Like the kid getting revenge on the bully who used to kick sand on his face at the beach, the Ford F-150 came to the rescue of a humbled Tesla Cybertruck in a video now gone viral.
Tesla has had to eat a piece of humble pie in the wake of an embarrassing incident that saw its new Cybertruck get stuck in the snow, only to be rescued by a Ford F-150.
It might not have been so humiliating if not for the fact the Texas-based EV manufacturer has repeatedly targeted Ford’s popular pickup in promotional videos for the Cybertruck, aiming to demonstrate the all-electric pickup’s capabilities.
A video shot by Matt Chambers and posted on Instagram shows the Tesla Cybertruck stuck in a snow covered field in Bear Valley, California, a pine tree on its roof suggesting the driver had gone hunting for a Christmas tree.
“No clue how he was so far off the trail. Credit to my buddies who went there Sunday and happened to be the ones who rescued him,” Chambers said using his Instagram handle, @mchambers_22.
What was clear, however, is that the truck couldn’t make it up a short, snow-covered hill to get back on the trail.
An “Oops!” moment
It couldn’t have been a worse situation for Tesla. Ever since CEO Elon Musk introduced the Cybertruck four years ago he has targeted the Ford F-150 as the ultimate foil, using it again and again in videos to highlight the alleged advantages of Tesla’s all-electric pickup.
That included several videos presented during the delivery of the first dozen Cybertrucks last month at a ceremony at the Tesla assembly plant in Austin, Texas. One showed the EV hauling a test sled substantially further than the Ford truck.
But, it seems that in the real world, when the Cybertruck gets stuck, it’s the Ford F-150 that it turns to for help.
Exactly what went wrong is unclear, though the markings on the side of the Cybertruck — the letters “RC” — indicate it was a late prototype Tesla has been using for testing. Chambers told Business Insider the driver, identifying himself as a Tesla engineer, claimed there was a “software issue” with the Cybertruck.
As the video rolls out, however, there’s been wide speculation on what else might have been at fault, including questions about the type of tires in use on the Cybertruck. It would seem odd that an engineer would intentionally head out into a snowy field in a pickup not properly equipped with the right rubber, however.
The “software issues” may have disabled the locking differentials that pickup users typically rely on to enhance traction in situations like this Cybertruck found itself in.
Making matters worse, the Cybertruck stuck in the snow didn’t have the sort of features that normally can be found on pickups and are used when they’re stuck in such a situation. Without tow hooks up front, the folks in the Ford had to carefully tie up to suspension components underneath the Cybertruck.
A little knowledge of what it takes to get out of trouble might also have helped. The Tesla driver didn’t take the sort of additional steps that might have aided it in getting out on its own, Chambers suggesting the tires had not been “aired down,” a common step used when off-roading.
How much the video actually reveals about the Cybertrucks capabilities — or lack of — is unclear. Even the best trucks can wind up in trouble occasionally. And it certainly appears the driver may have made some errors. But if a Tesla engineer makes mistakes it raises questions about what the average Cybertruck owner would or wouldn’t do in a similar situation.
Beyond trying to one-up the F-150, Musk has repeatedly attempted to show how his electric pickup is ready for anything, even raking its stainless steel door panels with gunfire to demonstrate its ability to survive an “apocalypse.”
If that includes heavy snow, however, an owner may need to have a backup plan ready.