Where is Tesla’s Cybertruck? Elon Musk names new start date

November 2019: Elon Musk unveils the Cybertruck.Image: AP

Presented to the media by Elon Musk in 2019, Tesla’s electric pick-up has recently been quiet. Now the start of sales is slowly becoming concrete, but the competition is already one step further.

07/21/2022, 20:4107/21/2022, 23:59

A prototype of the Tesla Cybertruck.

A prototype of the Tesla Cybertruck.image: Cybertruck Owners Club

Elon Musk said in a conference call with investors that the company hopes to be able to deliver the Cybertruck “by the middle of next year”. He had promised the same timeframe in an interview at the end of May.

While that still sounds vague, it’s a more concrete timeline than what Musk gave earlier this year. At the time, he said that the e-pickup would “hopefully” come next year.

According to estimates, there are almost 1.5 million pre-orders for the Cybertruck.

According to estimates, there are almost 1.5 million pre-orders for the Cybertruck.image: cybertruck owners club

At the presentation in 2019 it was said that production would start at the end of 2021. In early 2021, Musk said a handful of Cybertrucks would be delivered to customers by the end of the year, but no deliveries ever materialized. In August 2021, Tesla announced a delay until 2022. Deliveries are now scheduled to begin in mid-2023 at the earliest. It is produced in the new Gigafactory in Texas.

At the opening of the latest Gigafactory in early April, Musk said: “We will be in production next year with the Cybertruck, we will be in production with the Roadster and with the Semi. It all comes.”

The Cybertruck at the opening of the Gigafactory in Texas.

The Cybertruck at the opening of the Gigafactory in Texas.picture: tesla

At the end of May, Musk confirmed in an interview that the design was complete and that it was finally time to get started. Previously, the prototype was revised several times. Probably a bit too often for Musk, as he suggested in the interview. What exactly has changed since the presentation at the end of 2019 is not known.

The characteristic feature of the Cybertruck is its unusual, angular design. Tesla is said to have had trouble making this shape safe for use in the real world. During the conference call with investors, Musk didn’t elaborate on what else Tesla has to do to get the cybertruck on the road.

However, the lengthy work on the design ultimately did not delay the launch, Musk said. The chip shortage was much more decisive. Musk justified the delay earlier with full production capacities: “If we were to introduce new vehicles, our total vehicle production would decrease,” he said in January 2022. And further: “We will not be introducing any new vehicle models this year”.

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The presentation didn’t quite go to Musk’s taste…

Since the corona pandemic, Tesla has had the same problems as the rest of the auto industry: material shortages, production downtime and ongoing supply chain problems are slowing down production. Tesla brought only 254,695 vehicles to its customers in the second quarter of the current year – the first quarter-on-quarter decline in around two years. Like all other car manufacturers, Tesla can currently build far fewer cars than are actually in demand. “Tesla doesn’t have a demand problem, we have a production problem,” Musk described the situation at the beginning of the year.

Ford is ahead of Tesla with an e-pickup

Meanwhile, competitors like Ford and Rivian have launched their own electric pickups, with Ford claiming to produce 150,000 F-150 Lightnings next year. The production for the current year has long been sold out. Ford therefore suspended new reservations as early as the end of 2021 after 200,000 pre-orders had been received. Anyone who orders the electric pick-up now will have to wait a while.

Ford F-150 Lightning: The electric car for America

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Ford F-150 Lightning: The electric car for America

Although Cybertruck and F-150 Lightning are both huge pick-ups and will sell like hot cakes, they appeal to different audiences. Tesla is considered the e-car pioneer for the urban elite. With the conventional-looking Ford F-150 Lightning, on the other hand, electric cars are supposed to arrive in America’s social and geographic center. With the Lightning, Ford also wants to encourage farmers and tradespeople in rural and conservative regions of America to switch to electric mobility.

It should be noted that in the USA all major car manufacturers are focusing on large and heavy electric pickups, since SUVs with large loading areas have been among the best-selling vehicles there for decades. Specifically, Ford’s F-150 has been the best-selling car in the USA for almost 50 years.

Smart (small car), VW Golf (compact car), Tesla Model X (large SUV) and Cybertruck (pick-up) in size comparison.

Smart (small car), VW Golf (compact car), Tesla Model X (large SUV) and Cybertruck (pick-up) in size comparison.

From a European perspective, the electric pickups seem absurdly large, but in the USA, as commercial vehicles, they will make an important contribution to the electric transformation.

The Cybertruck cannot currently be pre-ordered in Switzerland. Ford is still open as to whether the F-150 Lightning will make the leap to Europe.

A prototype of the Cybertruck in the video

(oli)