Elon Musk took shots at Ford’s F-150 and other automakers during Tesla’s Cybertruck reveal

Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla’s design studio Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk is taking on the workhorse heavy pickup truck market with his latest electric vehicle. AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

“100 years of the same,” proclaimed the first slides of Elon Musk’s presentation Thursday night as he prepared to reveal Tesla’s first electric pickup truck.

As decades of truck models, from Ford, GM, Chevrolet, and more rolled across the screen, Musk said “it’s hard to tell which is which.”

Over the course of the next half-hour, the billionaire chief executive would take plenty of swipes – some more thinly veiled than others – at Ford, which makes the most popular truck in the country, as well as Porsche, and others.

“Trucks have been the same for a very long time, like 100 years,” Musk told the crowd at Tesla’s design centre in Hawthorne, California. “We wanted to try something different.”

Tesla’s reimagination of America’s favourite vehicle – dubbed the “Cybertruck” – takes inspiration from James Bond films and is an angular, industrial-inspired beast. It’s formed with a heavy-duty exterior shell made from “ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel” and armoured glass, Musk said, with a 100-cubic-foot cargo area and up to 14,000 pounds of towing capacity.

That steel exoskeleton is key to Musk’s boasts, allowing it to do more without being much bigger.

“The functionality is within a space that is less than the most popular truck in the US the F-150 so we didn’t cheat in either width height or length,” Musk said. “We’re able to achieve much of the same capability in the same dimensions.”

To show how strong the truck’s body is, Tesla brought out a “regular truck door” on stage, and had lead designer Franz von Holzhausen go to town with a sledgehammer. The door, of course, sustained some damage, while the Tesla truck didn’t appear to be dented at all.

“You want a truck that’s really tough, not fake tough,” Musk said.

There were some hiccups, however. In a test of the truck’s “armour glass” windows, a silver metal ball smashed the panes twice. “Oh my f—ng God,” Musk responded. “Well, maybe that was a little too hard.”

After a brief video showing Tesla’s truck handily beating an F-150 in a tug-of-war battle, Musk also bragged about the truck’s adaptive dampening and ride-height.

“These are actually extremely important. Because trucks when you normally drive them are either too cushy or they’re too hard. you need it to be able to adjust dynamically depending on what the load is. “

From there, Musk moved on to throw shade at Porsche. Behind him on the screen, video showed a drag race between Tesla’s truck and Porsche’s 911 sports car. Tesla won that, too.

“That was a current edition Porsche,” Musk said. “And that was the actual truck, this is not CGI.”

Ford, for its part, isn’t worried about the new competition just yet.

“With America’s best-selling truck for 42 years, we’ve always focused on serving our truck customers regardless of what others say or do,” a Ford representative said in an email. “We look forward to our all-new F-150 hybrid coming next year and all-electric F-150 in a few years.”

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