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The Ford F-150 vs. Tesla Cybertruck tug-of-war rematch may not happen after all

“Bring it on.”

These are the words of Tesla boss Elon Musk, who on Monday accepted Ford’s challenge to another tug-of-war between his recently unveiled Cybertruck and an F-150 — the most popular pickup truck in the world. But now it seems Ford executives are having second thoughts about a rematch.

The gauntlet was thrown down by Sunny Madra, head of the automaker’s Ford X mobility venture lab, after Musk showed a tug-of-war video between the two vehicles at the Cybertruck event on Friday, November 22.

Sure enough, the Cybertruck dragged the F-150 along the asphalt, its tires screeching as it tried, in vain, to pull the other way. Tesla’s electric pickup was the clear winner in this particular towing test, proving, as far as Musk was concerned, that the yet-to-launch pickup has superior strength.

But Madra was having none of it, hitting Twitter to challenge Musk to a towing test where Ford can select the F-150 model itself.

“Hey Elon Musk, send us a Cybertruck and we will do the apples to apples test for you,” Madra wrote in a tweet posted on Monday.

Madra isn’t the only one unconvinced by the fairness of the fight shown in Tesla’s tug-of-war stunt. Car site Motor1, among others, carefully picked apart the challenge, suggesting it was far from impartial.

It seems more than likely that the F-150 used in the challenge wasn’t the most powerful model, while Musk declined to mention which Cybertruck they used — there are three versions, with the tug-of-war possibly involving the top-spec all-wheel-drive tri-motor version that’s capable of towing 14,000 pounds. The rear-wheel-drive, single-motor Cybertruck can only tow half that amount.

Motor1 said Musk’s vehicle is at least the dual-motor model, which can tow up to 10,000 pounds. The standard towing range of Ford’s F-150 is between 5,000 and 8,000 pounds, though special configurations can push that to as much as 13,200 pounds.

It was also noted how the Cybertruck gets a head start on the F-150, giving it more momentum from the off.

“Simply put, the F-150 used in this video is noticeably lighter, cheaper, and probably significantly underpowered compared to its all-electric opponent,” Motor1 concluded.

Madra’s eagerness for a rematch on equal terms doesn’t seem to be shared by the rest of Ford management. A company spokesperson told Fox News that “Sunny’s tweet was tongue in cheek to point out the absurdity of Tesla’s video, nothing more.”

“With America’s bestselling truck for 42 years, we’ve already focused on serving our truck customers regardless of what others say or do,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to our all-new F-150 hybrid coming next year, and all-electric F-150 in a few years.”

Never one to shy away from a spot of publicity, Musk tweeted that he’s ready for the challenge. If the Cybertruck wins, it could certainly boost its pre-order numbers, which as of Monday had reached 200,000. If it loses, well, it can go and stand in the corner with its smashed windows.

Updated on November 27, 2019: Added statement from Ford spokesperson.

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Trevor Mogg
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