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Will Cybertruck be a Class 3 vehicle?

android04

Member
Apr 1, 2016
414
423
Crete, Nebraska
I hope not, but it could be if Tesla decides to take the easy way out of crash test safety. Let me explain my thought process.

Many are wondering about the expected crash test safety and ratings of the Cybertruck since its body (and exoskeleton a.k.a. frame) are made of a big piece of stainless steel. If Tesla decides to just classify it as a Class 3 vehicle based on the Federal Highway Administration classes & categories then it would be exempt from crash testing and airbag requirements (See attached pictures from Alternative Fuels Data Center: Maps and Data). I learned about this due to my past interest in the Bollinger B1, which ended up being classified as Class 3 due to Bollinger not having to do crash testing or include airbags. And that ended my interest in it (along with the very high price). Class 3 vehicle examples are delivery trucks (think UPS, FedEx), moving trucks, or other commercial vehicles.

First, let me explain about the Bollinger B1 (check out BOLLINGER MOTORS - ALL ELECTRIC TRUCKS - BOLLINGER MOTORS if you've never heard of it). It weighs around 3,800 lbs (curb weight), a payload capacity of 5,201 lbs, and a tow rating of 7,500 lbs. So it's GVWR is a sum of the curb weight, payload capacity (including passengers and cargo), and trailer tongue weight (10-15% of tow rating). That would be around 3,800 + 5,201 + (7,500 * 0.15) = 10,126 lbs. This puts it above the 10,001 lbs and into the Class 3 vehicle category.

Now on to Cybertruck, starting with the single-motor Cybertruck (a.k.a. Cybertruck Single). I expect the 3,500 lb payload capacity to be the same for all Cybertruck trims, since the only expected difference between them will be the battery and motors. The Cybertruck Single tow rating is 7,500 lbs. I expect Cybertruck Single to have a 100 kWh and it's curb weight to be around 6,000 lbs. So it's GVWR could be around 6,000 + 3,500 + (7,500 * 0.15) = 10,625 lbs. This also puts it above the 10,001 lbs minimum for the Class 3 vehicle category.

Finally, let's do Cybertruck Tri-motor (a.k.a. Cybertruck Tri). I expect it to have a 200 kWh battery (adding about 1000 lbs) along with added weight from the 3rd motor (adding about 300 lbs). This would increase it's curb weight to 7,300 lbs. It also has a higher tow rating of 14,000 lbs. So it's GVWR could be around 7,300 + 3,500 + (14,000 * 0.15) = 12,900 lbs. Still within Class 3 vehicle category (of which 14,000 lbs is the max).

In short, this is just my educated guess at weights and possible categorization of the Cybertruck. I do hope that Tesla has proper safety engineered into it and that it has a very good crash test rating. At minimum, I know it will at least have airbags even if Tesla decides to not do crash testing and classifies it as Class 3.

* Note that I used GVWR in this write-up, but when a trailer is being included the more appropriate acronym is GCWR. See this informative page for the difference How to Measure Towing Capacity, GVWR, GCWR - Towing 101
 

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ThomasD

Active Member
Nov 22, 2019
1,067
451
Breckenridge Co Ky
I think it will weigh the same as a 3/4 1 ton pickup. Even though Musk said it would weigh the same as an F150 Also I would not tow anything over 8,000 pounds with a Truck weighing less than 6,000 lb Let alone towing 10 to 14,000 lbs. I don't care if the motors can do it or not.
 
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Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,522
3,518
Alameda, CA
What would be the issue with towing the bigger thing? People with pickups do it all the time. I am always shocked by the size of the RV towed down the highway next to me, was kinda hoping that could be me with a cyberTruck. At 7500 lbs. capacity my Jeep won't tow much more than a 23-foot Airstream.
 
Jan 30, 2020
200
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GA
If CT is Class 3, what then? Some exemptions may apply but that doesn’t mean it won’t be crash tested or otherwise safe, only that Tesla can achieve safety on their own terms.
 

ThomasD

Active Member
Nov 22, 2019
1,067
451
Breckenridge Co Ky
I just don't consider it safe I see trucks with trailers where the truck is just too light to be towing such a heavy trailer. I would rather not take the chance. The other day I saw a new Jeep Gladiator towing what appeared to be a 30 foot camper. The way that load was moving around just didn't look safe. I follow the 10 to 15 present rule
 

android04

Member
Apr 1, 2016
414
423
Crete, Nebraska
If CT is Class 3, what then? Some exemptions may apply but that doesn’t mean it won’t be crash tested or otherwise safe, only that Tesla can achieve safety on their own terms.
If it's Class 3 and it doesn't have any crash test rating (because it would be exempt) or it doesn't have good crash test safety results then I personally would not want to daily drive it. I want a car that is safe and will protect me and my family in a crash.
 

McMoo

Member
Nov 19, 2018
175
137
St. Louis
If it's Class 3 and it doesn't have any crash test rating (because it would be exempt) or it doesn't have good crash test safety results then I personally would not want to daily drive it. I want a car that is safe and will protect me and my family in a crash.

Tesla will make it the safest vehicle available regardless of crash test requirements. They promote how safe the other models are and the cybertruck will be no different. It will have the most airbags and other safety tech available. It’s also much easier to design crumple zones in an EV that doesn’t have a massive engine or other things in the way. I have no doubts that it will be the safest vehicle on the road for occupants when it comes out. It might not be the safest for other vehicles or pedestrians...
 
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android04

Member
Apr 1, 2016
414
423
Crete, Nebraska
Tesla will make it the safest vehicle available regardless of crash test requirements. They promote how safe the other models are and the cybertruck will be no different. It will have the most airbags and other safety tech available. It’s also much easier to design crumple zones in an EV that doesn’t have a massive engine or other things in the way. I have no doubts that it will be the safest vehicle on the road for occupants when it comes out. It might not be the safest for other vehicles or pedestrians...
I agree, especially since Tesla has an in-house crash test facility in California. I expect it to be very safe for the occupants. Just putting it out there that they would not have to do that if it's a Class 3 vehicle. As far as other vehicles or pedestrians go, I don't care too much about them. It would be terrible to kill or hurt others in an accident, but the same could happen with, say, a garbage truck or moving van.
 
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coleAK

Member
Oct 23, 2018
889
606
Alaska
What would be the issue with towing the bigger thing? People with pickups do it all the time. I am always shocked by the size of the RV towed down the highway next to me, was kinda hoping that could be me with a cyberTruck. At 7500 lbs. capacity my Jeep won't tow much more than a 23-foot Airstream.
Pulling isn’t the problem, it is controlling and stopping. When the trailer weighs much more then the truck it is easier to get in the scenario where the trailer is driving the truck (Bad). You better have a GC heep if your towing a 23’ AS since they are in the 6-7k lb range. My brother has a GC trailhawk that is rated to 6800 lbs and it takes a beating pulling his <5k lbs rPod .
 
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Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,522
3,518
Alameda, CA
I do sometimes tow my TOAD with the Jeep, it's just 1800 lbs so I don't have aux brakes for it. There are a few times when slowing around a curve that the Honda felt it was gonna push the Jeep into a jackknife. I have two RVs that I do most of my traveling in for this exact reason.

I am hoping I like towing with the cT, as giving up the RVs being able to cook or use the toidy during travel in order to get AutoPilot is already close to break-even.
 

mongo

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2017
13,099
39,859
Michigan
So it's GVWR is a sum of the curb weight, payload capacity (including passengers and cargo), and trailer tongue weight (10-15% of tow rating). That would be around 3,800 + 5,201 + (7,500 * 0.15) = 10,126 lbs. This puts it above the 10,001 lbs and into the Class 3 vehicle category.
Trailer tongue weight is part of payload, not in addition to it.
 
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Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,522
3,518
Alameda, CA
TL;DW version: If the driven vehicle's and the towed vehicle's GVWRs combine to be greater than 26,000 lbs you need a $5/year addition to your license in many states. If you get pulled over or are in an accident this will bite you in the butt.

This is not the empty weight, but the heaviest the vehicles are rated to carry, even if they are empty, you need the upgraded license. Since the Tri-Motor has a 14,000 lbs tow capacity the GVWR is gonna be big.
 

android04

Member
Apr 1, 2016
414
423
Crete, Nebraska
Trailer tongue weight is part of payload, not in addition to it.
If true, then Cybertruck might just miss out from being a Class 3. Or it could end up being heavier than I predict. We'll have to wait and see.

TL;DW version: If the driven vehicle's and the towed vehicle's GVWRs combine to be greater than 26,000 lbs you need a $5/year addition to your license in many states. If you get pulled over or are in an accident this will bite you in the butt.

This is not the empty weight, but the heaviest the vehicles are rated to carry, even if they are empty, you need the upgraded license. Since the Tri-Motor has a 14,000 lbs tow capacity the GVWR is gonna be big.
I think even the Trimotor will be safe from that, but only time will tell.
 

coleAK

Member
Oct 23, 2018
889
606
Alaska
I do sometimes tow my TOAD with the Jeep, it's just 1800 lbs so I don't have aux brakes for it. There are a few times when slowing around a curve that the Honda felt it was gonna push the Jeep into a jackknife. I have two RVs that I do most of my traveling in for this exact reason.

I am hoping I like towing with the cT, as giving up the RVs being able to cook or use the toidy during travel in order to get AutoPilot is already close to break-even.
There are a lot of really nice 22-24’ 6500-8000 lb campers out there that a triple motor CT will probably tow very well. I wouldn’t go larger than that without a 1ton and a 5th wheel ( or Tesla semi). I’ve probably towed a camper 80-100k miles over the last 12 years. Had an airstream 25 for 6 years and now on our 6th summer with an Outdoor RV 22 BHS. Can’t go wrong with ORV or Lance, airstream tend to be love or hate.
 

android04

Member
Apr 1, 2016
414
423
Crete, Nebraska
So I did some thinking and calculating on the possible Cybertruck curb weights and I take it back that I thought it could possibly be a Class 3 vehicle. I used a side photo of the Cybertruck and measured the area, then scaled it to know full sized dimensions. I used that to determine the surface area of the stainless steel exoskeleton. Then I calculated the weight of the exoskeleton based on a 5"x5" sample that I have of 3mm thick 304 stainless steel. I came up with a possible exoskeleton weight of 810 lbs, which is less than I thought. Based on estimations I made using known weights for other Tesla battery packs, motors, whees+tires, and other components I think the following weights are the lower ranges (I also used the most current EPA range estimates of other Teslas to estimate battery sizes):
Cybertruck Single Motor: 4,100 lb curb weight with a 80kWh battery pack (Similar weight to Model 3 LR AWD)
Cybertruck Dual Motor: 4,600 lb curb weight with a 100kWh battery pack (Similar weight to Model S 90 RWD)
Cybertruck Tri Motor: 5,400 lb curb weight with a 170kWh battery pack (Similar weight to Model X 100D)

I think the above are optimistic best-case weights, but more likely it will weigh about 500 lbs more. Worst case it could be 800 lbs more.
 
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coleAK

Member
Oct 23, 2018
889
606
Alaska
So I did some thinking and calculating on the possible Cybertruck curb weights and I take it back that I thought it could possibly be a Class 3 vehicle. I used a side photo of the Cybertruck and measured the area, then scaled it to know full sized dimensions. I used that to determine the surface area of the stainless steel exoskeleton. Then I calculated the weight of the exoskeleton based on a 5"x5" sample that I have of 3mm thick 304 stainless steel. I came up with a possible exoskeleton weight of 810 lbs, which is less than I thought. Based on estimations I made using known weights for other Tesla battery packs, motors, whees+tires, and other components I think the following weights are the lower ranges (I also used the most current EPA range estimates of other Teslas to estimate battery sizes):
Cybertruck Single Motor: 4,100 lb curb weight with a 80kWh battery pack (Similar weight to Model 3 LR AWD)
Cybertruck Dual Motor: 4,600 lb curb weight with a 100kWh battery pack (Similar weight to Model S 90 RWD)
Cybertruck Tri Motor: 5,400 lb curb weight with a 170kWh battery pack (Similar weight to Model X 100D)

I think the above are optimistic best-case weights, but more likely it will weigh about 500 lbs more. Worst case it could be 800 lbs more.
No way. The model 3 is much smaller than the CT. You are Making assumptions based on car platforms. Everything is heavier on trucks, heck between a model 3 and CT probably 150-200 lbs more just in tires and wheels. Just look at the fact a f150 is 20-25% heavier than an explorer. A v6 Toyota Highlander (car based) is 1200 lbs lighter (30%) then a v6 Land Cruiser (Truck based) and they are almost the same dimensions.

I’m saying 5500-6k lbs for the single. 6k-6500 for the duel and 6500-7k+ for the Tri.
 

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