Skip to main content

Elon Musk captured the world’s attention when he unveiled the Tesla Cybertruck prototype in November, 2019. Just as eye-catching as the truck’s futuristic styling was its price tag: $39,900. But things that seem too good to be true usually are. Five years later, with the Cybertruck finally on the brink of production, Tesla quietly killed the entry-level trim of its electric truck and, with it, any chance of getting a 2024 Cybertruck for less than $50k.

How much will the 2024 Tesla Cybertruck cost?

Next year’s 2024 Tesla Cybertruck price will probably begin at $49,900 for the dual-motor version (AWD). The tri-motor versions will probably start at $69,900. If the Model S is any example, the enhanced autopilot will run you another $6,000, and having it prepped for the upcoming fully self-driving mode will cost $12,000. There will be no trim under $40k in 2024.

Tesla Cybertruck aggressively off-roading in the desert, clouds of sand flying off its tires.
2024 Tesla Cybertruck off road | Tesla

While Tesla originally advertised its Cybertruck at $39,900, Elon Musk recently told investors, “A lot has changed. The specs and pricing will be different; I hate to give a little bit of bad news.” (MotorTrend).

He has a point: every other vehicle’s MSRP has come up in the past five years. Cybertruck delays make it obvious it is proving a bit more difficult to put into production than Tesla anticipated.

Musk did not tell investors that the price would definitely go up. But when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published its VIN decoder for the 2024 Cybertruck, it only included specifications for “dual motor — standard” and “triple motor — performance” motor configurations. Missing is the single motor RWD, which was the trim initially advertised at $39,900. Also gone is the “quad motor” version that Musk later teased–an obvious move to compete with tech in the Rivian R1T which debuted a drive unit for each wheel.

What is the cheapest Tesla?

The 2024 Model 3 is starting at around $42,000. With an announced MSRP of $39,900, the rear-wheel drive Cybertruck was on deck to be even cheaper. However the single-motor RWD configuration will not go into production for a 2024 release date. Whenever it does hit showrooms, it will likely be more expensive than the Model 3.

Side view of the 2024 Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup truck parked at the factory.
Tesla Cybertruck pre-production prototype | Nic Coury/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Since joining Tesla, Elon Musk has said he plans to offer more affordable electric vehicles. His original plan was for a roadster priced like a supercar, then a lineup of sedans and crossovers priced like luxury cars, and finally, an affordable entry-level EV–with high-volume production.

Since the Roadster’s 2008 release, Tesla has been slowly working through Musk’s plan. It has yet to reveal its entry-level EV. But it has begun work on a factory near Saltillo, Mexico, where it plans mass production of this global car. It has also reportedly begun to engineer the entry-level FWD chassis that will underpin its next family of EVs.

Note that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he’ll build the Cybertruck on the production lines in Austin, Texas–alongside a future work van on its chassis–not Mexico.

Why is the Tesla Cybertruck getting more expensive?

The very first Cybertrucks might be delivered five years after Tesla unveiled the model. The cost of building a car, especially an EV, has increased. Tesla may also be part of an industry-wide trend of taking advantage of vehicle shortages and long wait times to force buyers into higher trim levels.

Cybertruck electric pickup with a Tesla quad in the bed.
2024 Tesla Cybertruck | Tesla

The global microchip shortage is one reason the cost of building a vehicle has increased. It also created long waitlists at dealerships. To help their falling bottom line, most automakers began to use their limited microchip supply to build larger or more luxurious vehicles.

The logic was that if there’s no entry-level Ford F-150 Lightning “Pro” available, someone will pony up for a Limited. And if there’s no sedan available but you need to get to work, you’ll grudgingly buy an SUV instead. And it worked. CleanTechnica reports that the average new vehicle pollutes more now than it did in 2016–despite more efficient engines. Just because the average vehicle is so much larger and heavier.

Tesla still has a line around the block for its Cybertruck. It knows if it can only build 10,000 in the year, it will make a tidier profit if it fulfills $70k tri-motor pre-orders before $40k RWDs. Will folks who ordered a RWD Cybertruck ever get it? And how much will they have to pay for their “$40k” truck? We’ll just have to wait and find out.

But the ultimate victim of this “upsizing” in the industry may be the EV itself. Electric pickup trucks and full-size SUVs need huge battery packs to offer competitive range (Here’s looking at you, GMC Hummer EV). These packs are not only heavy but also use a lot of lithium. And even though Elon Musk loves to say that lithium is the most abundant resource in the universe, our current ability to mine it is very limited.

The CEO of Mercedes warns that, as a result, EVs will get even more expensive. Worse yet, the CEO of Stellantis warns that there just might not be enough lithium to go around. As EVs get bigger, the chances of ever seeing a $40k Cybertruck get slimmer.

Next, find out why the Cybertruck release won’t be Tesla’s “iPhone moment,” or see potential Cybertruck pricing in the video below: