Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Tesla sets up a test of skills against a competing car, sets the rules, doesn’t use neutral overseers, and – shazam! – Tesla bests the competition. Most recently, Tesla posted video of its brand new Cybertruck pickup in a tug-of-war against the Ford F-150. When both vehicles apply power, the Cybertruck beta pulls the F-150 backwards and up a slight incline.
A bunch of people jumped into the fray on Twitter, including rocket scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, then Ford said, hey, how about a rematch, and Elon Musk said sure. All this back-and-forth and social media posturing is about what you need to rise above the level of the impeachment hearings. Done.
Musk showed the 16-second video at Thursday’s rollout then posted it on Twitter Sunday night (Nov. 24), the same day he announced the Cybertruck had 200,000 pre-orders placed for a vehicle not slated to ship for a year, and that’s if Tesla meets production deadlines. Then it short order:
- Sunny Madra, VP at Ford X (Ford Smart Mobility stuff), Monday tweeted, “hey @elonmusk send us a cybertruck and we will do the apples to apples test for you.”
- Musk a couple hours later tweeted, “Bring it on.”
- A Ford spokesperson – correction, “senior Ford spokerspon,” told insideevs.com the comment was tongue in cheek and meant to point out the “absurdity of Tesla’s tow video.”
- Ford then said it really does want to run a comparison test.
All this assumes “bring it on” translates to Tesla actually going ahead when the time comes. Right now, the number of working Cybertrucks might be, one. Ford might bring a more suitable F-Series. One that matches the weight of the Cybertruck would be an F-250 or F-350.
What Might Be Wrong with Tesla’s Test
Online, every Tom, Dick and Harry is pointing out issues with the possible validity or fairness of the test. The Tesla probably weighs 1,000 pounds more and the more weight on the wheels when starting up, the more traction you have. Electric motors develop max torque – power – at 0 rpm where combustion engines develop it at higher rpm. Tesla might have as many as 1,000 pound-feet of torque. Ford said the F-150 being pulled backwards appears to be two-wheel drive where the Tesla may be a three-motor system with all-wheel-drive.
One of the critics is Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist by training so, yes, a rocket scientist. NGD chimed in several times, a one-man truth squad. It’s hard to tell him “you don’t know what you’re doing.” What Tyson told Musk, via Twitter, included:
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.
A badass @Tesla looking like it’s doing a badass thing. But if the @Ford F-150 is RWD **with no payload** then weight on the Rear Axle is greatly reduced, offering only mild traction for the Tesla to overcome. This contest is more about the Physics of Friction than Engine Power.
Meanwhile, the circus atmosphere around a Tesla launch sucks the air of the room and even if somebody else has a good car announced that week, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Tesla show sucks up the oxygen.
If there’s a retest, we’d like to suggest several situational tests, and make sure one involves fording deep water, or backing a boat and trailer down a steep launch ramp. Then everyone would learn how well sealed is the battery compartment that forms the underside of the Cybertruck.
By the way, since Cybertruck was announced the night of Nov. 21, TSLA stock has gone from $ 355 down to $ 329 Tuesday, Nov. 26. That’s down 9 percent. Sort of like the slope of Cybertruck’s rear hatch cover.
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