Pushing aside the divisive styling of the Tesla Cybertruck, one of the main selling points of the upcoming EV was that it’d be ready for public consumption in just two short years, which would potentially undercut GM, Ford, and Rivian’s own EV pickup offerings. We should’ve known Tesla had a twist up its sleeve as it recently, and rather quietly, changed the expected production dates of the truck and pushed back the cheapest offering’s date by a full year.
When the Cybertruck debuted last month, Tesla announced that each model of the all-electric pickup would go into production in 2021. The company didn’t state the exact month as the car shown in Los Angeles was a very early prototype and neither the manufacturing processes nor the manufacturing line had been finalized. But 2021 was a hard date for the truck according to Tesla. It still is for the mid and top-tier trucks—theoretically—but waiting for the cheapest will be a longer affair.
Spotted by the eagle-eyed Tesla acolytes on the Cybertruck Owners Club forum, the users discovered Tesla had pushed back the cheapest Cybertruck offering by a full year. According to Tesla’s pre-order site, the “Tri Motor AWD: Fully refundable. You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in late 2021. Tri Motor AWD production is expected in late 2021. [The] Dual Motor AWD: Fully refundable. You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in late 2021. Dual Motor AWD production is expected in late 2021. [And the] Single Motor RWD: Fully refundable. You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in late 2021. Single Motor RWD production is expected to begin in late 2022.”
Some fans have been eager to emphasize Musk’s tweet concerning the Cybertruck’s tier breakdown as to why Tesla can push back the cheaper Cybertruck’s production date. According to Musk, the cheapest offering represented only a fraction of pre-orders, just 17 percent, compared to the mid- and top-tier trucks, which took up the rest of the pie. This, however, is based on an early pre-order figure of 147,000 Cybertrucks.
Pre-order deposits on the Cybertruck are still just $100, with Telsa’s CEO Elon Musk tweeting out that the company’s pre-orders had ballooned from the initial 147,000 to over 250,000 pre-orders since the truck’s debut. As mentioned in Tesla’s official breakdown of the Cybertruck trim levels, personal configuration is still a way’s away given the design hasn’t yet been homologated for production. That said, those $100 deposits can be drastically increased if customers want to tack on Tesla’s not-yet-functional “Full Self-Driving” for an extra $7,000, which is the only option available at the moment.
Tesla has pushed back production debuts before with the Model X, Model 3, and the apparently still happening, but no one’s heard about either in a long while,
Semi and Roadster 2.0. Each saw date pushbacks when the originally announced production dates couldn’t be met due to a number of issues, with the most recent being the much talked about $35,000 Model 3 designed for the masses. Even after its debut, the Tesla’s price has fluctuated and seen a steady increase.
Tesla’s site, however, maintains that production of the Cybertruck will start in 2021 and that the cheapest offering, though now further away, will have a starting price of $39,900. The mid-tier dual-motor AWD Cybertruck will start at $49,900, and the top-tier tri-motor AWD Cybertruck starts at $69,900. All of those are sans incentives as Tesla has depleted its allowance of rebates over the last few years.
We’re still skeptical that Musk and Co. will be able to hit the 2021 production target given the brand’s history of routinely missing goals, and the state of the very early prototype shown in Los Angeles. The Drive is especially wary given the awkward “bullet-proof” glass debut that saw Musk direct a subordinate to hit the glass with a steel ball to show its strength, only to have it shatter both the driver’s window and one rear window.
We’ll have to wait and see if Musk is once again eagerly over-promising or whether Tesla can finally make a production target.