After several years of delays, the first Tesla Cybertruck deliveries are now scheduled for November 30th. It’s quite an achievement—the Cybertruck is unique from top to bottom, meaning that its components and manufacturing process had to be built largely from scratch. Unfortunately, the challenges of Cybertruck’s development will continue to plague Tesla.
In an October 18th earnings call, Elon Musk asked customers and shareholders to “temper your expectations.” The Cybertruck is Tesla’s “best product ever,” but it will require immense work to reach volume production and be cash flow positive at a price that people can afford.”
A million people have already pre-ordered the Cybertruck. But, according to Musk, Tesla is at least 18 months away from its volume production goal of 250,000 Cybertrucks a year. We won’t see too many Cybertrucks on the road in 2024. And after the volume production goal is met, Tesla has to work through a mountain of pre-orders that date back to 2019.
Tesla is also abandoning the Cybertruck’s original $39,000 starting price, though we’ve known this since last year. New pricing will be announced on November 30th. Sadly, we can’t really speculate on the price. We’ve seen plenty of rumors, but they’re all unsubstantiated. And because the Cybertruck is so unique, other electric trucks (like the $73k Rivian R1T or $50k Ford F-150 Lightning) can’t be used as a point of reference. Customers may also be faced with extreme maintenance costs. Some Cybertruck components, like the cartoonishly large windshield wiper, could be expensive to replace.
Investors responded to Tesla’s October 18th earnings call with trepidation. Tesla stock fell 6% in pre-market trading the morning after, though the Cybertruck isn’t entirely responsible for this hiccup. As reported by Business Insider, Tesla fell short of revenue forecasts and reported an adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.66—not bad, but it’s less than the $0.74 estimate.
Now that Elon Musk has “tempered expectations,” Tesla has until 2025 to reach its volume production goal of 250,000 Cybertrucks a year. Historically speaking, Musk has a habit of setting unrealistic goals, so there’s a decent chance that this production goal will be delayed. On the other hand, Tesla already reports a capacity of “125,000 Cybertrucks” at Gigafactory Texas, so 250,000 units a year by 2025 is within the realm of possibility.