The futuristic Tesla Cybertruck, which is touted to be bulletproof but got its windows smashed by just a metal ball thrown at close range, was planned for production in late 2021. This date was announced during Tesla’s Cybertruck showcase event in November of 2019. However, in July of 2021, Tesla announced that the production will be delayed to sometime in 2022.
But just a month into the year 2022, Reuters’s Hyunjoo Jin received an exclusive insight from a source close to the Cybertruck project that the production has been delayed once again. This time by a whole year to early 2023. Moreover, just like the PS5, there will only be a limited quantity of units available in the first quarter of 2023. Output is only planned to be increased later in the year.
However, you don’t need an exclusive to know about the delay. If you head on over to the Cybertruck’s configurator page, you can see a few dead giveaways. Firstly, just like Samsung Bespoke fridges in Malaysia, the option to configure the Cybertruck is not available. It was removed sometime between October 6th to October 15th 2021.
Secondly, there was a line that read “you will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in 2022.”. The last time the year 2022 was mentioned in the line was on 8th December 2021. Now, the line just reads “You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears.” However, booking is still open for $100.
You can see for yourselves on web.archives.org.
But why was Tesla forced to delay their most unique, controversial looking sci-fi pickup truck? Well, there’s your answer! The Cybertruck is designed and constructed using materials like no other vehicle on the road today. Similar to what made DeLorean DMC-12 the perfect car for time travel, the Cybertruck has a stainless-steel body. In this case, it is an ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel. In addition to its boxy, angular design with minimal curves, Tesla had to design an entirely new manufacturing process, which by itself can raise issues that could delay production.
Another reason that caused this delay is the rise in competition in the electric truck space. Ford’s new F-150 Lightning, newcomer Rivian’s first electric truck, R1T, GMC all new Hummer EV, and Chevrolet’s upcoming electric Silverado RST were received with relatively less controversy than Tesla’s Cybertruck. To me personally, all these trucks look more appealing and familiar design wise. Furthermore, they are also more practical. Thus, it comes as no surprise to anyone that Reuters’s source confirmed that the delay has something to do with Tesla wanting to “change features and functions” and make their truck “more attractive”.
However, the biggest contributor to the delay is the global chip shortage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Elon Musk himself tweeted regarding this in response to fans asking for an update on the Cybertruck. Unlike Sony, Tesla can’t just fall back to producing more of their previous gen Cybertruck to meet production targets.
But Tesla is fine not rerouting all their chip resources to the production of the Cybertruck, because Tesla’s MVP is the Model 3 and Y. According to a report by Bloomberg, Tesla’s Model 3 became the first electric car to top Europe’s sales chart. Out of the one million cars Tesla sold in 2021, the Model 3 and Y made up 97.4% of the total sales. The remaining was made up of Model 3 and X. Therefore, Tesla is not going to cannibalise its sales just to meet the production target of the Cybertruck.
So, when exactly can fans get their hands on the Cybertruck? Well according to Elon Musk via a tweet to fans, more details and a product roadmap will be given at Tesla upcoming earnings call. The report will be published on 26th January 2022, which is less than a week away.
If everything goes to plan, Tesla plans on manufacturing the Cybertruck at its Texas Gigafactory which will begin production of Model Y early 2022. Tesla announced during the Cybertruck showcase event that there will be 3 variants on offer. Do note that the range displayed below is from Tesla and has not been tested by testing standards, i.e EPA and WLTP. The Malaysian price shown is without tax and duties.
- Single motor rear-wheel drive with a 400km range, 3.7 ton towing capacity, and a 0–60 mph time of under 6.5 seconds, for $39,900 (RM166,722)
- Dual motor all-wheel drive with a 480km range, 5 ton towing capacity, and a 0–60 mph time of under 4.5 seconds for $49,900 (RM208,507)
- Triple motor all-wheel drive with a 805km range, 7 ton towing capacity, and a 0–60 mph time of under 2.9 seconds for $69,900 (RM292,077)
It also looks like that Tesla will start with the production of the flagship variant first, like they originally planned, followed by the other variants in descending order. But with the global chip shortage showing no signs of improvement, fans should brace themselves for another delay.
With Malaysia now encouraging the use of electrical vehicles through tax breaks and investing in charging infrastructure, could Tesla offer their vehicles here soon? There are already grey imports of the Model S and 3 here so there seems to be a market for these cars.