Four years after its debut, the Tesla Cybertruck has finally reached its first batch of customers. The truck was delivered to 10 people during a lavish event at the company’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, at which Elon Musk predicted the truck would usher in a new, more exciting future.
The company also provided updated details about the pricing, range, and features for the truck, much of which has changed significantly from the originally announced numbers. The rear-wheel drive version of the electric truck will start at $60,990 — up from the original price of $39,900 in 2019 — and will get 250 miles of range on a full charge. The all-wheel drive version will start at $79,990 and get 340 miles. And a “Cyberbeast” trim will run you $99,990 and get around 320 miles of range.
The angular, stainless steel electric truck has long fascinated fans of Tesla, but its many delays have led some to question whether the truck would ever actually arrive. The production has reportedly been extremely challenging for the company, mostly due to the choice to use ultra-hard stainless steel for the exterior. Musk insisted the truck be bulletproof, which further complicated the process.
The polarizing design has been another flashpoint. The polygonal shape and sharp angles were meant to signal that Tesla couldn’t be less interested in competing in the traditional truck market. That has led some experts to conclude that the Cybertruck is likely to be more of a halo vehicle for the company, luring in customers to instead buy its more practical (and available) vehicles, like the Model 3 and Y.
Indeed, in the run-up to the event, Musk sought to “temper expectations” around the Cybertruck, warning investors that it wouldn’t start to generate “positive cash flow” for the company for at least a year to 18 months. Tesla has said it expects to begin producing 250,000 trucks annually by 2025, but the production ramp would be extraordinarily difficult.
In an earnings call in October, Musk said “demand was off the charts,” noting that over 1 million people have paid $100 in a refundable deposit to reserve the Cybertruck. But he also admitted that the company may have bitten off more than it could chew. “We dug our own grave with the Cybertruck,” he said. “You know, nobody — in general, probably nobody digs a grave better than themselves.”
Now that it’s out, much of the focus will redirect to Tesla’s production and how quickly the company can get these vehicles into customers’ hands. As a new entry into the highly competitive truck market, there will also be some attention paid to how well it competes with other electric trucks out there, like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T.
But those questions may be moot because Tesla is just not expected to make very many — at least not at first. The polarizing design is likely to turn off a broad swath of truck customers. And its arrival in the midst of a cooling market for electric vehicles means there are just way fewer early adopters and tech-obsessives who are in the market for a giant polygon on wheels — cool factor notwithstanding.
From a sales perspective, the Cybertruck could end up being a huge hit. But even so, it won’t come anywhere close to matching the volume of trucks that Ford, Chevy, and others typically sell. For Musk to jump feet first into the highly lucrative, intensely competitive truck market with a divisive design and difficult production process seems like an odd choice — even for a guy who’s become somewhat famous for odd choices.
Much of the industry has shifted to bigger vehicles in recent decades, with trucks in particular making up some of the bestselling models. The companies make a lot of them, they sell a lot, and then they reap the profits. Tesla does not seem poised to reap the same benefits from the Cybertruck.
After four years of anticipation and several delays, Tesla has finally delivered its Cybertruck to its first batch of customers. The truck was handed over to 10 people during a lavish event at the company’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. The pricing, range, and features of the truck have been updated since its initial announcement. The rear-wheel drive version will start at $60,990, while the all-wheel drive version will start at $79,990. The range for the rear-wheel drive version is 250 miles on a full charge, while the all-wheel drive version can go 340 miles. There is also a “Cyberbeast” trim available for $99,990 with a range of around 320 miles.
The production of the Cybertruck has been challenging for Tesla, primarily due to the use of ultra-hard stainless steel for the exterior and Musk’s insistence on making it bulletproof. The truck’s polarizing design, with its polygonal shape and sharp angles, has also been a point of contention. Some experts believe that the Cybertruck is more of a halo vehicle for Tesla, attracting customers to its more practical models like the Model 3 and Y.
Tesla has received an overwhelming response to the Cybertruck, with over 1 million people paying a refundable deposit of $100 to reserve one. However, Musk has warned investors that the truck won’t generate positive cash flow for the company for at least a year to 18 months. Tesla aims to produce 250,000 trucks annually by 2025, but the production ramp-up will be challenging.
The focus now shifts to Tesla’s production and how quickly the company can deliver the vehicles to customers. While there is interest in how the Cybertruck will fare against other electric trucks in the market, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T, Tesla is not expected to produce a large volume of trucks initially. The divisive design of the Cybertruck may also deter some potential buyers. Despite its potential as a sales hit, the Cybertruck is unlikely to match the sales volume of traditional truck manufacturers like Ford and Chevy.
Overall, Tesla’s entry into the highly competitive truck market with a unique design and production challenges is seen as a risky move, even for Elon Musk, who is known for his unconventional choices. The industry has seen a shift towards bigger vehicles, particularly trucks, which have become some of the top-selling models for many companies. It remains to be seen whether Tesla will reap similar benefits from the Cybertruck.