Production of the Tesla Cybertruck starts 4 years after Musk showed the prototype

Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Tesla Cybertruck in November 2019. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly four years after Elon Musk first unveiled Tesla Inc.’s debut pickup, the automaker has built its first Cybertruck.

Tesla shared the development on Twitter, posting a picture of workers in protective vests and helmets that hide much of the vehicle. When Musk first showed a prototype of the wedge-shaped truck in November 2019, the plan was for production to start two years later.

Musk has tempered expectations of how quickly Tesla will increase production, and told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in May that the Cybertruck’s radical design presents challenges. He has said that the body should be stainless steel, which can be expensive and difficult to shape and weld.

“It’s going to be difficult to make the cost reasonable because it’s a new car, new production method,” Musk said. “In the grand scheme of things, compared to the production rate of all the other cars we make, it will be small. But it’s still very cool.”

Tesla originally said it would sell the Cybertruck in three configurations:

  • A single-engine version with more than 250 miles of range, starting at $39,900
  • A twin-engine model with more than 300 miles of range, starting at $49,900
  • And a tri-motor iteration with more than 500 miles of range, starting at $69,900

But in October 2021, the company removed prices and specifications from the Cybertruck order page, without explanation.

When asked in April of this year about updated specs and pricing, Musk responded by saying Tesla would save that information for a Cybertruck handover event he hoped to hold around the end of the third quarter.

Since Tesla unveiled the vehicle at an event marred by the botched demonstration of supposed bulletproof glass, Ford Motor Co. an electric version of its best-selling F-150, General Motors Co. began selling its GMC Hummer EV pickup, and Rivian Automotive Inc. launched its R1T truck.

Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner expects Tesla to deliver 2,000 Cybertrucks this year, a fraction of the 1.78 million vehicles he projects in total. In a June 26 report, he questioned whether the product would increase the company’s profitability, citing the difficulty of optimizing production and the need for larger battery packs to enable towing.

“This could add an additional headwind to margins in the back half of the year,” wrote Rosner, who rates Tesla stock as a buy with a $260 price target. Shares closed Friday at $281.38 and are up 128% this year.

Tesla publishes results for the second quarter on July 19.

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