It’s been a rough week for Tesla’s ‘Full Self Driving’ (FSD) beta, with several compilation videos showing it making huge mistakes on public roads going viral. Now, one of Ford North America’s key staffers has taken aim at the system.
And, like all good Tesla beefs, the exchange took place on Twitter.
Ford North America product communications manager Mike Levine was tagged in a tweet from noted Tesla advocate and investment entrepreneur Ross Gerber. Gerber claimed that Ford’s new fully electric Mustang Mach-E wasn’t a patch on the Tesla Model Y, adding that Ford’s North American dealerships are placing considerable mark-ups on stock.
“Why would Ford have to compare?” Levine asked in response. “Don’t listen to me. Listen to the media. And return those $10K full-self driving deposits. Mach-E customers drive away with a car. Tesla customers drive off with vaporware.”
Levine wasn’t done, adding; “Any Mach-E customer who sees a dealer adding a markup can reach out to me. I’ll help them find another dealer. Good luck reaching out to Tesla to get your FSD.”
‘Vaporware’ is one of the most harsh terms to be regularly associated with Tesla, its definition in this case being that Tesla customers are being sold on non-existent products.
Tesla has a chequered history of being able to deliver on the products and features that have been labeled vaporware by critics in the past, from the sub-US$35,000 Model 3 that was touted as revolutionary only to have a curiously short-lived spot in the manufacturer’s line-up, to FSD, to the 400km/h Roadster that was slated to go into production last year.
Whether Levine won the fight is up for debate, although most Twitterists appear to think his line of argument came across petty. Gerber’s response was brief; speaking about his time with a Mustang Mach E, he said “I played the actual radio for the first time in years. That’s all that worked.” Funnily enough, Gerber posted that the Mach-E was “a good EV” a few days prior.
The exchange is just another addition to the ongoing hate-love-hate relationship between Ford and Tesla. Just a few weeks ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk paid Ford some dues, noting that it and Tesla were the only two American car companies to have never gone bankrupt — Ford CEO Jim Farley responding in kind.