Tesla showed a video of its truck in a tug-of-war with and F-150. Ford has fired back.
In case you missed it, Elon Musk posted a video on Twitter showing the Tesla truck engaged in a tug of war with an F-150. The Tesla truck successfully drags the struggling Ford F-150 uphill in what looks like a one-sided battle of torque and grip. This kind of stunt doesn't prove anything, however, as the F-150 used is shown clearly in the video to be rear-wheel-drive only, and we don't know exactly what its powertrain was or what tires either vehicle was kitted out with. It gets more curious, though.
In theory, the Tesla truck with the specifications Musk outlined should out-pull many commonly specced gas-powered trucks, but you have to wonder why Tesla chose to use a rear-wheel-drive F-150 for the "demonstration." However, even Neil Degrassi Tyson weighed in on Twitter to point out: "Electric vehicles are famously heavy - over both axles. It's all about the weight borne by spinning tires. That's the source of traction, not the engine power."
To which Musk replied: "Electric motors also have insane torque. If we load both trucks to the max, electric still wins. Physics is the law, everything else is a recommendation."
However, there's still the fact that neither was loaded to the max. Plus, the F-150 was rear-wheel drive, which is where Ford steps in.
Vice President of Ford X, Sundeep Madra, told Musk to send the automaker a Cybertruck for a proper "apples to apples" test. Musk replied, "Bring it on," but it seems unlikely Tesla is about to send Ford a prototype vehicle.
The video has done its job for Tesla by creating headlines, and it doesn't matter now whether it could truly pull the F-150 in a fair grudge match. All publicity is good publicity for Tesla, even breaking windows that are declared unbreakable on stage. We'll wait and see what the actual Tesla truck looks like and performs, assuming it reaches production, and judge it from there.