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Why the Feud Between Ford and Elon Musk Won’t End Anytime Soon

The Ford F-150 is the best selling truck in America, and it’s an iconic truck that many Americans know about. But in late November, Elon Musk and Tesla took their shot at the F-150 and unveiled its Cybertruck. In the same reveal, Musk showed a video of a literal tug-of-war between the Cybertruck and a F-150, and the Cybertruck was the clear winner. 

The Ford vs. Tesla tug-of-war

In the viral video posted on Twitter by Musk, a Cybertruck was tied to a F-150. Both were faced in the opposite direction, and both started their engines. Not long after, the Cybertruck was easily tugging the F-150 away. Try as the F-150 might, it couldn’t beat the power and torque of the Cybertruck’s electric motors.

This probably isn’t an unexpected result for two reasons. First, as Digital Trends points out, it’s a video released by Musk, so obviously there is a lot of bias there. Musk and Tesla wouldn’t deliberately release any footage that shows the Cybertruck in a bad light. Secondly, as far as anyone knows, the Cybertruck should be able to tow more than the F-150 can. 

Obviously, it’ll depend on the versions, but the highest towing capacity of the F-150 is about 13,000 lb. Tesla says that the highest towing capacity of the Cybertruck, when it’s equipped with three electric motors, is about 14,000 lb.

Obviously, if someone does this tug-of-war with a Cybertruck with a single motor and an F-150 with its best towing configuration, then the F-150 would win. But in the best-case scenario, Tesla should be the winner.

Ford’s challenge to Tesla and Elon Musk

Sunny Madra, the head of the Ford X mobility venture lab, didn’t take that punch from Musk laying down. He tweeted at Musk asking for a Cybertruck so that Ford could recreate that tug-of-war but on Ford’s terms. Madra didn’t think that Musk’s video showed a fair comparison between the two trucks, and other sites, such as Motor1, agreed with him. 

Motor1 said that the F-150 seemed to be cheaper, lighter, and less powerful than the Cybertruck. Motor1 also says that the Cybertruck seemed to get a head start on the F-150. While all of that may be true, it’s also true that if Tesla’s numbers for the Cybertruck’s towing capacity is to be believed, then the best version of the Cybertruck should still beat the best version of the F-150 in this tug-of-war. 

Surely enough, according to Digital Trends, Madra’s bosses shied away from actually going through with Madra’s challenge to Musk. 

The future of this Ford vs. Elon Musk feud 

While the regular F-150 may not be a match for the Cybertruck’s towing abilities, Ford already knows what will be. Earlier this year, Ford showed off its prototype all-electric F-150 towing over 1 million lbs of cargo. This is a prototype, and as Digital Trends said, it’s still years away from hitting the market. 

But Ford does have a hybrid F-150 coming in 2020, according to Digital Trends, and that may be the first step in Ford’s strategy of fighting the Cybertruck. Because Tesla will be releasing the Cybertruck earlier than Ford will be releasing the hybrid and electric F-150s, Ford will be able to give Tesla a taste of its own medicine. 

It’s entirely possible that Ford will purchase a Cybertruck and put it through a tug-of-war with a hybrid or electric F-150. Ford saw how viral Musk’s video got, and adding fuel to this feud will generate interest in both trucks and for both companies. Because of that, it’s in Ford’s interest to keep feuding with Elon Musk, as that will ultimately get Ford more attention from both its fans and the press.