Could the pending Tesla Cybertruck appeal to RVers?

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By James Raia
The unveiling of the electric Tesla Cybertruck last November attracted as much attention as any vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Its futuristic design resembles a vehicle in a Mad Max movie, and the flashy debut was polarizing. It drew unabashed praise and laughter.

Officially, it’s described as “an all-electric, battery-powered, light commercial vehicle.” Three models have been announced, with range estimates of 250–500 miles and an estimated 0–60 mph time of 2.9–6.5 seconds, depending on the model.

The Tesla CyberTruck wil have massing towing ability but for RVers?
The Tesla Cybertruck will have massive towing ability but will RVers go for it?

Is it possibly a precursor to more utilitarian vehicle creations or was Tesla owner Elon Musk pranking the industry? For RV enthusiasts, the prevailing question is, is it really a truck and, if so, can it tow an RV or trailer?

Tesla responded with a resounding “Yes.” Musk manufactured the Cybertruck as a first in the industry. It will be a fully electric (no gas) vehicle.

According to Tesla specs, the Cybertruck will be constructed “with cold-pressed, unpainted stainless steel.” It will have a towing capacity of as much as 14,000 pounds.

Tesla reports: “With up to 3,500 pounds of payload capacity and adjustable air suspension, the Cybertruck is the most powerful tool we have ever built, engineered with 100-cubic-feet of the exterior, lockable storage, including a magic tonneau cover that is strong enough to stand on.”

The manufacturer describes the truck’s barren and stealth appearance as “A nearly impenetrable exoskeleton. Every component is designed for superior strength and endurance, from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin to Tesla armor glass.

“If there was something better, we’d use it. The exterior construction helps eliminate dents, damage and long-term corrosion with a smooth monochrome exoskeleton that puts the shell on the outside of the car and provides you and passengers maximum protection.”

Tesla enthusiasts are true believers. According to the manufacturer, pre-orders for the truck (the release date is undetermined) are booming. But for potential buyers who wish to tow an RV with the Cybertruck, some questions loom: How many miles will the truck tow an RV? How efficiently will it brake?

Tesla hasn’t provided the information, but it recently released an image of how a camper option might work, and it claims it will soon be available. Prices haven’t been released.

James Raia is the editor of The Weekly Driver.

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Frank
6 months ago

Prices are definitely available
39900 for 250 mile 7500lb version
49900 for 350 mile 10000 lb;
69900 for 500 mile 14000 lb towing version

Geoff Berry
6 months ago

There are lots of videos online with current Tesla vehicles towing. Their range is down by 75%. You might tow a trailer but it won’t be far.

David English
6 months ago

You know…. the trailer can hold an extra battery… right? How much range do you want? Add batteries… just say’in.

Sure thing, one of these things is going to tow a trailer across the entire country without a recharge. Might not be much of an RV trailer, but the stunt will prove a point.

The next stunt will be when one spends a year driving back with the only recharge coming from solar panels. Nice big trailer, with panels that fold out into awnings. Camp a week, drive, camp a week, drive…

It’s coming.

Tyler
6 months ago
Reply to  David English

Diminishing returns. Batteries are heavy.

David English
6 months ago
Reply to  Tyler

I did the napkin math… with today’s tech, this thing would max out at 3000 to 5000K, depending on how much range reduced with weight. Probably not all that much in the prairies, more wind resistance. So, the batteries will likely need to be a bit better to go coast to coast.

However, the solar panel route actually works out better than expected. Even without the awnings on a 24′ trailer, recharge is in the 50 hour range. So, a week of reasonable weather. Adding awnings and it gets even better. Not even all that expensive. I expect people will be doing this soon.

Joe
6 months ago

I have a farm. I just want to tow 4 tons five miles on a flatbed a couple dozen times during harvest. Mostly downhill from farm to processor, so I’ll probably gain range on the round trip.

Michael
6 months ago

Does any vehicle manufacturer tell you how far you’d go pulling a trailer? It’s an impossible question, as differences in the weight and drag of the trailers will change the range you get.

Tyler
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael

They don’t really have to though, there’s gas stations everywhere. This is not a practical tow vehicle for most people. Unless you want to be completely confined to a specific highway, and don’t mind stopping every 100 miles for an hour, it’s not the right vehicle for the job. It’s for the city.

Captn John
6 months ago

Talk tp me when it can pull a 16k 5er with 4200# payload over 1000 miles between fuel stops like my dually does

Michael
6 months ago
Reply to  Captn John

The key word in Tesla’s description is “light”. Think the F150 market. Anyone looking to replace an F450 with an electric vehicle will need to shop elsewhere.

Kim
6 months ago

The answer to many people’s question of “can I tow this XX trailer with this XX truck?”
is often “yes”, but can the truck stop it?

Tommy Molnar
6 months ago

I don’t understand the “zero to sixty” thing. This only shows up in electric car ads. Nobody else advertise this, probably because nobody cares. Just sayin’.

Michael
6 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Zero to sixty has been a mainstay of how vehicles accelerations are compared for as long as I’ve been reading car magazines. Agree that it doesn’t say much when you’re towing, where you’re going to be accelerating a lot slower.

John Ahrens
6 months ago

I’ve seen at least two EV truck manufacturers ads in RVTravel over the past few weeks that have better looking, and by the numbers better performing trucks than the Tesla truck. Of course, they don’t get the press of Tesla. One was Bollinger Motors, https://bollingermotors.com, but the more interesting was the Badger by Nikola Motors, https://nikolamotor.com/badger, since it uses a hydrogen fuel cell, rather than batteries alone

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
6 months ago
Reply to  John Ahrens

Just keep in mind, John, that when you see “ads” on RVtravel, that doesn’t necessarily we’ve put them in the newsletters. A lot of the ads that appear are from Google and are “auto-generated,” meaning we have virtually no control over them. They just pop up based on something the viewer has clicked on regarding a particular topic or item (“Big Brother,” and all of that). 😯 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Michael
6 months ago
Reply to  John Ahrens

The Bollinger Motors guys don’t have any track record of actually manufacturing a vehicle, and are talking about prices well north of $100K. The Nikola guys have more of a track record, but where exactly would one find hydrogen to refuel with? The tiny number of hydrogen filling stations that exist are all in urban areas to support commercial vehicle fleets, and so are pretty useless for the typical RVer.

Bob p
6 months ago

As proven by Fast Lane Car on you tube using a Tesla model X which is rated to pull 4000lb the car pulling a trailer at the rated weight used so much battery power the range was severely limited to the point they had to call for back up in order to make it from charger to charger. So until the infrastructure is in place and recharging is improved to compare to ICE vehicles they will not be a viable alternative as a tow vehicle. They are interesting toys and commuter cars but you can’t work with them if you have to tow something.

John Gilkison
6 months ago

It is going to be problematic to tow when the Cd = 0.30 truck goes to Cd = 0.70.

Member
Mike Sokol (@mike)
6 months ago

I think the idea of the Tesla Cybertruck is a marketing gimmick playing on the American males’ need for more horsepower in a pickup truck. You’ll note that every American pickup truck manufacturer plays the horsepower game each year but upping the torque, horsepower, and towing capacity to be a bit bigger than the competition. We’re seeing the same thing with electric vehicles where the heart-pounding acceleration is the main marketing touchstone, and miles between charges being in second (or even third) place. Now I’m not arguing their marketing points because it works in the American marketplace. Heck, IIRC even the Ford pickup with the EcoBoost gas engine added exhaust sounds into the media player’s speakers so the driver would hear the sounds of a throaty exhaust and be excited by them. I do the same vroom-vroom driving a grocery cart around the store (which may be why my wife insists on pushing the cart herself).

In any event, electric vehicles do have outstanding acceleration due to the nature of electric motors which exhibit huge stall torque, but I think for an electric tow vehicle the primary issue should be miles between charges, followed closely by charging times. As far as an electric vehicle being as easy to “fill up” as a gas or diesel car or truck at a gas station, we’re not there yet. But there’s a lot of really smart people working on battery technology that will eventually make electric vehicles a reality for everyone, including semi-trucks and Class-A RVs.

Donald N Wright
6 months ago

I do not need this acceleration, I need longer battery life for an extended range. I would like to see this truck in production, maybe they can shake up truck manufacturers and boxy trailer manufacturers too. Imagine an RV trailer that lasts twenty years of use…