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Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Cybertruck Moves Step Closer to Reality

Earnings report highlights updated status for Tesla EV truck

  • Tesla confirms initial setup of manufacturing line for forthcoming Cybertruck.
  • Beset by delays, the Cybertruck is forecast to start production by mid-2023.
  • Cybertruck will enter the market a step behind rival EV trucks from Ford, GM and Rivian.

Tesla officials confirmed in a third-quarter financial report and investor call that the Cybertruck is a step closer to reality. Among the presentation materials was a chart that listed the Cybertruck's status as "Tooling," suggesting that Tesla has moved to the phase of configuring heavy machinery at its Texas plant required to assemble the angular, unpainted steel Blade Runner-fantasy of a pickup truck.

This follows reports that the company has already ramped up Cybertruck battery production at its Fremont, California, plant. The batteries will be initially trucked to Tesla's Gigafactory in Texas as the company aims to begin Cybertruck production in the middle of 2023.

Tesla Cybertruck

Can Tesla meet Cybertruck demand?

The company's challenge will be to meet demand for reportedly more than a million reservations that have already been made for the Cybertruck, according to a crowd-sourced reservation tracker. Since the reservation in this case is a refundable $100 deposit, the number of reservations that are converted into actual orders remains to be seen, especially once final pricing and specifications are revealed. Whether Tesla could meet demand for even half that number is questionable. For comparison, Tesla delivered around 936,000 cars worldwide last year.

In May, Tesla stopped taking reservations from outside of North America and likely faces an uphill battle with safety regulators in Europe and Australia. That might slow global demand, but given the insatiable appetite for trucks in North America — even one as weird as the Cybertruck — that might not be much of a reprieve.

Tesla Cybertruck

Final Cybertruck specs subject to change

The Cybertruck has been set back with repeated delays. Tesla originally hoped to launch it in 2021. Pandemic and supply chain issues hampered that target, which then moved to 2022, and finally to mid-2023. Undisclosed sources told Reuters that some delays are due to changes to the original concept to keep pace with the features and offerings of recent plug-in pickups like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T.

Cybertruck sightings have ramped up too. A battered prototype outfitted with camera gear was recently spotted on a flatbed trailer on a public road. Another example showed up at the recent ArtCenter Design Invitational at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, along with Tesla chief designer and ArtCenter alum Franz von Holzhausen.

Edmunds says

Delays probably won't dampen enthusiasm for Tesla's wild take on an electric pickup, but the final specs and price might.