Tesla's futuristic electric pickup "Cybertruck" will be significantly more expensive than originally announced. When the first vehicles were delivered, Tesla announced that the cheapest version of the stainless steel vehicle costs $61,000 (around 56,000 euros). The most expensive version, nicknamed “Cyberbeast,” costs $100,000.
When “Cybertruck” was presented four years ago, production was expected to begin by the end of 2021 and a price range between $40,000 and $70,000. But start-up difficulties delayed production several times. Tesla boss Elon Musk said a few months ago that the company had "dug its own grave" with the model because the unusual vehicle required so many new production processes.
On Thursday, Musk personally handed over several vehicles to their owners during a live stream at the Tesla factory in Austin, Texas. With the Cybertruck, Tesla is entering an extremely lucrative market segment in the USA. Pickups are among the most popular vehicles there. Last year, the Chevrolet Silverado was the best-selling model in the country, previously it was often Ford's F-Series.
Economic concerns and high interest rates
The US car giants now offer their own electric pickups. However, so far they are selling in small numbers. In the last quarter, GM only sold 18 Silverado EV cars - and around 143,500 vehicles of the model with combustion and hybrid drives. In October, Ford sold a good 3,700 fully electric F-150 Lightnings out of around 53,500 pickups in the F model series in total. Tesla's rival Rivian, which only focuses on electric vehicles, has only sold a few of its pickups so far.
The major manufacturers attribute the moderate sales figures not only to initial bottlenecks in production, but also to a currently fundamentally lower interest in the more expensive electric vehicles. Because economic concerns and high interest rates are making car buyers pay more attention to their money.
Tesla wants to build up to 250,000 "Cybertruck" pickups per year - but probably won't reach that mark before 2025, Musk recently said. Only small numbers are currently being produced, while Tesla wants to deliver a total of around 1.8 million vehicles. Investors were not impressed: Tesla shares temporarily fell by around two percent in after-hours trading.
Unusual angular shape
The "Cybertruck" - a large stainless steel triangle - looks completely different than traditional pickup trucks. This was criticized or ridiculed by some car design experts. The unusual angular shape is because the steel alloy developed especially for the “Cybertruck” is so hard that it can only be bent to a limited extent, emphasized Musk. "We have a car here that experts said was impossible, that it would never be built." It is the best vehicle that Tesla has built to date.
Only on the market will it become clear whether American pickup buyers want a vehicle with this unusual shape - or prefer the classic look. Musk advertised that an electric drive was more powerful than combustion engines. A video showed that a "cybertruck" accelerated faster than a new Porsche 911 - while pulling a Porsche behind it on a trailer.
Tesla's design chief Franz von Holzhausen repeated the demonstration of the strength of the "Cybertrucks" windows that went wrong four years ago. On Thursday, a steel ball he threw actually bounced off the target. At that time the windows showed cracks. Tesla also previously demonstrated how the body withstood bullets from a Thompson submachine gun. However, experts then emphasized that the Tommy Guns were designed more than 100 years ago - and the vehicle would be more vulnerable with more modern weapons.