The Tesla Cybertruck Doesn’t Charge Any Faster Than A Rivian


The Tesla Cybertruck is the first Tesla built on an 800-volt architecture, which permits a multitude of EV components to run at higher voltage for a number of advantages. While Porsche Taycans and Hyundai Ioniq 5s and the like have been using 800-volt systems for a while, it’s the first time Tesla has taken advantage of a setup that should improve efficiency, thermal regulation, and charging. But in InsideEVs testing, the Cybertruck didn’t charge any quicker than its 400-volt-based competitors.

I put more than 500 miles on a 2024 Tesla Cybertruck we borrowed on Turo last month, giving us three opportunities to charge it. You can read the full review here, but I figure our audience probably wants a bit more info about the charging situation.

First, let’s lay out the competition. 

Rivian charging at EVgo station

The Rivian R1T, GMC Hummer EV, Chevy Silverado EV, and F-150 Lightning are all based on 400-volt architectures, which should give the Cybertruck a charging advantage. But there are a few things working against it.

First is that the GM twins have massive battery packs. The GMC has about 205 kWh of usable capacity, and the Chevy offers 200 kWh. That would normally slow down charging, but in this case, the packs aren’t run as one large unit. They’re made up of two 100-kWh-ish packs laid out on top of each other, allowing both to charge simultaneously.

Thus, the 400-volt trucks can charge like 800-volt vehicles, even if they don’t get the other efficiency benefits of a true 800-volt setup. That means they can charge at 350kW. In real-world testing charge speeds stabilize around 180kW for most of the charge

A Rivian R1T in InsideEVs testing peaked at 220 kW up until around 20% charge, after which it stabilized around 150 kW. The F-150 Lightning with the extended-range pack has a less aggressive claimed maximum charging rate of 155 kW, but consistently pulled even more power than that in InsideEVs testing and sustained the max rate for longer than most trucks.

As for actual charge times, and factoring in pack size, here’s what we’ve got for the competition:

  • GMC Hummer EV/Silverado EV: 1 hour and 49 minutes to go from 10 to 90 percent in Car and Driver testing. We have not conducted our own charging test. Note that it charging slows exponentially the closer you get to 100%, so the 10-to-80 time would likely be significantly shorter.
  • Rivian R1T: 10 to 80 percent in 42 minutes
  • F-150 Lightning: 15 to 80% in 38 minutes

My first Cybertruck charge test took place at the Tesla Supercharger station on Friars Road in Mission Valley, San Diego. I arrived with an 11% charge. It accepted 206 kW from the 250-kW charger for the first few minutes, then tapered down to around 150 kW and continued tapering until 80%.

Tesla Cybertruck Charging

The full 11-to-80% charge took exactly 45 minutes, during which it accepted 88.64 kWh. That’s an average charging rate of 118 kW, which is fine, but not outstanding. Charging an F-150 Lightning from 10 to 80 percent would take roughly the same amount of time, and an R1T charges faster. The Cybertruck easily beats the GMC Hummer and Silverado, though, showing that 800-volt charging itself can’t overcome the realities of a truly massive battery pack. 

CT sample charging curve

A sample charging curve showing several contenders in this space. Source: Branden Flasch

My second charge got the Cybertruck from 16% to 85% in exactly 45 minutes, too, with a similar curve to our first result. Finally, on the way to return the truck in Orange County, I topped off from 59% to 89%. It took 30 minutes, with an average charge rate of 77.02 kW. That’s a good reminder of how steep the charge-rate dropoff is, with speeds tapering quickly above half charge.

Call it the Tesla Curve. It’s not dissimilar to other Tesla cars, like the Model Y above. But those don’t have the 800-volt setup. Frankly, I am surprised that the Cybertruck can’t pull more power for longer. Tesla generally has better battery management than the competition, and in this case the Cybertruck has the advantage of being the only true 800-volt vehicle in its class.

Yet it still charges roughly as quickly as a Rivian R1T or Ford F-150 Lightning, and can’t go as far as either. As I said in my full review: We expected more. 


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