A few days after Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s new Cybertruck, he posted a video of the truck taking part in a tug of war with a Ford F-150, which showed the electric Cybertruck easily overpowering the Ford pickup. But after accusations that the competition was unfair, Musk has agreed to a re-match, saying he’ll aim to record a new video next week.
A number of blogs pointed out the apparent disparity in the match-up. The F-150 seems to be a rear-wheel-drive model while the Cybertruck is all-wheel drive. The F-150 looks to be a lower-spec STX package with a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 engine, meaning it’s probably lighter than the Cybertruck. It even seems like Tesla’s vehicle is given a head start!
The video was controversial enough that scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson waded in to offer his opinion on Twitter, pointing out that electric vehicles are “famously heavy” over the axles, which would give the Cybertruck greater traction in a tug-of-war.
And Ford itself also got involved, with Sundeep Madra, vice president of the automaker’s venture incubator Ford X, challenging Musk to an “apples-to-apples test.” Musk responded quickly: “Bring it on,” adding that he’ll “aim to do this next week.”
Will it happen though? A Ford spokesperson told Motor1 that Madra’s tweet was “tongue-in-cheek,” though that doesn’t answer the question of whether the challenge was serious. We’ve reached out to Ford and will update this story if we get a confirmation.
Really, though, Musk can’t lose in this sort of competition. The market for pickups in the US is deeply loyal, with customers generally sticking to one of a handful of brands, including Ford’s F-series and Fiat Chrysler’s Ram trucks. If Tesla is going to make in-roads where it needs to be as visible as possible, so a little bit of chest-thumping can’t hurt.
Even if the Cybertruck lost in a re-match, Musk could say that Tesla will improve the vehicle before it starts rolling off assembly lines (scheduled for 2022). Better still, he could demand a tug-of-war against Ford’s own upcoming electric F-150, which is currently in the works. Now that would be “apples to apples.”