April 14, 2024

Tesla Cybertruck passes by a SpaceX launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Photo: Jon Shapley (Getty Images)

The Ford F-150 Lightning has earned the SpaceX seal of approval before the Tesla Cybertruck, and it has been photographed bearing the livery of Elon Musk’s commercial spaceflight company. It seems even SpaceX would rather rely on Ford’s EV pickup than the Cybertruck when it comes to the serious business of launching rockets and people into space — at least for now, while Tesla is ironing out the kinks in the Cybertruck’s shiny and ill-conceived design.

The Cybertruck has run into a few problems as production of the EV struggles on. It’s been plagued by build quality issues that run the gamut from the threat of rust (or “surface contaminants”) to being immobilized by “critical steering issues.” Point is, the Cybertruck is hardly the EV of choice for an organization when a working vehicle is mission-critical. And that’s why SpaceX “has Ford F-150 Lightnings” running around as work trucks, as NASA first responder Matt Haskell shared on Twitter (or X, if you prefer):

Of course, SpaceX has a fleet of non-Tesla vehicles at its facilities throughout the United States. Twitter users responding to the post observed that SpaceX regularly uses Chevy trucks in its operations. And a cursory glance at photos of Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, reveal that Ford and Chevy pickups are usually rumbling around the work site.

It makes sense why SpaceX facilities would be no strangers to trucks from rival U.S. automakers, especially since there are contractors constantly on-site. And a fleet of Ford F-150 Lightning models also makes sense given the EVs trucks will now work with Tesla superchargers, which Elon Musk can supply to SpaceX.

But the SpaceX F-150 Lightning made me cackle because Elon Musk loves to make a show of his EVs shuttling rocket crews around at launches and other high-profile events. It can’t be very long until Musk plasters a Cybertruck with SpaceX stickers and uses it to shuttle astronauts to the launch pad.

SpaceX Dragon Crew-6 Commander Stephen Bowen boards a Tesla transport vehicle.

Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP (Getty Images)

But the F-150 Lightning spied in the photo seems to just be going about its SpaceX business on the highway, and that makes it all the more satisfying.

It’s a good analogy for the two EV pickup trucks: one is all show, while the other is all go. That is, the F-150 Lightning is happy working in the background, the operative word here being working. And it looks like SpaceX is perfectly happy to keep work humming along by relying on an EV truck based on a tried and true platform, rather than an “apocalypse-proof” truck made for the internet. Hey, it is the “cyber-” truck, after all.

A Chevy Silverado stands guard at the Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas.

Photo: Brandon Bell (Getty Images)

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

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