Tesla has confirmed the inevitable: the Cybertruck electric ute won’t be launching on time.
The Tesla website now says production of the ute starts in 2022, despite first promising the unique-looking pickup would roll down the production line in Austin, Texas before the end of 2021.
Production of the range-topping tri-motor was meant to start first, with its less expensive, less powerful siblings to follow shortly afterwards.
As recently as its mid-year investor update just two weeks ago, Tesla was keeping the door open for deliveries in 2021.
“We believe we remain on track to build our first Model Y vehicles in Berlin and Austin in 2021,” the company said in its update, with CEO Elon Musk adding this would be ‘limited production’ at first.
“We are also making progress on the industrialization of Cybertruck, which is currently planned for Austin production subsequent to Model Y.”
While it stopped short of officially delaying the start of production to 2022 as it did with the Semi truck, that estimate left a vanishingly small window for the Cybertruck to roll off the line in 2021.
The latest website update appears to slam that window shut.
“The Cybertruck is currently in its alpha stages. We finished basic engineering of the architecture of the vehicle,” said Lars Moravy, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering during the Q2 2021 earnings call.
“With the Cybertruck, we’re redefining how a vehicle is being made.”
Elon Musk confirmed late in 2020 the Cybertruck would receive various “improvements” ahead of its launch.
It’s expected to have a more level character line running along its side, and a window sill that sits more flush with the window glass.
With its huge body and distinctive angles, Mr Musk has previously said the Cybertruck could be followed by a more conventional pickup truck if sales are slow.
It’s targeted specifically at the USA, where the Ford F-150 is the best-selling car in the country.
“We sort of made the decision to not make this a world truck. So it doesn’t comply with a lot of specifications, like it doesn’t comply with EU’s specs and stuff… Maybe we can get, I don’t know, some exceptions to EU rules depending on how it’s classified,” he told Automotive News.
It’s unclear if Musk’s statements affect the Cybertruck’s introduction here. Officially, Australian consumers can already pre-order a Cybertruck, while the Tesla website says the Cybertruck will be available globally.
Tesla has previously said the single-motor, rear-wheel drive Cybertruck will start in the USA at US$40,000.
A lot has happened in the electric ute market since the Cybertruck’s memorable reveal, however.
The Blue Oval brand, whose F-150 has been the United States’ best-selling vehicle for 39 consecutive years, will introduce the all-electric Lightning in the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring next year.
In the US, it’ll be priced from a lower than expected $US39,974 ($51,520), with top-spec models exceeding $US90,000.
While all of those models feature relatively conventional pickup truck silhouettes, the Cybertruck looks more like a 1970s concept car from Marcelo Gandini.
It also features a series of headline-grabbing features, including wrapped bulletproof stainless steel skin, tempered glass, an air compressor and an on-board generator.
It has a claimed maximum range of 800km, the option of dual- and tri-motor all-wheel drive set-ups, a mooted 6.5 tonne tow rating, and a maximum 0-60mph time of 2.9 seconds.
That’s in addition to the usual suite of Tesla technology like Full Self-Driving and regular over-the-air updates.
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