Tesla finally unveiled its Cybertruck at an event in Austin, Texas. The moment for Tesla, as the Cybertruck is the company’s first new model in nearly four years and an addition to its lineup of electric vehicles (EVs). However, the unveiling was not without its challenges, as CEO Elon Musk addressed production difficulties and a higher than expected starting price.
Elon Musk, known for his theatrical presentations, drove the Cybertruck onto the stage to cheers from the crowd. The vehicle, made of shiny stainless steel with an angular design, has been described as radical and futuristic.
Musk highlighted the truck’s features, including its bulletproof exterior, rock-proof windows, and towing capabilities of over 11,000 pounds. The interior seats six passengers and a 17-inch touchscreen navigation for the driver.
The excitement surrounding the Cybertruck, Musk acknowledged the challenges in bringing the vehicle to market. He mentioned “enormous challenges in reaching volume production” due to the truck’s new technology and design.
The body material and futuristic styling costs to production, alienating traditional pickup truck buyers who prioritize utility.
Elon Musk tempered investor expectations by stating that it would take a year to 18 months for the Cybertruck to become a cash flow contributor.
This cautionary statement came as a departure from Musk’s earlier projections. The starting price of the truck was revealed to be $60,990, which is over 50% more than the $40,000 Musk had touted in 2019.
The higher than expected price led analysts to suggest that the truck would attract a select affluent buyer base.
The pricing and model details underwent changes since the announcements in 2019. The rear-wheel drive base model, priced at $60,990, is set to be available in 2025, with an estimated range of 250 miles.
The beast, the highest performance variant and an all-wheel-drive version are priced at around $100,000 and $80,000, respectively, and are expected to be available next year.
The tri-motor trim, priced at $99,990, boasts 845 horsepower, 10,296 lb-ft of torque, and a range of approximately 320 miles.
Tesla’s goal of producing 250,000 Cybertrucks annually by 2025 faces hurdles, considering the delayed initial delivery and the complexity of the truck’s design.
Musk admitted to facing unique challenges and stated that Tesla “dug our own grave with Cybertruck.” Production estimates for the fourth quarter of 2023 are modest, ranging between 2,000 and 3,000 units, with a projected increase to 10,000 units in the first half of 2024.
Rivian’s R1T is priced at $73,000, while the F-150 Lightning starts at about $50,000. The larger and powerful Hummer EV pickup exceeds $96,000.
Tesla’s challenge lies not only in meeting production targets but also in carving a niche in a market dominated by established players.
The truck has garnered interest, with over a million reservation holders who initially put down $100 deposits. However, the higher price point and delayed availability may impact the appeal of the truck.
Analysts suggest that Tesla’s products, including the Cybertruck, appeal to more affluent early adopters, limiting its audience.
Elon Musk’s approach to product launches as evidenced by the profanity laced interview preceding the event.
Musk’s emphasis on quality over personal preferences and his willingness to acknowledge challenges contribute to the transparency of Tesla’s journey in the electric vehicle market.
During the event, Musk highlighted several unique selling points, positioning it as a revolutionary vehicle in the market.
The truck’s hard steel body is claimed to be bulletproof, with windows described as rock proof. Musk addressed its towing capacity, surpassing 11,000 pounds, and acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. The truck’s composite bed, measuring six feet long and four feet wide, is touted as super-tough.