EV Vs. ICE: How A Tesla Cybertruck Tows Against Diesel Ram Cummins, Ford F-150 XLT

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

After months of wavering, The Fast Lane (TFL) network of YouTube channels finally decided to pull the trigger on a Tesla Cybertruck. So it was only a matter of time before TFL Truck put the new electric truck through its paces by towing on the Ike Gauntlet. 

For this test, they’ve brought along two other big players in the truck market to compete against. Not the F-150 Lightning or the Silverado EV. No, the Cybertruck will be facing off against a V8 Ford F-150 XLT and a diesel Ram Cummins.

The trailer and cargo towed here weighs in at a combined 8,800 lbs. As for the competitors, the Turbo Diesel Ram Cummins has 370 hp, 850 lb-ft of torque. This example does have several off-road-focused modifications. But it is still at its core built for towing and hauling. 

The F-150 XLT has a 5-liter V8 engine with 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque and according to the hosts sports some of the best towing tech in the industry. The Cybertruck has approximately 590 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque. Like most electric trucks, it has the advantage of recuperating energy on the downhill which will help the truck maintain speed and regenerate the battery. 

The test itself averages speeds between 55 and 60 mph and is a mix of uphill and downhill towing. Maintaining speed during the uphill climb can be difficult for some trucks due to the 11,160-foot elevation. Over the years, several trucks have overheated during this test, including the Ford F-150 Hybrid.  

And holding speed on the 8-mile 7% grade descent can be just as difficult. The goal for any ICE vehicle on this test is to complete the descent with as few brake applications as possible. Whereas EV performance on this downhill is measured by how much energy is gained through regenerative braking. 

On the downhill, the Ram’s exhaust brake in tow haul mode kept it from exceeding 60 mph without cruise control. As a result, there wasn’t a need for a single brake application during the descent. The Ford F-150 did not perform quite as well as the Ram, requiring 8 brake applications on the downhill. But this was not a poor performance by any means. 

The Cybertruck began this same descent at a 53% state of charge (SoC). During the downhill, the hosts found a lot to like about the electric truck’s performance. “The stability of the truck and the comfort of the suspension I would rate highly.” Said Andre of the Cybertruck, who seemed impressed with the overall handling and stability. “It’s actually pretty compliant.”

They had some minor quibbles about the vehicle’s lack of physical controls and sometimes unintuitive software. But Andre argued that “if you own this vehicle, it will take you a day or two to get acquainted with it. And then you’ll become ‘one with the machine.’ Or so you hope, right?”

Still, they point out that the side mirrors aren’t well suited for towing, and there are currently no options for extendable mirrors.

By the end of the test, the Cybertruck regenerated 6.1 kWh of energy. This is actually a pretty poor performance compared to the other electric vehicles TFL Trucks has tested on this route and is consistent with other reports that the Cybertruck isn’t taking full advantage of regenerative braking when towing.

Model Energy Gained
Silverado EV  9.3 kWh
Rivian R1T  8 kWh
F-150 Lightning  8 kWh
Cybertruck  6.1 kWh

On the uphill climb, the Ram Cummins performed well, finishing the 7.4 mile run in 7 minutes 49 seconds. The climb was mostly effortless, with power to spare. Of course, efficiency dropped like a rock, averaging a mere 5.3 mpg. 

The Ford F-150 showed some limitations compared to the Ram. Not having a turbocharged engine, the hosts estimate a 30% power loss due to the lower air density. Several sections required near full throttle to maintain 60 mph. Even so, they had just enough power to spare and managed to complete the climb in only 7 minutes 47 seconds. Although the Ford only averaged 4.7 mpg.

It is in this section that the Cybertruck performed exceptionally well. Merging into highway traffic, accelerating from 35 to 60 mph took a mere in 5.73 seconds. The Ram and F-150 each took about 14.5 seconds to reach cruising speed. This performance was also comparable to the R1T’s 5.5 seconds, and significantly better than the Lightning and Silverado EV.

The Cybertruck then began the 7.4-mile climb at just under 59% SoC and finished at 41% SoC in 7 minutes 49 seconds. While this is a significant drop, the Cybertruck’s showing was actually one of the most efficient electric trucks TFL Truck has tested on the Ike thus far. It should be noted that a lot of factors can impact into the efficiency calculations. So take the comparison with a grain of salt since they were not all conducted on the same day under the same conditions.

Model Energy Used
Rivian R1T  20 kWh
Cybertruck  20.8 kWh
Silverado EV  23.3 kWh
F-150 Lightning  24.1 kWh

The hosts came away mostly impressed with the Cybertruck, saying that for specific use cases, an electric trucks could be the ideal vehicle. They give an ideal electric truck use case to someone who frequently hauls their powerboat half an hour down the road to the lake. But they aren’t necessarily the best tool for every job. 

“When you’re pulling a trailer with an electric truck it’s not going to be as easy when you’re going long distances.” Explains Kase. “But over short distances, like what we’re doing here, these trucks do perform really well in that sense.” 

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