Tesla aims to start mass production of its Cybertruck at the end of 2023, two years after the initial target for the long awaited pickup truck chief executive Elon Musk had unveiled in 2019, sources told the Reuters news agency.
The report noted Tesla had said in October it was working on preparing its Austin, Texas plant to build the new model with “early production” set to start in mid 2023.
“We’re in the final lap for Cybertruck,” Musk reportedly told a conference call with financial analysts.
Reuters said a gradual ramp up in the second half of 2023 to full output would mean Tesla would not be recording revenue until early 2024 for a full quarter of production on a new model seen as key to its growth.
It would also mean a wait of another year for the estimated hundreds of thousands of potential buyers who have paid US$100 to reserve a Cybertruck in one of the most highly anticipated, and closely tracked electric vehicle launches ever, the report said.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
The news agency noted the EV maker had not announced final pricing of the Cybertruck, showed a production version or specified how it would manage battery supply.
Reuters noted Tesla in 2019 had projected an initial price of under $40,000 but prices for new vehicles have increased higher since then and Tesla has raised prices across its current model line.
Reuters recalled Musk had introduced Cybertruck at a 2019 event where the vehicle’s designer cracked the vehicle’s supposedly unbreakable “armour glass” windows. The company had postponed production three times since: from late 2021 to late 2022, then to early 2023 and most recently to the mid-2023 target for initial production.
The launch of the Cybertruck would give Tesla an EV entrant in one of the most profitable US segments and a competitor to electric pickups from rivals such as Ford and Rivian Automotive, both of which have launched models in still limited numbers.
In addition, Foxconn’s Lordstown Motors last month began pre production of its Endurance electric truck.
In January, Musk had cited shortages in sourcing components as the reason for pushing the launch of Cybertruck into 2023.
In May, Tesla stopped taking orders for the Cybertruck outside North America. Musk said then the company had “more orders of the first Cybertrucks than we could possibly fulfill for three years after the start of production.”
Reuters noted automakers often ramp up production slowly for a completely new model like the Cybertruck.
The report also noted analysts had also cautioned a weakening global economy would start to affect sales by Tesla, which had, so far, been able to sell every car it made. Musk had said he expected a coming recession would last “probably until spring of ’24.”
Reuters added that IDRA Group, the Italian company making the Giga Press that will be used for die casting parts for the Cybertruck, said in a LinkedIn post last week the 9,000 ton machine for truck part production was packed and ready to be shipped.
The post did not name Tesla which had been using the Giga Press to cut the cost and complexity of production of its Model Y, an innovation other automakers, including Toyota, had studied, Reuters added.