Tesla’s Cybertruck Is Long on Hype and Short on Specifications

Elon Musk hoped to start handing over pickups around the end of this quarter. He’s not yet ready to offer dates, pricing or other key details.

(Bloomberg) — Between promoting plans to fight Mark Zuckerberg and his in-office workout regimen for the bout that may not actually happen, Elon Musk has been hyping Cybertruck, Tesla Inc.’s Blade Runner-inspired pickup.

Early last month, Musk posted on X that he’d just driven a prototype around Austin, where Tesla will assemble the truck. A week later, the company announced the first one had been built, only to clarify days later that it was making “release candidates” that weren’t yet ready for sale.

So when Musk posted a week ago about another drive in another prototype, one prominent fan seemed to have had it. “Enough with the hype,” wrote James Locke, a Tesla owner who’s tangled with the chief executive officer before. “Please announce the specs, pricing and new estimated delivery event date.”

Musk offered little to pacify Tesla enthusiasts who’ve eagerly anticipated this product since its viral unveiling in late 2019. He wrote that the company wasn’t yet ready to release that information and reiterated that the steel-bodied Cybertruck will be extremely difficult to build.

The impatience setting in among some Tesla devotees is understandable, considering the company has gone backwards in letting would-be customers know what to expect. When Musk first showed the Cybertruck almost four years ago, he said it would come in three configurations and start at $39,900. In October 2021, Tesla removed pricing and specs from its website.

Anyone putting down a fully refundable $100 deposit now does so without knowing whether Tesla still expects to hit the price points, battery range or towing capacity promised years ago. The company merely says on its website that depositors will be able to complete their configuration “as production nears.”

When an investor asked in April for updated specs and pricing, Musk demurred, saying he’d save those details for a Cybertruck handover event he hoped to stage around the end of the third quarter. While the company has yet to set a date for that event, it’s told owners they could get an invite through a recently revived referral program.

Tesla did offer a couple kernels of information in its latest earnings release, saying Cybertruck will be less than 19 feet (5.8 meters) long with a more than 6-foot bed. But the quarterly update also contained a nugget that should give pause to those foreseeing a smooth launch. The Semi truck — Tesla’s newest product, first delivered to PepsiCo Inc. late last year — was still only in pilot production at the end of June.

If that didn’t do enough to temper expectations as to just how quickly Tesla will ramp up output of Cybertruck, an email Musk sent out company-wide last week went a step further. In the memo obtained by CNBC, the CEO sounded unhappy about the level of precision with which components were being built.

“Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb,” Musk wrote. He said all parts, both internal and from suppliers, needed to be designed and built to sub-10 microns accuracy — less than the diameter of human hair.

The email is classic Musk, a self-described nano-manager. It also suggests an unlikelihood that volume production is just around the corner.

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