertruck.

Chemistry Researchers Calculated Better Batteries Would Be Needed for Semi Trucks

Tesla is using a 900-1000 kWh battery to move 22 tons of cargo over 500 miles and is using about 550 kWh for a 300 mile range Semi truck. This is beyond what was expected from lithium ion batteries for the 2017 paper.

Formula for Electric Trucks

The pack energy is (EP) depends on the energy utilized to overcome aerodynamic drag forces, frictional forces, the road gradient, and inertial forces. A significant fraction of the energy used to overcome inertial forces is recovered via regenerative braking when the vehicle is decelerating.

The important parameters are the coefficient of drag (Cd), average velocity (v) and root-mean-square of the velocity (vrms), the coefficient of rolling resistance (Crr), the gross on-road vehicle weight (GVW) represented by (WT) (includes the payload and battery pack), the road gradient Z, and the total time taken for a fixed driving range determined from .

The road gradient term is accounted for using the expression (Z = r/100), where r is the percentage road grade and (tf) is the fraction of time the vehicle spends at a road grade of r%.

They assume a road grade r of 1% and (tf) of 15%.

The other fixed parameters are ρ, the density of air (1.2 kg/m3), g the acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s2), A the frontal area of the vehicle (7.2 m2), a the mean acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle (0.112 m/s2). ηbw is the battery-to-wheels efficiency of ~85% which includes the battery discharge efficiency of 95% and a drivetrain efficiency of 90%. ηbrk accounts for the efficiency of the brakes and is assumed to be 97%.

20 thoughts on “Tesla Cybertruck Will Have More Towing Range than a Gas Ford F150 $TSLA”

  1. The factor that is mostly ignored in this article is time. Time is a truckers biggest enemy and is the one factor that cannot be controlled. All of these figures that are given for semis go out the window after the first 500 miles. The diesel truck will refuel in 30 minutes and continue on for another 500 miles. The battery truck will be down for at least 8 hours. For the single driver, that may work out OK so as to keep up with the logbook, but for teams doing long haul, would be out of the question. This puts another limit on how many electric semis can replace diesels. It can be said that soon extra-fast charging will even the playing field, but it also takes a special charger to do that. How long will it take truck stops and other fueling stations to build that infrastructure? The cost will be enormous, and recouping the expense in a timely manner unsure.

    • Further, Brian has repeatedly said that this first version of the Tesla Semi is not expected to displace diesel semis for long haul use — it is best suited for regional uses, which is exactly what the initial customers intend to use it for.

      Future improvements in battery technology and in charging methods may eventually extend the capabilities of future versions of Tesla Semi to make them suitable for long haul trucking. The first version of a product does not have to be suitable for all segments of the market in order for the product to be successful.

      • Yes, digital cameras didn’t replace film cameras for the high end use cases for another 10 years after they were popular for home use.
        However, the film processing business in shopping malls all died rapidly. Owning a film camera became quite inconvenient.

        The scales will tip for EVs and all other powertrains will become quite inconvenient

        • It will take a lot longer for it to become very inconvenient to drive ICE vehicles than it did for it to become very inconvenient to use film cameras. The time that becomes true will eventually come, but ICE vehicles will be on the roads for quite a long time, and so the services needed by drivers of ICE vehicles will disappear only slowly.

  2. To anyone who thinks lithium is the answer to our battery needs please see the following:
    Mining of minerals & limits of growth by Simon P. Michaux.
    He has published a 1000 page report outlining the issues humanity will have with energy consumption in the near future.
    Perhaps Brian would like to summarize & put his views on the article.

  3. This “study” was it done in traffic driving. Hilly driving. Cold weather? And when it came time to “refuel” for maximum range who was on the road first?

  4. This seems a bit optimistic. C&D tested EV passenger trucks while towing. They went from 500-700 Wh/mi without a trailer to >1kWh/mi with a trailer. I can’t imagine how Tesla drivetrain could prevent aerodynamic drag from a trailer.


    Unless Tesla can do aero magic for trailers that come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, it’ll take more than 200kWh to provide 200 miles of range.

    • Yes, aerodynamic modifications will be needed for the towing trailers for the ranges described. If aerodynamics are terrible for the trailer then the range will fall. For example, going for 0.39 drag to 0.8 would cut the range almost in half, from 400 miles for thge 180kWh to about 220. Still more than the regular F150 gas.

      • It’s hardly a fair comparison if you assume the load has optimized aerodynamics only for the cybertruck. Most of the time people are hauling heavy loads, it’s basically impossible to do anything about the aerodynamics!

        Sure, if you were routinely using it to haul some bulk commodity in a commercial context. But then you’d be able to optimize the trailer’s aerodynamics for the ICE truck, too.

        • Easy just buy all brand new equipment to haul stuff.

          Breakdown items so it can be loaded into a highly aerodynamic closed trailer rather than just having it in an open trailer.

          Tow a boat? Nope
          Tow fun toys? Nope
          Open trailers? Nope

          Unbelievable. All this math for what? Something that even a hillbilly with grade 4 education could figure out doesn’t make sense in the real world for most towing needs.

          What about cold weather. 55% range loss during this cold snap, awesome stuff…

          EVs are great but they are far away from being useful in some usecases, towing being one of them.

    • I believe Brian is suggesting they will use one motor for constant highway speed as semi does. The other motor(s) engaged for acceleration and to capture energy during downhill and stopping through regenerative braking

  5. In Europe, a category B driving license only allows total weight of 3500 kg / 7700 lbs.
    Do you have any restrictions over there?

  6. A bit later there ought to be a variety of trailers matched to Cyber Truck that have their own battery packs and motors and are hitched but don’t put any load on the truck at all and don’t reduce it’s range at all. Like Autonomy these might work with ICE vehicles too – but it won’t matter much. The battery packs ought to have secondary use for many trailers including work trailers used by Tesla rangers and campers.

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