Ford seemingly backtracks on Tesla Cybertruck rematch: challenge was ‘tongue in cheek’

(Credit: Tesla)

In a rather interesting turn of events, Ford appears to be backtracking somewhat from its tug-of-war rematch challenge against Tesla’s recently-revealed Cybertruck. The veteran American automaker’s update came after Elon Musk responded positively to Ford’s rematch suggestion, with the CEO stating that a battle between the Cybertruck and the Ford F-150 could be held as early as next week. 

Ford’s challenge towards Tesla was expressed by Ford X VP Sundeep Madra, who asked Elon Musk on Twitter if the Silicon Valley-based electric car maker could send its all-electric pickup over so that a true “apples to apples” comparison could be made between the two heavy-duty vehicles. Musk promptly called Madra’s bluff, stating that the veteran carmaker should “bring it on.” 

What followed was a series of updates from the Tesla CEO, with Musk later noting that the rematch between the Cybertruck and the Ford F-150 would be livestreamed. Musk also stated that the battle could be held as early as next week. This was met by widespread support from electric vehicle enthusiasts online, many of whom were eager to see the Tesla Cybertruck battle it out against the best that Ford can offer. 

Unfortunately, a Ford senior spokesperson has contacted fellow EV-themed publication InsideEVs to clarify Madra’s statement on Twitter. According to the spokesperson, the Ford X VP’s challenge to Elon Musk and Tesla was “tongue-in-cheek” and only meant to point out the “absurdity” of the Cybertruck’s tug-of-war video demonstration. With this statement in mind, it appears that the veteran American automaker is backtracking on its tug-of-war challenge against Tesla’s all-electric monster pickup. 

If Ford were to back out on its challenge against the Cybertruck, it could be a blow to the F-150’s pedigree as America’s top pickup. The F-150, after all, has reigned supreme as the United States’ best-selling vehicle for years, and it is practically considered as the quintessential pickup truck. Following a bold challenge from a Ford X VP, a step back for the carmaker, especially after Musk showed much enthusiasm for the idea, may be considered as hesitation on the veteran’s part. 

It’s not like the Ford F-150 is a vehicle that’s easy to beat, either. Its top-tier variants are equipped with a monster 3.5L Ecoboost engine that’s notably more powerful than the lower-end V8 or 2.7L Ecoboost engine equipped in the F-150 XLT trim, which Tesla seemed to have used in its tug-of-war demonstration. Tesla’s working Cybertruck prototype is also a mid-tier dual-motor AWD variant and not the top-of-the-line tri-motor Plaid powertrain version, which may also play in Ford’s favor. 

So far, Ford has only released a brief statement to Elon Musk’s acceptance of its Ford X VP’s rematch challenge. Thus, perhaps there’s still a chance that the motoring world could see a true clash of the titans, featuring the tried and tested gas-guzzling veteran against the brutalist all-electric newcomer that’s the Cybertruck.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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