What does Tesla's truck need to be 'better than a standard 911'?

By Nicholas Yekikian

Elon Musk has a talent for making headlines with his bold statements. His comment about the “production hell” Tesla was going through to build the Model 3 and that the new Roadster will be “the fastest car in the world” both jump to mind as brash, but classic Musk. Over the weekend he made another bold claim on “Ride the Lightning,” Tesla’s unofficial podcast. He said the pickup truck that Tesla plans to unveil will base at less than $49,000 and that “the goal is to be a better truck than an F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality and be a better sports car than a standard 911.”

It’s the last part of that statement that raised the most eyebrows. Saying your truck will be better than another truck is one thing, but saying your goal for this truck in terms of performance is the Porsche 911 is another altogether. The closest a truck ever got to being a sports car was the Viper-powered SRT-10 RAM back in 2005. But as Scott Brown, head of FCA west coast PR explained to me, that was mostly an exercise, a ‘why not’ sort of moment. I.E. it wasn’t a legitimate attempt to make a truck into a sports car. So what exactly would Tesla’s pickup need to be a ‘better sports car’ than a base 911?

Well, according to Motor Trend’s instrumented testing, 2017 base 911 Carrera tackled the 0-60 sprint in 3.9 seconds and ran through the quarter mile in 12.3 seconds at 114.7 mph. It also lapped their figure-eight course in 23.7 seconds at an average of 0.84 g, and it held an average of 1.03 g around the skidpad. For a little added context, the Ford F-150 Raptor – the most dynamically capable version of the best-selling F-150 – finished the 0-60 run in 6.0 seconds and ran the same figure-eight course in 29.2 seconds with an average of 0.59 g. So, for trucks at the moment, it’s not even close.

But Musk isn’t the first person to make an outrageous performance claim about an all-electric truck. Rivian, who launched their EV pickup at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, claims the R1T will be able to do 0-60 in 3 seconds. So, will the Musk’s pickup best the benchmark 911? It remains to be seen. But Tesla’s cars have put up shocking performance numbers before, so it may have a few tricks up its sleeve for its long-awaited pickup.