The wait for the hotly-anticipated Cybertruck is nearly over.
There’s been years of teasers – and delays – but in just a few days’ time, customers will start taking delivery of the shiny new EV pickup.
All’s well that ends well, right?
Maybe not, as it’s still unclear how much the Cybertruck will cost at launch – and everything points to it not being cheap.
Back when the Cybertruck was announced in 2019, it was advertised with a reasonable starting price of $39,900.
Then there would be two higher-performance models costing $49,900 and $59,900.
But in 2021, that information vanished from Tesla’s website, leaving future customers in the dark about their dream truck’s eventual price.
On Tesla’s earnings call on Wednesday, Elon Musk effectively dispelled any expectations of an accessible Cybertruck – at least initially.
“It is going to require immense work to reach volume production, and be cashflow positive, at a price that people can afford,” Musk said.
It’s pretty simple really – affordability in manufacturing is all about scale, so the more trucks Tesla can churn out, the cheaper it can sell them for.
But according to the Tesla CEO, scaling production of a vehicle like the Cybertruck is hard.
Musk foresees “enormous challenges” in ramping up Cybertruck production, mainly because the pickup requires new manufacturing processes.
“If you want to do something radical and innovative and something really special like the Cybertruck, it is extremely difficult because there’s nothing to copy,” Musk said.
“You have to invent not just the car but the way to make the car.”
Musk estimates that it’ll take around 18 months until the Cybertruck is cashflow positive.
It won’t be until some point in 2025 – once Tesla has navigated these production challenges – when the company will be producing “roughly” 250,000 units a year, Musk predicts.
Even then, the Cybertruck is likely to come with a “fairly premium” price tag, given that it will be made from pricey stainless steel that will necessitate more expensive stamping equipment.
Then there’s battery prices, which haven’t dropped as much as people expected four years ago.
And of course, the Cybertruck won’t benefit from the economies of scale of more mainstream models like the Tesla Model 3.
Unlike four years ago, there are now a few electric pickup trucks on the market, and none of the Cybertruck’s competitors are particularly affordable.
For example, the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning starts at around $50,000 – and that’s for a bare-bones work truck with a mediocre 386 km (240 miles) of range.
If you’re wanting more cerature comforts and the optional 515-kilometer (320-mile) battery pack, prepare to shell out around $70,000.
It’s tough to imagine the top-tier Cybertruck costing much less than $100,000, given what else is out there.