Drag racing: Elon Musk boasted that the Cybertruck was faster than a Porsche - but Tesla cheated

A cybertruck slowly rolls to the starting line.

Drag racing: Elon Musk boasted that the Cybertruck was faster than a Porsche - but Tesla cheated

A cybertruck slowly rolls to the starting line. A bright green Porsche is waiting there. A short countdown and it starts. Both cars give full throttle and the heavy stainless steel SUV pulls away. It becomes apparent that the truck will win against the thoroughbred sports car. “Wait, there’s more to come,” says Elon Musk gleefully. And then you see that the Cybertruck is pulling a trailer that still has a Porsche on it. Loud laughter. Musk grins. “The Cybertruck can pull a Porsche over the quarter mile faster than the Porsche can drive it,” he says. Applause. It was the highlight of the live presentation of the Tesla Cybertruck: a race against a brand new Porsche.

Now it comes out: The race apparently never took place under fair conditions and in the real world - that has now been confirmed. Shortly after the presentation, viewers expressed their first doubts, and the YouTube channel “Engineering Explained” now did the math. The result: It is mathematically impossible for the Tesla video to actually show a full quarter-mile race.

The analysis comes to the conclusion that it must have been an eighth of a mile. This is evident not only from the images in the video if you look more closely, but also from the numbers. And the result of the race on the eighth of a mile cannot simply be extrapolated as Tesla apparently imagined. Because the manufacturer states at the end of the short video that the truck can cover the quarter mile in under 11 seconds - which is not true.

"Engineering Explained" concludes that the truck would have needed at least 12.84 seconds to complete the route - no less than eleven. This means that the Cybertruck would still have managed the quarter mile in a very short time, but no faster than the standard 911, which in tests by renowned car experts required no longer than 12.2 seconds.

In addition, "Engineering Explained" suspects that Tesla has launched a Porsche 911 Carrera T - and therefore the slowest and lightest Porsche in the current series. The somewhat more comprehensive statement "faster than a Porsche 911" is misleading if one does not explicitly exclude the high-performance vehicles above the entry-level model.

Shortly after the video was published, Wes Morrill, currently lead engineer for the Cybertruck at Tesla, spoke up on X, formerly Twitter. He wrote of his employer's race and analysis: "I love the detailed breakdown - well done! A basic assumption that any sensible engineer would make: The video shown was the best run. It wasn't. But it was the most dramatic End."

It continues: "So why didn't we do a full quarter mile? The fastest eighth of a mile run the Cybertruck did that day with a trailer was 7.808 seconds and 88 miles per hour. But the trailer's tires were only for 80 miles per hour, so we decided to end the day before someone got hurt."

Then things get a bit hairy when you consider that Elon Musk claimed live that the truck was faster than a Porsche over the entire distance - because Morrill continues: "Our simulations showed that the quarter-mile race would be close but with the same result, so we didn't want to take any risks. We also had some scope to increase the weight of the trailer, but that wasn't necessary."

Translated: Tesla never carried out the race that Musk raves about and only calculated using simulation based on the results that the Cybertruck would have covered twice the distance faster. An assumption that is not true - and Tesla may have knowingly exaggerated the truck's performance.

Quellen: Tesla, Engineering Explained, X