The math behind the Tesla Cybertruck dragging a Ford F-150 tells a different story

Jason Fenske’s Engineering Explained YouTube channel makes videos diving into the math behind the cars we love—and sometimes the cars we love to hate. With the Tesla Cybertruck's reveal came a video showing a tug of war handily won by the new EV. Ford was quick to call out the video and call for an “apples to apples” comparison, but can the Ford F-150 actually do better?

The latest release from Fenske dives into the hard math behind how a tug-of-war between trucks actually works. The video in question has stirred a lot of conversation, which some would argue is exactly what Tesla wants—the folks calling it fake are still talking about it, after all. However impressive the stunt looks, is the stainless steel tuck mobile really dominating the Ford because of its performance capabilities, or is the exercise just misleading?

The math says no. As Fenske points out, the Ford appears to be in rear-wheel drive only and is likely lighter than the Tesla. With more weight over the driven wheels, there was really no competition here. The direct quote from Fenske, and it is worth noting he is a Tesla fan and owner of a Model 3 Performance which he loves, is “there is nothing learned here except [that] the Tesla truck is heavy.”

Even if you buy into the theory that the Tesla truck was pointed uphill in the challenge, the angular future truck has a massive advantage because of weight, again. As Fenske points out, the fact that the truck is heavy is not necessarily a good thing. Heavy vehicles require more energy to accelerate and slow, along with the fact that the suspension will have to do a lot more work to make it ride smoothly enough to be acceptable in today’s market.

Even with the math in its favor, perception drives markets and a Ford employee called Tesla out on Twitter with an offer for more fair matchup with an appropriately equipped F-150. Could this be the first challenge for the prototype electric F-150 since the train stunt this summer? Seems like that might be a bit more equal, assuming available traction is roughly similar between the two.

Just don’t base your truck buying decision on this one video and a few stats for the yet-to-be-produced truck. Even with the deposit being just $100 and refundable, it might be worth the wait until production begins, currently expected in 2022, before making a final decision about whether to replace your traditional truck with Tesla’s scalene behemoth.