Tesla to start mass-producing Cybertruck at end-2023: sources

TESLA aims to start mass production of its Cybertruck at the end of 2023, two years after the initial target set by the company's chief executive Elon Musk, according to two people with knowledge of the plans. The long-awaited pickup truck was first unveiled in 2019.

Tesla said last month that it was readying its Austin, Texas plant to build the sharp-angled electric truck, with "early production" set to start in mid-2023. "We're in the final lap for Cybertruck," Musk said in a conference call with financial analysts.

A gradual ramp to full output in H2 2023 for the Cybertruck would mean that 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 another year's wait 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 (EV) launches.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

It has not announced final pricing on the Cybertruck, shown the production version of the vehicle, or specified how it will manage the model's battery supply.

In 2019, Tesla projected an initial price of under $40,000. However, prices for new vehicles have shot up since then, and Tesla has raised prices across its lineup.

During the Cybertruck's 2019 reveal, the vehicle's designer cracked the vehicle's supposedly unbreakable "armour glass" windows. The company has pushed back production timing 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 will give Tesla an EV entrant in one of the most profitable segments of the US market, and a competitor to electric pickups from the likes of Ford Motor Company and Rivian Automotive, both of which have launched models in still-limited numbers.

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 that the company had "more orders of the first Cybertrucks than we could possibly fulfill for three years after the start of production".

Automakers often ramp production slowly for all-new models like the Cybertruck.

Analysts have cautioned that a weakening global economy will start to weigh on sales for Tesla, which has so far been able to sell every car it has made. Musk has said he expects a coming recession would last "probably until spring of 2024".

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 that the 9,000-ton machine for truck-part production was packed and ready to be shipped. The post did not name Tesla.

Tesla has been using the Giga Press to cut the cost and complexity of production of its Model Y electric car, an innovation other automakers, including Toyota, have studied. REUTERS

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