Elon Musk Accepts Ford’s Challenge to Tesla Cybertruck vs. F-150 Tug-of-War Rematch

“Bring it on.”

byKyle Cheromcha| UPDATED Nov 25, 2019 7:32 PM
Elon Musk Accepts Ford’s Challenge to Tesla Cybertruck vs. F-150 Tug-of-War Rematch

There's a long tradition of automakers emasculating their rivals in order to sell pickups, so naturally Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the Tesla Cybertruck in part with a video showing it handily winning a tug-of-war contest against a Ford F-150. But the victory isn't as clear cut as it seems—as we reported here—and a Ford executive later challenged Musk to a fair rematch. Musk has now accepted. This will be an interesting ride.

As most people tried to comprehend what they were seeing on Thursday night, a few keen observers quickly pointed out that the F-150 tug-of-war video played during the Cybertruck reveal seemed lopsided. The scrutiny intensified on Sunday when Musk tweeted out a longer version with multiple camera angles; the Ford appears to be a rear-wheel-drive, EcoBoost STX model being yanked uphill by a dual-motor AWD Cybertruck. As none other than pop physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson later pointed out on Twitter, the setup puts relatively little weight over the F-150's drive wheels and thus gives it less traction, not to mention the apparent power gap.

Ford's official channels have stayed silent, but on Monday morning Vice President of Ford X (the automaker's tech incubator) Sundeep Madra tweeted an article about the video directly at Musk, asking him to "send us a Cybertruck and we will do the apples to apples test for you." Not one to stay silent, Musk later replied with a simple "Bring it on."

Given the stakes, it's hard to imagine a risk-averse enterprise like Ford actually going through with a publicized contest like this without knowing the result. Then again, it just broke its only Bronco R prototype truck in the Baja 1000, so crazier plans have slipped past management. Plus, there's something undeniably appealing about the crude primacy of a tug-of-war battle, even if it has little-to-no real world relevance as a performance indicator. 

So who would win in a proper rematch? We can't say, but the Ford F-150 would a V8, four-wheel drive, a locking rear differential, a payload to compensate for the weight difference, and a literal level playing field to make it a fair fight. As of press time, Elon Musk was still arguing with deGrasse Tyson about it on Twitter.