The long-awaited Tesla Cybertruck won’t begin mass production in 2023 as promised. We’ve seen reports of recent progress on the much-delayed truck. But Tesla
CEO Elon Musk told investors recently that a handful of Cybertrucks could roll off production lines this summer, but mass production won’t start until 2024.
Tesla doesn’t answer journalists’ questions, so Musk’s quarterly investor calls are often the best way we have to learn about Tesla’s plans. This announcement came during Musk’s fourth-quarter investor discussion.
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What is the Tesla Cybertruck?
The Tesla Cybertruck is a long-promised electric pickup truck that doesn’t resemble any truck on the market or any truck that has ever been produced. It looks like something from a 1980s science fiction artist’s depiction of the future.
A squat pentagon of brutalist lines and bare, unpainted sheet metal, it takes its inspiration from the movie “Blade Runner,” Musk has said. Tesla has promised impressive truck performance, including up to 14,000 pounds of towing capacity.
Tesla plans to sell the truck in one-, two-, and three-motor versions, the last of which could get from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds.
Workers at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, were recently seen installing huge new casting machines, which Musk confirmed were intended for Cybertruck production.
Musk initially promised a starting price under $40,000, but after several years of inflation and supply chain problems, he has since said that’s out of reach. Tesla is hardly alone in that – Ford
launched its own F-150 Lightning electric pickup with a sub-$40,000 price tag, but quickly raised the price to over $50,000.
Still, Tesla claimed more than a million people put down a $100 deposit to get in line for the truck.
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Coming in 2021; No, 2022; No, 2023; No…
This latest production target is at least the fourth date Musk has promised.
When Musk announced the Cybertruck back in 2019, he promised it would be in production within two years. He later delayed that to 2022. Then delayed it again into 2023.
This latest announcement means the first trucks could leave factory doors this summer. But Musk cautioned investors, “I always try to downplay the start of production. It increases exponentially, but it is very slow at first.” The first examples of a new car rarely reach customers. They’re typically used for testing and marketing purposes and sometimes lent to journalists for evaluation.
Tesla makes its own path and doesn’t always follow industry traditions, so it’s always possible the company could deliver a few in 2023. But Musk told investors that volume production to fill orders will start in 2024.
Still, there are reasons to believe the Cybertruck is more real today than it was a year ago. Workers at Tesla’s Austin, Texas, Gigafactory were recently seen installing huge new casting machines. Musk confirmed on the call that those are intended for Cybertruck production.
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Late to the party it organized
When Tesla first announced the Cybertruck, no other automaker had publicly discussed building an electric pickup. But you may have noticed that, above, we mentioned a Ford electric truck already in customers’ parking spots.
Ford’s F-150 Lightning is hardly alone. GMC already sells its Hummer EV. Startup Rivian
has delivered hundreds of R1T pickups to customers. Startup Lordstown Motors
has begun customer deliveries of its Endurance truck.
has announced both a Chevrolet Silverado EV and a GMC Sierra EV, which could reach production before the Cybertruck, pushing Tesla’s debut to seventh at best. Ram’s 1500 Revolution—which seats six and can follow its owner like a puppy – is likely further behind.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.