The Tesla Cybertruck and Ford F-150 Lightning are set to make waves in the electric truck space, but how do they compare?
It’s a good time to be a truck shopper, because we’re finally starting to see some momentum in the electric-truck market. Not only is the Tesla Cybertruck set to arrive by the end of this year, but Ford has recently announced that it will be releasing the first F-150 Lightning pickup truck early in 2022.
The gasoline-fueled F-150 is America’s most popular vehicle, and Tesla produces some of America’s favorite electric cars. So which of these trucks is going to come out on top?
- Everything you need to know about the Tesla Cybertruck
- These are the best electric cars you can buy right now
Tesla’s Cybertruck may look like the product of Elon Musk’s fever dream, but it’s also marrying its premium electric experience with the versatile utility of a truck. Ford looks to be offering the same classic truck experience it’s offered for decades, but powered by a battery instead of a gas tank.
We’re putting both electric trucks in a head-to-head preview to help you decide which one should be on your wishlist. Here’s what we found, based on our Tesla Cybertruck vs Ford F-150 Lightning comparison.
Tesla Cybertruck vs. Ford F-150 Lightning: Specs
|Tesla Cybertruck||Ford F-150 Lightning|
|Release Date||Late 2021||Early 2022|
|Price||From $49,900||From $39,974|
|Power||3 motor, AWD||2 motor, AWD|
|Range||Up to 500 miles||Up to 300 miles|
|Charging||250 kW DC||150 kW DC|
|0-60 mph||2.9 seconds||TBA|
Tesla Cybertruck vs. Ford F-150 Lightning: Release date and price
Currently, the Tesla Cybertruck is on track for delivery by the end of the year, with Tesla recently confirming that production would begin before 2021 is over. But that is provided you want the tri- or dual-motor versions of the truck with all-wheel-drive, because the cheaper single-motor rear- wheel-drive Cybertruck won’t be arriving until late 2022.
Ford has laid out an “early 2022” release window for both F-150 Lightning models. That means both F-150s will hit the road after the first two Cybertruck models, though they will likely outpace the entry-level Cybertruck by several months.
Ford does have Tesla beat on price, though. The entry level F-150 Lightning, which comes with two motors and all-wheel drive, starts at $39,974. That’s a good $10,000 cheaper than the $49,900 you’d pay for a comparably equipped Tesla Cybertruck.
Meanwhile, the extended-range F-150 Lighting doesn’t have a price but is currently estimated to be around the mid-$50,000s. The top-tier Cybertruck is $69,900, though that does come with extra hardware and features, including extra range and a third motor.
Tesla Cybertruck vs. Ford F-150 Lightning: Design
The main selling point for the F-150 Lightning is that the truck is almost identical to its gasoline-powered and hybrid counterparts. There are some differences on the front end, particularly with the grille that isn’t necessary on an electric car, but it’s clear at a glance that all the F-150s are very closely related.
Considering that the Ford F-series trucks have been North America’s best-selling passenger vehicles for a very long time, it’s crucial that Ford keeps that momentum going. Ford CEO Jim Farley likened the F-150 to Coca-Cola, which is pretty apt if you ask us. You don’t want the F-150 Lightning to flop like ‘New Coke’, especially not as the rest of the auto industry moves towards electrification.
The Tesla Cybertruck is the first of its kind, and there are no other vehicles to base it on. Elon Musk being Elon Musk, the Cybertruck has been made to look like something out of an early ‘90s PS1 sci-fi game. You can’t deny that it’s eye-catching, and the weird angular design has people talking.
The Cybertruck comes with all the truck features you’d expect, including a 6.5-foot truck bed. The bed comes with an extendable telescoping ramp instead of a standard tailgate, which, while different, does have its uses. The Cybertruck is also built to be incredibly durable, with Elon Musk proudly bragging that the door would hold up to shots from a 9mm handgun.
Tesla also demonstrated that the Cybertruck’s doors can hold up to a beating from a sledgehammer. Unfortunately the windows weren’t so lucky, and were cracked by a thrown metal ball.
Which electric-truck design is the “best” all depends on what sort of truck you’re looking for. The F-150 Lightning is built to mimic the 2021 F-150 and will blend in as well as any Ford pickup possibly could. It’s similar to how the GMC Hummer EV takes the classic Hummer look and adds a few twists to adapt it for prospective EV ownership.
Meanwhile, the Tesla Cybertruck sticks out because it’s unlike anything else you’ll see on the road. But therein lies the difference between the two trucks. Ford has built the F-150 to be as practical as a regular gas-powered pickup, while Tesla seems to be pushing the Cybertruck as a fashion statement — a useful one that can do all the truck things you’d expect, but a fashion statement nonetheless.
Tesla Cybertruck vs Ford F-150 Lightning: 0-60 and towing
Tesla has been bragging about the Cybertruck’s’ capabilities, promising that the tri-motor model can pull 14,000 lbs. and can go from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds. The dual-motor and single-motor models don’t fare quite so well (naturally), with the 0-60 time dropping to 4.5 seconds and 6.5 seconds, respectively. Towing capacity levels out at 10,000 lbs. for the dual motor, and 7,500 lbs. for the single motor.
We don’t know how quickly the Ford F-150 Lighting can do 0-60, not officially anyway. During a test drive, U.S. President Joe Biden guessed it was around 4.3 seconds, which a Ford spokesperson wouldn’t confirm or deny. So watch this space.
The standard F-150 Lightning can tow up to 7,700 lbs, while the extended-range model can handle up to 10,000 lbs. That’s pretty similar to Tesla’s equivalent Cybertrucks, but since there is no tri-motor Lightning, it’s not fair to compare the current models to Tesla’s top-tier model.
That said, the fact that Tesla has a more powerful model coming before the first F-150 Lightnings even hit the road gives Elon Musk’s company an advantage. If you want as much power as possible and don’t care about much else, then the tri-motor Cybertruck is the obvious winner.
Of course the F-150 is much more evenly matched with the cheaper dual- and single-motor Cybertrucks, which means it’s much harder to choose based on power alone.