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Tesla Cybertruck might not be a Ford F-150 rival, classification document suggests

The Cybertruck may actually be a medium-duty truck, which wouldn't compete with a light-duty pickup like the F-150.

Tesla Cybertruck
This electric pickup might actually compete with a Ford F-250.
Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Tesla called Ford out the evening it unveiled its Cybertruck, and since then, Ford's F-150 has been consistently dragged into internet battles. Yet, Tesla's electric truck may not actually be an F-150 competitor at all.

Instead, according to documents Tesla filed with the California Air Resources Board, "[the Cybertruck] should very likely qualify as a 'Class 2B-3 medium-duty vehicle." Automotive News first reported on the documents Tesla filed on Dec. 9 in the state. Noting a potential medium-duty classification, that would make the Ford F-250, Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and the Ram 2500 its proper comparable set -- not a light-duty F-150, Silverado 1500 or Ram 1500.

All of the trucks named are far more capable than their light-duty brethren, and as the original report points out, it provides fresh speculation around the Cybertruck vs. F-150 tug-of-war match that's been put under the internet's microscope. Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sarah Van Cleve, Tesla's senior managing policy advisor, is the individual quoted in the documents filed with CARB, and she adds the company expects the Cybertruck to tow "7,500-14,000-plus pounds." Noting this classification covers pickups with a gross vehicle rating of 8,501 to 10,000 pounds, it also provides insight into how much a production Cybertruck may weigh.

If the Cybertruck receives a medium-duty classification, its specs quickly trail that of an F-250. Tesla's estimates of 7,500 to 14,000 pounds of towing capability (the latter figure presumably for more powerful models) place it 5,500 pounds shy of a gasoline-powered F-250. The diesel-powered model will pull 8,800 more pounds.

Max towing ratings are sometimes glorified spitting contests, though. And there's always the argument to make that Tesla's figures come from a zero-emissions pickup.

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