Tesla has never been fantastic at meeting deadlines, so it’s not too surprising that the company’s ambitious electric pickup — the Cybertruck — is running a little late. Recently, reference to a 2022 production schedule was scrubbed from its website, and Reuters is now reporting that production of the vehicle won’t begin until the first quarter of 2023.
The Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019, with Tesla promising that the vehicle would be rolling off production lines in late 2021. Then, in August that year, full production was delayed to some time in 2022. Now, that deadline seems to have been waived, too.
Changes to the Cybertruck order page were first spotted by Edmunds. The site originally told buyers: “You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in 2022.” Now it says: “You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears,” with archives showing that reference to the year was removed at the end of December 20201.
According to Reuters, citing a “person familiar with the matter,” the delay is a result of “changing features and functions” that Tesla is introducing to make the vehicle more attractive in a growing market for electric pickups.
Ford recently committed to doubling production of its F-150 Lightning, which it says will start shipping in the first half of 2022; buzzy newcomer Rivian finally started shipping its first R1Ts to customers; while brands like Hummer and Chevy have their own electric trucks scheduled for late 2022 and late 2023 releases respectively.
the chip shortage, pandemic, and design challenges could all have contributed to delays
Other factors that might have contributed to the delay include external challenges, like the ongoing pandemic and global chip shortage (which has affected all automakers), as well as Cybertruck-specific problems. The vehicle’s angular look is controversial, attracting awe and scorn in equal measure, but it certainly comes with unique design challenges, like the problem of creating a huge windshield wiper to cover the mammoth front window.
Ramping up production on the Cybertruck might also be a relatively low priority for Tesla considering its other vehicles have had fantastic years. The Model 3 became the first EV to top monthly sales charts in Europe, for example, while the company delivered close to 1 million cars in 2021 — an impressive 87 percent increase on shipments in 2020.
Tesla’s Cybertruck can afford to delay a little, but the company risks losing potential customers as it does. We should know more about the vehicle’s future soon, though. Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised to share an official “product roadmap update” for the Cybertruck on the next Tesla earnings call. That’s scheduled for January 26th. Not long to wait.
Update January 14th, 3:18AM ET: Updated with Reuters report of a delay to Q1 2023.