When Tesla announced that the Cybertruck had finally reached the tooling phase, fans of the hotly-awaited cyberpunk-styled pickup rejoiced to know it was one step closer to being on the road. After all, more than 1.6 million units have already been reserved, according to an unofficial tracker. Don't get too worked up, though, because volume production of the truck could still have more than a year to go.
According to a new report from Reuters, the Cybertruck won't enter mass production until late 2023 at the earliest. Two parties familiar with the matter reportedly told the publication that Tesla was aiming to begin mass production of the Cybertruck "at the end of 2023," which is more than two years after it was initially slated to enter production and four years after it was first unveiled.
Now, we already know that Tesla was planning to begin Cybertruck production next year. CEO Elon Musk said it himself during the company's last shareholder meeting, noting that Tesla expected to actually begin production of the Cybertruck by mid-2023. However, Reuters' most recent report is focused on how quickly the company can ramp up its manufacturing capabilities to full capacity. According to the publication's sources, the company is aiming to be in volume production by the end of the year.
But just because Tesla has a date on the books doesn't mean that the company won't run back into production hell, or that the product launch will go over as seamlessly (or on the same timeline) as the company would like.
One hurdle Tesla will undoubtedly need to clear is translating its supposed 1.6 million reservations into sales. Customers were able to place a $99 deposit on the Cybertruck when it reservations first went live. This lead to customers putting multiple deposits down on vehicles they may not have intended to purchase, or simply buying a reservation spot as a status symbol, knowing they could easily cancel it later. Before the automaker knew it, its reservation list quickly grew to half-million pre-orders at a promised base price of just $40,000. However, there is almost no way—according to Musk himself—that Tesla will be able to honor that original $40,000 price point, similar to its elusive $35,000 Model 3.
"Cybertruck pricing was unveiled in 2019 and the reservation was $99, so, a lot has changed since then," Musk said at Tesla's Cyber Roundup in August. "The specs and the pricing will be different. I hate to give a little bit of bad news, but I think there's no way to have anticipated the inflation that we've seen and the various issues. What I can say is that the Cybertruck will be one hell of a product. It's going to be a damn fine machine."
Another cog in Tesla's money printer will be competition. When the truck was announced, it was the first of its kind: an all-electric, go-anywhere, do-anything pickup clad in (kind of) bulletproof armor. But now, legacy automakers have caught up. Ford is shipping its all-electric F-150, GMC has the Hummer EV, and Rivian offers the R1T. Soon, GM will also release the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra, plus additional offerings promised from Volkswagen's Scout brand, Toyota, Canoo, Lordstown, and more.
Tesla fans, Stans, and sideliners are almost certainly excited to see the Cybertruck hit the road. And to be honest, car enthusiasts in general should be happy to see something different driving around instead of yet another beige box, even if it is reminiscent in spirit to the extinct Pontiac Aztek. But Tesla will need to move swiftly to ensure a successful product launch, especially as competition is heating up across the entire electric automotive segment.
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