Tesla Cybertruck. Image courtesy of Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

Tesla’s Cybertruck Defies the Naysayers & Becomes Best-Selling Electric Truck

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It’s official — Tesla’s Cybertruck was the the best selling EV pickup truck in the US during Q2, and is among the fastest production ramps in Tesla’s history.

Image courtesy of Michael Grinshpun.

After the first deliveries in just November of last year, the Cybertruck was able to sell 8,755 units in the US during Q2, compared to 7,902 Ford F-150 Lightnings, 3,261 Rivian R1Ts, 2,929 Hummer EVs, and 2,196 Chevrolet Silverado EVs.

The Cybertruck is also the best selling vehicle of any kind priced above $100,000.

This success has been bolstered by many celebrities showing off their Cybertrucks, such as Jay Z and Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams, Spike Lee, and many more.

Critics have long doubted Cybertruck’s potential, claiming it will not make it to production, could not be produced at scale, and that it would not be popular. For example, Road and Track editor Matt Farah claimed Tesla probably couldn’t build and sell the Cybertruck in America, and Tim Healey from The Truth About Cars wrote that the Cybertruck would be Tesla’s first flop. As has been the case many times before in Tesla’s history — Tesla proved the skeptics wrong.

Despite its overall success, the Cybertruck’s journey has not been without challenges. In April, Tesla had to recall all 3,878 Cybertrucks produced at the time due to the accelerator pedal cover slipping off and lodging into the interior trim. Tesla explained that this was due to an unapproved lubricant used in the production process to help slip the cover onto the accelerator pedal. In June, Tesla voluntarily recalled 11,688 Cybertrucks after windshield wiper motors failed due to a supplier applying excessive current during functional testing, which damaged the motors.

Image courtesy of Michael Grinshpun.

Tesla has also implemented a number of new technologies to the Cybertruck. The Cybertruck is the first production vehicle with a 48V low-voltage system after automakers have floated for decades the idea of increasing the voltage of the low-voltage system. Tesla even sent every major automaker a manual on how to design a 48V vehicle. The Cybertruck is also the first production vehicle with steer-by-wire that enables variable steering ratios that can make the Cybertruck steering feel like a much smaller, more nimble car. The Cybertruck is also Tesla’s first vehicle with bidirectional charging and an 800V high-voltage battery pack. It also has by far the largest gigacastings of any Tesla. The Cybertruck also features innovations like cold-rolled stainless steel body panels and the “Cybercell,” which is the latest generation of Tesla’s 4680 battery cell. Tesla’s production ramp for the 4680 cells has kept ahead of Cybertruck’s production ramp and recently passed the milestone of 50 million cells produced.

All of these innovations pose risks and challenges to the ramp-up of Cybertruck production. Despite this, the Cybertruck has proven to be the second-fastest production ramp in Tesla’s automotive history, behind only the Model Y. This means the Cybertruck has outpaced the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 production ramps in their first three quarters.

Chart: Based on author’s estimates from VIN registration data and Tesla official P&D numbers. Courtesy of Michael Grinshpun.

The Tesla team deserves a lot of credit for engineering such an innovative truck, addressing early production issues proactively, and ramping production quickly, even while some called it impossible, ugly, or a flop.

Next, the Cybertruck is likely to get cheaper as Tesla ends the Foundation series, which is priced $100,000–$120,000 and includes all of the extra options. Tesla will then offer trims priced at $80,000–$100,000, and, eventually, a rear-wheel-drive trim for $61,000 as they ramp towards their current production capacity of 125,000 Cybertrucks per year. At the most recent Tesla shareholders meeting, Elon Musk mentioned Tesla could transition off the more expensive Foundation series this quarter. This will likely drive sales even higher as Tesla cuts out cost from the production process to enable the lower-priced trims.

Tesla investors and fans are now looking ahead to commentary from Tesla about the Cybertruck’s profitability on the Q2 earnings call as well as Tesla’s unveiling of the “Cybercab” on August 8th.

Tesla’s innovation has helped to create the tidal wave of EV sales that has now spread to the pickup market. Where will it go next?

By Chris. G.


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