A Ford executive took aim at Tesla, calling its self-driving software 'vaporware,' as competition between Tesla and the Mustang Mach-E heats up

Grace Kay
·3 min read
Mustang Mach E GT Performance Edition 03
Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition. Ford
  • A Ford executive took to Twitter to compare Tesla's Model Y with Ford's electric car.

  • The Mustang Mach-E will soon have similar self-driving features as Tesla offers for $10,000.

  • The new electric SUV is already starting to cut into Tesla's sales.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Ford executive took to Twitter on Sunday to call Tesla out on its "full self-driving" software, which is currently in beta.

Mike Levine, the automaker's North America product communications manager, called Tesla's software vaporware.

"Return those $10K full-self driving deposits," he wrote on Twitter. "Mach-E customers drive away with a car. Tesla customers drive off with vaporware."

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Levine referenced a recent report from the Associated Press, comparing the Mach-E to Tesla's Model Y.

The executive was responding to a tweet about dealers tacking on additional fees to the Mustang Mach-E.

"Any Mach-E customer who sees a dealer adding a markup can reach out to me," Levin wrote. "I'll help them find another dealer. Good luck reaching out to Tesla to get your FSD."

Insider reached out to Tesla for a comment, but the company did not respond in time for publication.

Recent data shows that just months after its full release, Ford's Mustang Mach-E has already begun to cut into Tesla's sales. In February, Tesla's share of the US electric-car market fell to 69% from 81% the previous year due to interest in the Mach-E, according to a report from Morgan Stanley.

Ford is also looking to get into autonomous cars. In March, the automaker announced that its new Active Driver Assist program would be available for the Mustang Mach-E later this year for a $600 activation fee.

The software enables hands-free driving and would have level 2 autonomy, similar to Tesla's current self-driving capabilities.

This is not the first time Tesla's self-driving software has been criticized

After Tesla's beta software was released, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said: "No vehicle available for purchase today is capable of driving itself."

Soon after the software became available, there were several videos on Youtube showing the car missing medians and traffic lights.

Tesla launched the software beta in October and has since offered it as a $10,000 add-on. Tesla plans to release a more advanced version as a subscription offering this summer.

As a luxury car brand, Tesla's self-driving software is designed to allow cars to park themselves, change lanes, and identify stop signs as well as potential obstructions. The program still requires a licensed operator. Similarly, Tesla's autopilot system assists drivers by braking and steering for them when enabled.

At least three drivers have died while using Tesla's Autopilot. The software has also been associated with several accidents. Just last week, a Tesla car that authorities said was using the autopilot feature crashed into a police car in Michigan. It was the second accident believed to be related to the software in Michigan this month.

Tesla's self-driving plans are a large focus because it could help it compete with Ford's Mach-E, as the two are set to go head-to-head.

Ford's electric SUV release has been largely successful. The car was awarded SUV of the year by the North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year Award in January, and early testers - including other Wall Street analysts - also gave it positive marks. JPMorgan said the vehicle could challenge Tesla inasmuch as Ford has more history and brand recognition.

Read the original article on Business Insider