Musk and Tesla didn’t say which exact configuration of the Cybertruck, or F-150, they used for the stunt, while some viewers were critical, calling the fight unfair after seeing what was apparently an all-wheel-drive Cybertruck pulling a rear-wheel-drive Ford F-150 in the Tesla video.
Ford X Vice President Sundeep (Sunny) Madra clapped back at Musk, urging him to send over a Cybertruck for an “apples to apples” tug-of-war test, however, the contest is unlikely to happen. A Ford spokesperson told CNBC that Madra’s tweet was “tongue-in-cheek to point out the absurdity of Tesla’s video, nothing more.”
Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst at Navigant Research and an engineer, told CNBC that “automakers do this kind of nonsense all the time, but Tesla takes it to the extreme.” Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Cox Automotive, also said of the supposed tug-of-war captured on video, “It’s great for publicity, it’s great for media attention, and that’s all Elon is chasing right now.”
Ford, its partner Rivian, and General Motors are all expected to bring new electric pickups to market before or during the same time frame as the Tesla Cybertruck, which is aimed to be ready for production in late 2021.
“This will be the first time Tesla will launch an all-new vehicle type after competitors have launched their pure-electric, all-new vehicles that directly compete with Tesla,” Brauer said. “I think he’s got much bigger things to worry about than glass that does or doesn’t break or whether or not his truck can pull another truck around.”
Brauer and Abuelsamid said if such a contest does ever become a reality, it would be best to put Ford’s all-electric F-150 prototype against the Tesla Cybertruck prototype. Or, Abuelsamid suggested, for both American automakers to use towing tests by SAE International, which assists in setting industry regulations and standards.
“There are other standardized metrics you can use for evaluating trucks that are standard for that market segment,” Abuelsamid said. But he added given they’re prototypes, “it’s probably better to drop the whole thing. It’s irrelevant.”