Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the stage to reveal details about the company’s new and unconventional Cybertruck pickup on Thursday, one day after he appeared in a bizarre interview at the DealBook Summit in New York. At that event, Musk boasted, “It will be the biggest product launch of anything by far on Earth this year.”
At the event in Austin, 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, can 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
Musk then presented several newly produced trucks to 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.
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.
The company began taking $100 refundable “reservations” for the Cybertruck after it was unveiled, and the company said it received more than 1 million reservations since its debut.
The covid pandemic and other factors contributed to a two-year delay however, and Tesla 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 (like 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 start-ups 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.
— CNBC’s Mike Wayland contributed to this report.
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