Tesla put out a major claim during its Cybertruck unveiling event in late November when it stated that it was able to out-drag race a Porsche 911 while towing the same vehicle.
YouTube channel Engineering Explained has challenged the claim, stating that the Cybertruck is not faster than the Porsche, at least not while towing one.
CEO Elon Musk said at the event after showing the video of the drag race that “[The Cybertruck] can tow a Porsche 911 across the quarter mile faster than the Porsche 911 can go by itself,” but Jason Fenske of the Engineering Explained YouTube channel thought the claim was probably a little far fetched, so he used math to challenge the idea.
Initially, Fenske stated that Tesla likely used the slowest version of the Porsche 911, which is the 911 Carerra T, which features a manual transmission.
— Engineering Explained (@jasonfenske13) January 12, 2024
Additionally, Maps was able to verify that the race Tesla portrayed in the video happened over an eighth of a mile and not a quarter-mile like the company claimed in its video.
MotorTrend also told Fenske that their 1/8th-mile time for the Porsche 911 Carerra T was 8.0 seconds at 93.1 MPH, which is faster than what math would show the time was for the Cybertruck towing the same vehicle, which was roughly 8.25 seconds. In the video, the Porsche completed the 1/8-mile in 8.38 seconds.
The Cybertruck, on its own, can complete the 1/8-mile drag in 6.94 seconds at 99 MPH. While towing the 911 Carerra T, the 1/8-mile was completed in 8.25 seconds, or 1.31 seconds slower than without towing the car.
Its 11.0-second 1/4-mile time with the additional 1.31 seconds added due to towing the car would put the time at 12.3 seconds, or roughly .8 seconds slower than the Carerra T’s 1/4-mile time of 11.5 seconds.
Fenske’s math shows that the Cybertruck would not be able to beat the Carerra 911 T in the 1/4-mile while towing a Carerra 911 T, like Musk said.
Tesla Cybertruck engineer Wes Morril said that Tesla did not continue to do a 1/4-mile race because trailer tires were only rated to 80 MPH, and a longer test would surely go over that speed.
“We opted to call it a day before someone got hurt,” he said.
Simulations that Tesla performed also apparently showed the race would be close but with the “same net result, so no need to risk it,” Morrill added.
Engineering Explained’s full Cybertruck drag test explanation is available below: