Last year, a viral video of a Tesla Cybertruck winning a tug-of-war against an F-150 swept the media world faster than a national emergency. Some said the all-electric vehicle won because its electric engines have better low-end torque than traditional gasoline engines. Others argued things weren't that simple.
But now Ford Motor Co. has debuted a new F-150 — some of which feature a hybrid engine. This might raise the question of whether Ford could beat its Tesla rival in a legitimate showdown.
We can't say for sure, but let's do a quick compare-and-contrast between a few of the new F-150's key features, and those of the forthcoming Tesla Cybertruck.
Towing capacity of Ford F-150, Tesla Cybertruck
The F-150 is a light-duty full-size pickup truck, with a distinctive shape and long-renowned reputation in the U.S. Tesla on the other hand is a relative newcomer, but has seen a meteoric rise and decisive thrust into a significant market share of the auto industry.
The entry-level Single Motor RWD Cybertruck is rated to have a towing capacity of roughly 3,401 kilograms (7,500 pounds). But with the Tesla's Dual Motor AWD — which features a motor for both the front and rear axles — the Cybertruck is rated at roughly 4,535 kilograms (10,000 pounds) of towing capacity, according to Slash Gear.
While Ford's all-new F-150 is rated for a 5,443-kilogram (12,000-pound) towing capacity — 20% more than Tesla's Dual Motor AWD — Tesla's Tri Motor AWD Cybertruck can pull up to 6,350 kilograms (14,000 pounds). Ford's actual maximum towing capacity has yet to be tested publicly, but for now, it seems the Tri Motor Cybertruck pulls a little more weight.
Comparing truck beds
Tesla has called the Cybertruck bed its "Vault," mostly because it has a slide-down tonneau cover that safely locks away customers' stuff. The vehicle bed is 1.9 meters (6.5 feet) long, and is rated for more than 1,587 kilograms (3,500 pounds). The F-150's bed varies from 1.7 to 2.4 meters (5.6 to 8.13 feet) in length, according to which "styleside" customers choose.
The maximum load capacity for the new F-150 isn't yet official, so even though the maximum load length is tipping in Ford's favor, we have to call this one a draw, for now.
Ford, Tesla truck ranges
While Ford's new F-150 lineup comes in many customized types and sizes, for the moment it only offers a 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid V6 engine — not all-electric. Both Cybertruck and the F-150 have only EPA-estimated range, so for argument's sake, we'll consider them workable comparisons.
Ford's new pickup has an EPA-estimated range of roughly 1,126 kilometers (700 miles) on a single tank of gas, while Tesla's Tri Motor AWD needs a recharge at 804.6 kilometers (500 miles). All-electric doesn't always have better range than traditional gasoline, but for now: the F-150 goes farther than its rival.
The preliminary Ford versus Tesla judgment
The F-150 and Cybertruck have much in common — Tesla is trying to gain a larger market share as an all-electric alternative for those who want a little extra power. It probably goes without saying they're also fans of the cyberpunk influences on Tesla's design philosophy.
The F-150 is a longtime champion of U.S. light-duty pickup trucks and has only recently made its foray into the all-electric world official. While a hybrid vehicle might be better for the environment than gasoline alone, we still don't know the full performance capabilities of either vehicle.
So it seems we have to call a soft draw between the classic F-150 and the futuristic Cybertruck. But there's always hope for a clandestine face-off: Ford's newest pickup is available this fall, and Tesla's is slated for early 2021. Here's to next year.