Tesla Cybertruck Might Already Be Passing Ford F-150 Lightning & Rivian R1T — Truck Wars Over?

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I wrote a couple of days ago that Tesla produced 1,000 Cybertrucks one week last month. It’s a notable milestone, but if that was the output every week this year, that would still just be a little more than 50,000 trucks. Though, a reader pointed something out I hadn’t caught — at 1,000 units a week, it’s probably already beating the Ford F-150 Lightning. It’s also already beating the Rivian R1T.

We’ll have to wait for Q2 numbers to come in, and there have been some complications recently — Ford paused production of the F-150 Lightning for a bit, and Tesla paused production of the Cybertruck while dealing with an accelerator pedal recall. However, recent numbers do provide some things to consider.

In the 4th quarter of 2023, Ford sold 11,905 units of the F-150 Lightning. In the 1st quarter of this year, though, the total was 7,743 Lightnings. Naturally, with about 13 weeks in a quarter, if Tesla gets to an average of 1,000 Cybertrucks a week, that’s 13,000 in a quarter. With Tesla saying that Cybertruck production capacity is slowly but steadily ramping up, an average of 1,000 units a week in the 2nd quarter seems very possible.

Of course, Ford could also ramp up production and sales of the F-150 Lightning. Though, with the drop from the 4th quarter to the 1st quarter and Ford CEO Jim Farley recently talking about challenges selling as many EVs as they wanted, that seems unlikely. A hopeful target might just be reaching that Q4 figure again. Of course, I have much bigger hopes for the Ford F-150 Lightning due to all of its benefits over a conventional Ford F-150 and how popular that model is, but apparently there are still significant struggles breaking through to conventional truck buyers.

As for the Cybertruck, I assume it will get ramped up to well beyond 1,000 units a week, and perhaps even to 2,000 units a week by summer, so I expect it will take the lead in the 2nd quarter. Overall, like a reader, John Donovan, said, I’m guessing Tesla will sell around 100,000 Cybertrucks this year. According to Tesla’s shareholder letter published this week, based on the production equipment in place, they expect that they have production capacity for >125,000 Cybertrucks a year at the moment (all at the gigafactory in Texas). That doesn’t mean they are able to produce that many in a year, of course — just that the production equipment and space are there. Elon Musk previously forecasted demand for about 150,000 Cybertrucks a year. We’ll see, but Tesla may be well on its way to that target by the end of 2024.

As far as a forecast for the Ford F-150 Lightning or Rivian R1T? It’s very hard to guess. But I think it’s very likely the Cybertruck wins the “electric truck wars” this year, and it’s hard to tell when Ford’s customers and executives or Rivian’s customers and executives will be able to bring sales up to 100,000+ a year. Hopefully soon!


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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.

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