‘Bring it on’: Musk accepts Ford’s truck tug-of-war challenge while Neil DeGrasse Tyson cries foul

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is known for both his eccentricities and bold claims, particularly when it comes to his electric vehicles. His latest claims about his new Cybertruck, however, have led to at least two major public call-outs.

While unveiling Tesla’s latest major product, Musk took repeated shots at Ford’s F-150 pick up truck, most notably showing his new Cybertruck beating its rival in an uphill tug-of-war. 

Renowned astrophysicist and public figure Neil DeGrasse Tyson apparently took exception to the demonstration.

“A badass Tesla looking like it’s doing a badass thing,” he tweeted. “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.”

DeGrasse Tyson added that electric vehicles are notoriously heavy over both axles, meaning the weight is more evenly distributed over all spinning tires, affording it greater traction than a rear-wheel drive F-150. Musk fired back saying that if both trucks were fully loaded, the electric would still win. 

After a brief back and forth, DeGrasse Tyson challenged Musk to fully load the F-150, with traction highest in its rear wheels, and then replicate the feat, to which Musk responded: “Agreed, this will be exciting to see!” before saying he would “aim to do this next week.” 

Not one to waste a good marketing opportunity, one of Ford’s top executives Sunny Madra chimed in. 

“Hey @elonmusk send us a Cybertruck and we will do the apples to apples test for you,” challenged Madra, vice president of Ford X.

“Bring it on,” Musk responded. 

A date for the showdown has yet to be officially confirmed, but truck enthusiasts and memelords alike cannot wait to see whether Musk’s latest venture can indeed walk the walk. 

Previously, Ford showcased its own electric F-150 prototype with the rather bold claim that it towed 1 million pounds of train cars a distance of 1,000 feet (304 meters).  

However, this feat was not as impressive as it first seemed as railroads use steel wheels on steel tracks, thus creating an extremely low coefficient of rolling resistance, meaning that in order to “pull the 1.25 million-pound train” the electric F-150 only needed to generate about 1,875 pounds (850kg) of force. 

Also on rt.com

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk stands in front of the cracked windows of company's first electric pickup truck, the Cybertruck, after it was unveiled and a metal ball was thrown at the windows, in Los Angeles, California U.S., November 21, 2019  © Reuters / Tesla
He did it for the memes! Musk claims Cybertruck orders through the roof after presentation ‘fiasco’

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