Elon Musk Says Tesla Cybertruck, Roadster, Optimus Robot Production Should Start in 2023
At the “Cyber Rodeo” event in Austin, Musk gave updates on some long-delayed Tesla promises. Whether he will deliver remains a question.
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is no stranger to making big, bold claims about what's coming next from his burgeoning tech empire. And at the company's "Cyber Rodeo" grand opening event for its Austin, Texas manufacturing plant last night, Musk gave some updates on a few long-delayed, long-promised products, including the Cybertruck.
As with everything Musk says, a grain of salt—or however much salt you can fit into the cowboy hat he wore onstage—should be taken with this news. But he now says the Cybertruck, the new Roadster, the long-delayed Semi, and the Optimus robot should be in production in 2023.
By all accounts, the Cyber Rodeo event was a spectacle worthy of Tesla. Some 15,000 people were invited to the Giga Texas facility, and countless more who didn't get an invitation waited outside—some of whom took Musk's "Doors open at 4, festivities at 8" tweet as an open invitation. One local school district even let its students out early Thursday to deal with traffic from the event, according to news reports.
Tweets aside, it's understandable that Tesla didn't want just anyone inside that event. But for those who were allowed in, they got treated to Musk—who rolled up in a first-generation Roadster and wore sunglasses and a black cowboy hat onstage—delivering some big, new claims about what's next.
As CNN Business noted, a new version of the Cybertruck appeared at the event, now with side mirrors and different headlights, but no door handles. "Who needs handles. The car can tell that you're there and it just knows that it needs to open," Musk said. The Cybertruck originally had a starting price of $39,900 at its debut event way back in 2019, but it was then delayed to 2021, then 2022, and now 2023, a promise Musk has made before.
While Tesla has been no stranger to delays and missed promises, like every automaker, it has been additionally hamstrung by the global pandemic and the resulting supply chain crisis and semiconductor shortage. Last night, Musk reaffirmed the Cybertruck will be built in Austin.
Musk also reaffirmed the new Roadster and Semi—both unveiled in 2017—are finally due out next year. “This year is all about scaling up,” Musk said. “Next year, there is going to be a massive wave of new products.” He also said the often-troubled "Full Self-Driving" beta software will be offered to those who dropped down $12,000 for it later this year.
Finally, there's the Optimus humanoid robot, arguably Tesla's boldest, strangest and most unprecedented bet yet, if it happens. Musk implied it's possible the robot could arrive in 2023 also, and made some very over-the-top claims about what it can do.
"I think we have a shot at being in production for version 1 of Optimus hopefully next year," Musk said, according to an Electrek transcript. "It will upend our idea of what the economy is… it will be able to do basically anything humans don’t want to do. It will do it. It’s going to bring an age of abundance. It may be hard to imagine it, but as you see Optimus develop, and we will make sure it’s safe, no Terminator stuff, it will transform the world to a degree even greater than the cars."
At the very least, "no Terminator stuff" is a good goal to have when talking about robots.
Musk has a long history of saying "soon" when it comes to new and upcoming vehicles and services that later face significant delays, all while raising significant amounts of money for Tesla through deposits for those projects. And many questions still linger around whether Full Self-Driving will live up to its lofty name and be safe for city streets. But one thing that hasn't been hurting lately is the profits: analysts say Tesla is likely to announce Q1 2022 results that report more record-breaking new car deliveries soon enough as high gas prices drive well-heeled buyers toward EVs.
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