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Tesla and Ford trade challenges in macho truck world

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Dueling tough talk was exchanged on Twitter after Tesla chief executive Elon Musk posted a video of a freshly-unveiled "Cybertruck" trouncing a Ford F-150 in a tug-of-war.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Tesla and Ford were in a virtual stare-down on Tuesday in the macho truck world, each claiming their electric pick-up was strongest.

Dueling tough talk was exchanged on Twitter after Tesla chief executive Elon Musk posted a video of a freshly-unveiled "Cybertruck" trouncing a Ford F-150 in a tug-of-war.

The video had logged nearly 13 million views at Twitter as of early Tuesday in California, and been "retweeted" more than 110,000 times.

In the clip, a wedge-shaped Cybertruck drags an F-150 uphill, with smoke coming from the Ford's rear wheels as it tries to go downhill.

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"Better than a Ford F-150, faster than a Porsche 911," Musk claimed in an earlier tweet.

Ford Motor Company vice-president Sunny Madra issued a challenge to Musk in response to the video,

"Hey @Elon, send us a Cybertruck and we will do the apples to apples test for you," Mr Madra tweeted.

"Bring it on," Mr Musk fired back.

Musk's boasts ignited online debate, with Ford defenders arguing the F-150 was at a disadvantage for reasons that included lacking a load to enhance rear-wheel drive traction and that the Cybertruck may have gotten a head-start.

Tesla's new electric pickup truck has secured almost 150,000 orders, Mr Musk said on Twitter just two days after its big reveal went embarrassingly wrong.

The billionaire Tesla co-founder floundered on stage in California last week when the vehicle's armoured glass windows cracked in a demonstration intended to prove their indestructible design.

The industrial-looking Cybertruck is covered in the same steel alloy Mr Musk plans to use for his SpaceX Starship rocket and will be able to go from 0 to 100 kmh in about three seconds, the Tesla chief executive claimed in his presentation.

He said the entry-level model will have a starting price of US$39,900 and a 400km range, while a deluxe option will be able to travel twice the distance and will sell for US$69,900.

No date has been given for its release, but analysts said it would not be ready before the end of 2021 at the earliest.

AFP