Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the stage to reveal details about the company’s new and unconventional Cybertruck pickup on Thursday in Austin, Texas, one day after he appeared in a bizarre interview at the DealBook Summit in New York. At that earlier event, Musk boasted, “It will be the biggest product launch of anything by far on Earth this year.”
In a dimly lit event space at the company’s headquarters, Elon Musk hyped up the fans in attendance saying, “What we have here is a better truck than a truck, while also being a better sports car than a sports car in the same package.”
Musk said the Cybertruck’s hard steel body was bulletproof, and that its windows were “rock proof.” He said it could tow over 11,000 pounds, accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.6 seconds and features a “super-tough” composite bed that is six feet long and four feet wide. He added that the vehicle would “change the look of the roads” and that the “future finally looks like the future.”
The Tesla CEO did not directly mention the pricing and battery range for the Cybertruck. Tesla’s website would reveal that the rear-wheel drive base model for the Cybertruck is now priced some 50% higher than the $40,000 the company originally aimed for before any tax breaks or other incentives.
He then presented several “production Cybertrucks” to beaming customers who drove away in them.
In an October earnings call, Musk struck a more cautious note saying, “There will be enormous challenges in reaching volume production with the Cybertruck, and then in making the Cybertruck cashflow positive.” He also said at that time, “we dug our own grave with Cybertruck,” pointing out “unique challenges” in producing and bringing that truck to market.
According to Tesla’s website, the company will sell its base model rear-wheel drive version of the Cybertruck for an estimated $60,990 and a “Cyberbeast” version for $99,990, with deliveries for both of these trims starting next year. Tesla also plans to sell an all-wheel drive version of the Cybertruck for $79,900 starting in 2025, per the company website.
The base model rear-wheel drive Cybertruck is expected to have a 250 mile range battery and accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds, and the all-wheel drive Cybertruck is expected to have a range of 340 miles and go 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds with a top speed of 112 miles per hour. The highest-end Cyberbeast would have the fastest acceleration and a range of 320 miles, estimated, with a top speed of 130 miles per hour.
Tesla first unveiled the Cybertruck — with its angular and unpainted hard steel body — in November 2019. It had previously said production of the vehicle would start in 2021, and the truck would sell at the entry-level price of $39,900 for a rear-wheel drive version, and around $69,000 for a highest-spec, tri-motor version, which is far more affordable than the prices Tesla listed Thursday.
The company began taking $100 refundable “reservations” for the Cybertruck after it was unveiled, and the company said it received more than one million reservations since its debut. Customers must now put down $250 to move ahead with a Cybertruck order, per the Tesla website.
While Tesla unveiled its Cybertruck design in 2019, it only began early Cybertruck production in July this year.
Meanwhile, competitors including Ford, General Motors and Rivian began to sell their more utilitarian electric pickups. Earlier this week, Rivian, which only manufactures battery electric vehicles, similar to Tesla, started to offer a leasing option for select models of its all-electric R1T pickup truck.
The U.S. electric pickup truck market has not expanded as quickly as some thought when the Cybertruck was initially revealed. Several startups have either now brought vehicles to market or did with little success, such as Lordstown Motors. Both GM and Ford have announced plans to scale back, postpone or cancel EV products and investments, including some related to EV trucks.
Tesla shares closed lower Thursday by about 2% and were flat after hours.
Michael Wayland, CNBC
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