Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ford v. Tesla is the macho-man pissing match we deserve

Posted By on Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge ELON MUSK / TWITTER
  • Elon Musk / Twitter

Forget Ford v Ferrari. It's Ford v. Tesla that makes us want to grab some popcorn and gawk in amusement.

The two automakers have been engaged in a pissing contest ever since Tesla head honcho Elon Musk unveiled the company's new "Cybertruck" — a polygonal, retro-futuristic vehicle that looks like it rolled right out of an old PlayStation video game. "We want a truck that's tough, not fake tough," Musk said on stage at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, riffing on Ford's "Built Ford Tough" ads.

Hilariously, things went very awry when, at Musk's behest, Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen accidentally shattered the truck's allegedly shatterproof windows with a metal ball in an attempt to demonstrate their durability, causing Musk to exclaim, "Oh my fucking god" onstage.


But Musk was at it again on Sunday, tweeting a video of the Cybertruck pulling a Ford F-150 pickup truck uphill to demonstrate his truck's superior might.


Ford thinks Musk is comparing apples to oranges here. On Monday, Ford X vice president Sundeep Madra challenged Musk to send Ford a Cybertruck, posting a link to an article that questioned whether Tesla's stunt was a fair game. The Cybertruck appears to have all-wheel-drive, while the F-150 appears to have two-wheel drive.


Professional mansplainer Neil deGrasse Tyson even chimed in to point out that electric vehicles tend to be heavier, and that was the source of the Cybertruck's strength. Musk countered that electric motors have more torque.


The ongoing feud perfectly distills the dynamics of the power struggle between Detroit — the once-proud, all-American manufacturing hub — and Silicon Valley — the flashy, vaguely snake oil-salesman-like valley of the uncanny. But the machismo that is inherent in Americans' irrational modern-day love affair with trucks makes this pissing match even more hilarious.

Trucks like the Ford F-150 are the top-selling vehicles in America. There's no real reason why.

Earlier this year, consulting firm Strategic Vision conducted a survey of vehicle owners and found that truck owners hardly ever use their trucks to do, you know, truck things. According to the results, 75 percent of truck owners use their truck for towing one time a year or less, nearly 70 percent of truck owners go off-road one time a year or less, and a full 35 percent of truck owners use their truck for hauling once a year or less.

You can read more about it in The Drive's aptly titled "You Don't Need a Full-Size Pickup Truck, You Need a Cowboy Costume."

The Cybertruck is slated to hit the road in late 2021.

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