Tesla Cybertruck Reservations ≠ Purchases … But They Mean Something

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Tesla Cybertruck reveal
Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

I had this article in drafts before Frugal Moogal wrote a piece similarly trying to address “controversy” around the $100 refundable preorder cost for a Tesla Cybertruck and the news of 200,000 preorders. However, I have slightly different framing — despite seemingly agreeing on the same two core points — so I feel compelled to still put this piece out there.

Most importantly, I think people on both sides are putting too much in their opinions of what the figures mean — or at least it reads like that. I don’t often end up the “moderate” who sticks to the middle of an issue, but I think that’s really the place to be on this one.

Take Preorder Numbers with a Grain of Salt

The first thing to emphasize is that the $100 preorders are definitely not reservations, orders, purchases, or even firm commitments that you want the Cybertruck. I’ve heard from someone who put down a reservation with only a “20% chance” of buying it, and someone else with only a “10% chance.” I’m sure there are many others who put down a reservation with an expectation that there’s less than a 50% chance they’ll get the truck. Why? Because:

  • it’s only $100
  • it’s refundable
  • it locks in the current Full Self Driving price.

On the other hand, I’ve seen repeatedly (so many times) that people are saying the Cybertruck is growing on them, and it has certainly grown on me for several reasons, mostly practical ones.

Nonetheless, I think the preorder numbers should be something that we all take a pure grain of salt. I don’t think there should really be any extrapolation here in terms of expected initial orders or annual sales.

… But They Mean Something!

Despite what I just wrote, preorders do mean something. At the very least, they mean that a ton of people are interested in the Cybertruck. You may not be committing anything with a refundable $100 deposit, but you’re showing some level of interest in the vehicle. I don’t presume there are many people who put down $100 despite having no interest in the vehicle or no possibility of getting it. Why would you do that?

And even considering low interest on average, 200,000 preorders show a lot of interest in this vehicle. That alone shuts down the common argument that no one wants this vehicle. That shuts down the argument that it’s “too hideous” or “too unusual.” It is appealing to hundreds of thousands of people.

In fact, it’s strikingly different visuals has probably kept people from preordering who may well get the vehicle. I haven’t preordered, but in the past couple of days I’ve thought about a couple of very serious reasons why I’m attracted to the vehicle. (No, it’s not because it’s such a manly man-vehicle … I think.)

As another anecdote, my much younger sister who lives in NYC, who doesn’t bring up Tesla much with me, asked me, “So what’s the word on this new truck? Should I get one?” I was quite surprised by that. She doesn’t even have a license! As a followup, she wrote, “I honestly like the aesthetic. It’s like a bat-SUV.” She fits quite squarely in the population Frugal Moogal described here, which may end up being the truck’s #1 demographic. I doubt many of those people put down a $100 preorder even though seem to love the truck. It’s not really how that culture rolls, from my experience.

Anyway, getting back on track, while I wouldn’t make any forecasts based on the preorder number, I do think it shows a strong level of public interest in the vehicle. Combine that with the chatter I’ve seen online about it, the fact that I think the insanely wild Cybertrukk needs some time to grow on people, and the passion with which I’ve seen people from all different groups (with different types of vehicles) expressing their love for the official vehicle of Mars, and I increasingly think this thing is going to be a real hit. But we’ll see. We have ~2 years for conjecture and speculation.

Read more Tesla Cybertruck stories.

By the way, if you’d like to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X and get some free Supercharging miles, feel free to use my special, magical, unicorn-blessed referral code: https://ts.la/zachary63404. You can also get a $100 discount on Tesla solar with that code.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7127 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan