Aerodynamic Simulation Shows That the Tesla Cybertruck Might Be As Efficient as a Brick

Tesla Cybertruck CFD simulation 10 photos
Photo: Numeric Systems GmbH via YouTube, @ya78756632 via X
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Everyone eagerly awaits Tesla to reveal Cybertruck's specifications, the most important being its range and efficiency. Until then, a simulation based on a publicly available 3D model shows that the electric pickup might be as aerodynamically efficient as a brick.
A lot has been speculated on Tesla Cybertruck's specifications, although these speculations have deepened the mystery more than offering clues. Feature-wise, seeing the Cybertruck so many times has provided many clues, although I'm sure Tesla will still surprise us with some features that nobody saw coming. Regarding specifications, though, getting the correct information has been almost impossible.

Earlier this year, Elon Musk confirmed that the Cybertruck would be "the first sub-19 feet truck with four doors and a 6+ feet bed." That was our only official specification until the Cybertruck appeared in showrooms, and Tesla put up a billboard revealing the payload and tow rating. Based on this, the "Ultra-tough SMC bed" can carry up to 2,500 lbs. of cargo and tow up to 11,000 lbs. We still don't know which version of the Cybertruck this refers to, but I believe it's the dual-motor variant.

This is corroborated by semi-official rumors from Tesla employees, who claimed that all Cybertruck deliveries would be dual-motor at the start. The three-motor Cybertruck will not ship until the second quarter of next year, although the third quarter is more likely. One Tesla team member in Denver also confirmed that the 20 trucks on display across the US are all dual-motor.

Another information coming from a San Diego showroom manager revealed the battery capacity. The Cybertruck will start deliveries with a relatively small battery pack with a 123-kWh capacity. This explains why a recent video showed that the Cybertruck might only have a 270-mile range. This is lower than what Tesla claimed for the dual-motor Cybertruck (300 miles) when it launched in 2019.

While the range of the Cybertruck is hard to estimate based on little information, we now have another projection that seems to confirm the 270-mile range. According to a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation done by Numeric Systems in Germany, the Cybertruck doesn't impress in the aerodynamics department. The lab performed two simulations based on publicly available Cybertruck geometry and found the Cybertruck to be lacking.

Based on these simulations, the Cybertruck might have a drag coefficient between 0.39 and 0.44. Compared with the Rivian R1T, which has a Cd=0.30, the Cybertruck seems like a brick. Nevertheless, it's better than the Ford F-150 Lightning, which has a 0.56 drag coefficient. The accuracy of the simulations depends very much on the Cybertruck geometry, which might be (or not) up-to-date or very precise.

However, considering the coefficient of drag and the battery capacity, Tesla enthusiast Troy Teslike calculated the likely range of the Cybertruck. In the more favorable scenario of the Cd=0.39, the estimated EPA range could reach 293 miles. However, if the Cd=0.44, the range drops to 268 miles. This coincidentally is the same as the one calculated from the infotainment screen's video.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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