Although it got all the hype, Tesla was bound to be exposed sooner or later

When Tesla announced the 300,000-pound towing capacity for the Cybertruck, Ford was quick to release a video of its F-150 electric prototype that pulled 1.25 million pounds. Instead of immediately replying to this, Tesla took its own sweet time to throw a punch at Ford. In turn, Tesla tied the Cybertruck’s ass to a Ford-150’s with a rope and engaged in a good old fashioned tug-o-war challenge.

You must’ve seen the video; the Cybertruck pulls the F-150 with utmost ease, even on an inclined surface. However, this was as gimmicky as it could get. Famous YouTube channel Engineering Explained has put out a video explaining why this battle made no sense and it is much simpler than the “two-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive argument.”

The Truth Lies In The Details

Engineering Explained Exposes Why the Tesla Cybertruck vs. Ford F-150 Tug of War Was a Scam
- image 874226

Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained put up a video that explains this whole battle with logic and a lot of mathematics. As a layman, one would naturally assume it’s because of the torque available in EVs right from the go. But Jason also cracks some common myths associated with EVs in respect to this video. The first one is a calculation that shows how power is generated and sent to the wheels on the ground and it busts the ‘EVs have strong low-end torque myth.’

The F-150 can put down plenty of torque to the wheels because it multiplies the engine torque through the gearing and the drivetrain.

So, that was not the reason why it lost the tug of war.

The next point boils down to the maximum force that both these trucks are capable of transferring to the asphalt. That is calculated using the weight of the trucks and the frictional co-efficient of the tires. Since the details about the Tesla Cybertruck are scarce, Jason gives the EV the benefit of the doubt and speculates its drive ratios and other related specs; including the weight and the F-150 being an all-wheel-drive - which it clearly isn’t.

When the trucks go for it, you can see only the rear wheels spinning in the opposite direction whereas the front wheels don’t spin and just rotate backward.

In the end, the Cybertruck can essentially accelerate quicker because it weighs more than the F-150, which helps it press down harder on its tires, thus generating more grip and using torque more efficiently.
Engineering Explained Exposes Why the Tesla Cybertruck vs. Ford F-150 Tug of War Was a Scam
- image 874223

Even the uphill situation that seems to have made Cybertruck’s mission harder is actually not a ‘wow’ factor either. As we mentioned above, even though the Tesla is heavier, it still holds an advantage over the Ford truck going up an incline. However, a heavy EV is never a good sight as it uses up more energy and messes up with the handling as well. So, your efficiency and range are dead and gone in the long run.

Tesla Cybertruck lineup
Single-motor RWD Dual-motor AWD Tri-motor AWD
Horsepower: >400 HP 690 HP 800 HP
Torque: TBA 824 LB-FT 1,000 LB-FT
Range: 250+ miles 300+ miles 500+ miles
0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds 4.5 seconds 2.9 seconds
Top Speed: 110 mph 120 mph 130 mph
Payload Capacity: 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds
Towing Capacity: 7,500 pounds 10,000 pounds 14,000 pounds
Price $39,900 $49,900 $69,900

Final Thoughts

Engineering Explained Exposes Why the Tesla Cybertruck vs. Ford F-150 Tug of War Was a Scam
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The video received a lot of hype and kept the Cybertruck in the news constantly. But will any of Tesla’s future claims be met with the same credibility? Ford, perhaps, realized the ‘scam’ and challenged the Cybertruck for a tug-of-war rematch. Ford X’s Vice President Sundeep Madra tweeted by saying “hey @elonmusk send us a cybertruck and we will do the apples to apples test for you,” and Elon Musk obliged by replying “bring it on”.

Unfortunately, that will never happen as Ford has since backed down from Mr. Madra’s challenge. Elon, however, seems content on making another video himself.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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