Until recently, the Cybertruck page on the Tesla website said, “You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in 2022.” But at the end of last year, the words “in 2022” were deleted. Why? Reuters claims a person familiar with the Cybertruck program has told it that production of the Cybertruck has been moved back to the the first quarter of 2023 — at the earliest. The all-electric pickup truck from Tesla is expected to be manufactured at the new Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, Texas. Various details about the Cybertruck were deleted from the Tesla website in October.
The source told Reuters the delay is because Tesla is changing features and functions of the electric pickup to make it a compelling product in a market segment that is expected to include electric pickup trucks from Ford, GM, RAM, and Rivian by the time the Cybertruck goes on sale. The source says to expect limited production to begin in the first quarter of 2023, with the number of trucks built increasing every quarter thereafter.
Elon Musk first introduced the Cybertruck amidst great fanfare in 2019, saying it would see production in late 2021. That was pushed back to late 2022, and now the start of production as far as we can tell is slated for early 2023. That is classic Musk, who is a master at generating buzz about future vehicles, but not always great at getting them to market on time.
In the final analysis, until now, it hasn’t mattered much how much new vehicles from Tesla were delayed because there really wasn’t any realistic competition for them. But with an electric pickup truck, Musk is jumping smack into the middle of the largest segment of the US new vehicle market and will be battling people who have been making pickup trucks since the first Roosevelt administration. They have honed, smoothed, and polished their offerings to perfection. Brand loyalty among truck owners is sky high. Tesla has to get the Cybertruck right or risk being publicly humiliated.
Musk says he will provide an updated product road map for Tesla at its next earnings call on January 26. In late November, when asked about the Cybertruck, he tweeted, “Oh man, this year has been such a supply chain nightmare & it’s not over!”
What has Tesla seen in the electric pickups revealed so far that would cause it to rethink some of the features of the Cybertruck? Will it offer a full-width storage cabinet behind the cab and in front of the cargo box like Rivian? Ford and GM are touting V2H and V2G technology, features no Tesla manufactured today offers. RAM has tool boxes built into the outside of the cargo box; GM offers something similar on the inside of the cargo box and has a so-called “mid-gate” in its new Silverado EV. We know after GM introduced a four-motor Hummer EV, Tesla stopped talking about a 3 motor version and is now planning a quad-motor version of the Cybertruck.
We might get answers to some of these questions on January 26 — or not. All we can say for sure is Tesla seems to have learned a thing of two from the competition. When it gets here, the Cybertruck will be everything Elon said it would be in 2019 — and more.
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