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The Promised $39,000 Tesla Cybertruck Actually Costs $60,990

The Tesla Cybertruck can't haul or tow as well as Musk said it would. It also has a shorter range and higher price than promised.
Tesla

Tesla finally held its Cybertruck delivery party on Thursday, formally detailing specifications and pricing for its long-awaited pickup truck as it handed over an initial batch of vehicles to a handful of early reservation holders. In an increasingly prevalent pattern though, the production model doesn’t measure up to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s promises, coming in over cost and short on range.

The pricing scheme for the Cybertruck was released alongside its reveal, and is now explained on Tesla’s website. The cheapest Cybertruck is the rear-wheel-drive model starting at $60,990 with an unspecified delivery charge on top. (This fee is $1,390 across the rest of Tesla’s lineup, but tends to be higher for heavier vehicles like trucks.) The all-wheel-drive model starts at $79,990, while the performance “Cyberbeast” tri-motor version comes in at $99,990.

Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck. Tesla

These figures are far north of the prices originally promised at the Cybertruck concept’s reveal in 2019. Back then, Musk said the single-motor base model would run $39,900, and that the dual- and tri-motor versions would cost $51,100 and $71,100 respectively. Those prices would tilt the electric truck market strongly in Tesla’s favor regardless of capabilities, but they’re now officially unfulfilled promises—just like some of the Cybertruck’s capabilities.

At reveal, Tesla promised the Cybertruck would be capable of hauling a 3,500-pound payload, towing 14,000 lbs, and driving as far as 500 miles on a single charge. Today’s delivery event however outlined only a 2,500-lb payload, 11,000-lb towing rating, and peak range of 340 miles. There will be an optional bed-mounted extra battery to boost range to some 470 miles, but the 500-miler is MIA. Here’s what that solution looks like, per Tesla:

Tesla’s failure to meet its promised price and the Cybertruck’s late arrival stands in contrast to the automaker whose trucks it has repeatedly tried to upstage: Ford. Tesla directly compared the Cybertruck to the F-150 Lightning in a tractor pull video at the delivery event, and played tug-of-war with a regular F-150 in an earlier demo, both of which were pretty obviously staged. Stacking the deck shouldn’t be necessary for a truck that’s significantly pricier than a base 2023 Lightning, which now starts at $49,995 before delivery—though admittedly, that’s almost $10,000 more than the price it launched with in 2021 (and it was even more expensive before Ford slashed prices over the summer).

Still, the Cybertruck never hit its mark, and if overly simplistic comparison videos are your forte, it’s not as good as the Ford off-road either.

Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck. Tesla

That could be a problem for the Cybertruck, which is priced and designed more like a lifestyle vehicle akin to the Rivian R1T and GMC Hummer EV. It’s more expensive than the base dual-motor Rivian which starts at $73,000, while $87,000 nets the quad-motor drivetrain and $94,000 gets the 410-mi battery. The cheapest 2023 Hummer is pricier still at almost $99,000 delivered, though it’s still cheaper than the “Cyberbeast.” There’s also the 2025 Ram 1500 REV on the horizon, which will catch hell if it too fails to fulfill its 500-mi range promise.

Unlike the Model S, the Cybertruck is not a pioneer but a latecomer, and it’ll be all the harder for it to have the impact Tesla’s first EV did. It’ll no doubt be a hit with Musk’s diehards, but with so many alternatives to the Cybertruck already on the market, the public may seek a truck that’s cheaper. Or one that doesn’t look like tinfoil origami.

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