Cybertruck Lead Engineer Confirms Elon Musk Misspoke, but There's an Upside

Cyberbeast vs. 911 15 photos
Photo: Engineering Explained and MikesCarInfo on YouTube | Edited
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The infamous quarter-mile drag race where the Cybertruck beat a Porsche 911 while towing another 911 did not happen. Tesla Cybertruck lead engineer Wes Morrill confirmed on Elon Musk's X (formerly Twitter) that the initial eighth-mile test runs were enough. Here's the gist of it.
The much-awaited Cybertruck is gradually reaching more and more paying customers. What they're getting is the dual-motor all-wheel-drive pickup truck, not the tri-motor Cyberbeast. However, the bullet-resistant battery-electric vehicle has been one of 2023's most anticipated new releases.

In a certain way, the Cybertruck is a blend that even newcomer Rivian couldn't achieve. As such, it makes sense to see people pay a lot of money for it, including a premium for the Foundation Series. And keep in mind that they're gladly signing up for this endeavor despite tests showing that charging performance isn't all that great and the range is half of what was initially promised.

Those who took delivery early also discovered that Full Self-Driving (V12) wasn't working, and there was no Autopilot either.

But what that consumer behavior showed was that Tesla didn't need to do any extra convincing. The pickup truck was hyped up enough to create a base of prospective buyers who just wanted to get their hands on an unconventionally-looking workhorse that would spend most of its life as a glorified grocery-getter.

Still, Tesla and Elon Musk felt it was necessary to show that internal combustion engine-powered sports cars built by iconic manufacturers lost their edge. They used a Cyberbeast to suggest that it could outrun a manual 911 while towing another 911.

The video showed the tri-motor pickup truck's quarter-mile drag race time, even though it seemed like the whole ordeal ended prematurely. Quickly after, Elon Musk confirmed that the EV "can tow a Porsche 911 across the quarter mile faster than the Porsche 911 can go by itself."

Tesla Cybertruck Debut
Photo: Tesla on YouTube / Engineering Explained on YouTube
An engineer decided to verify those claims, and he concluded that the Cyberbeast couldn't beat the entry-level 911 in a quarter-mile drag race while towing another 911. Once again, that wasn't needed. The pickup truck really didn't have to prove itself this way.

After the man's in-depth explanations amassed half a million views, the Cybertruck lead engineer confirmed that the quarter-mile race didn't happen. Morrill argued that it wasn't necessary because the best eighth-mile time the tri-motor Cybertruck got while towing the 911 was 7.8 seconds. Meanwhile, the manual Porsche needed 8.0 seconds to cross the eighth-mile marker.

Morrill said that going through with the quarter-mile race was unnecessary, and it might have even been unsafe. The trailer they used was rated to 80 mph maximum. The Cyberbeast crossed the finish line at 88 mph, whereas the 911 was clocked at 93 mph.

So, the team behind this marketing stunt ran a simulation of the quarter-mile race where the all-electric pickup truck won. "Our simulations showed the full 1/4 mi race would be close but with the same net result, so no need to risk it. We also had some room to further lightweight the trailer but didn't need to," added the Cybertruck's lead engineer.

As such, the quarter-mile drag race didn't happen. Does that make the Cybertruck or Cyberbeast look like flops? No. Is it a useless exaggeration? Yes. I will even go as far as to say that the engineer-turned-YouTuber's suggestion to have Elon Musk issue an apology to Porsche still stands.

Some might argue that advertisements don't have to tell us the whole truth, but the world's most valuable automaker should arguably be held to a higher standard than other companies. Tesla didn't even bother to mention that the 911 it used for this drag race had a seven-speed manual transmission.

But hey, at least someone from Tesla provided some extra clarifications.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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