Tesla Is Refunding Cybertruck Orders: What’s Going On?

Updated 7/22/22

While everyone waits for some word of actual Tesla Cybertruck production, which so far has alluded the EV maker, some are getting their pre-order deposits back. Without interest. Since its reveal in November 2019, there have been many false flags about when production will begin. Granted, with the stainless body panels and diecast inner structures, Tesla has complicated its development. But now, Tesla Australia is refunding orders on the news it won’t be bringing the Cybertruck there.

How many orders are there for the Cybertruck?

A tesla cybertruck seen in California
Tesla Cybertruck | Getty

It is hard to estimate how many of those pre-orders, especially the ones taken almost three years ago, will be turned into sales. But per the last time Tesla gave out figures, over 1.2 million confirmed pre-orders had been received. That comes out to a quarter of a billion dollars interest-free. 

Since then, the hard work began. Originally, deliveries were to have taken place before the end of last year. In January, it abruptly pulled any mention of estimates as to when Cybertruck orders would be filled. Then last month Tesla CEO Elon Musk said it would go on sale sometime in 2023. Does that really mean 2025? At this point, who knows?

Which countries pre-ordered the most Cybertrucks?

A silver Tesla Cybertruck is parked.
The Tesla Cybertruck | Tesla

Part of the reason that Tesla chose to pull the Cybertruck plug Down Under is because of these pre-orders. In 2020, a breakdown of reservations by country. It revealed that U.S. reservations amounted to 76.25 percent. Canada was second with 10.43 percent, and Australia was third with 3.16 percent. So you can see partly how Tesla came to this decision.

Whether pre-orders taken from Europe will be honored is uncertain. And the company says that the refunds won’t be sent automatically. Those who are eligible for a refund must apply for it. But this is mainly due to getting the proper contact information since, you know, it has been almost three years in some cases. 

If even half of those 1.2 million orders were from customers in for the long haul, it is unclear how long it would take to fulfill them. The early stages of production are a time of getting assembly glitches and labor up to speed. So speed is not the first concern during the early production months. 

Can Tesla really fill that many orders?

A gray 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is driving on the road.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning | Ford

Tesla can gauge from other models how long it will take to ramp up production. But it is safe to say that completing 500,000 Cybertrucks could conceivably take four to five years. That means some may not take delivery until around 2030. The reality is many won’t wait, especially after the initial newness has worn off. 

So it makes some sense for Tesla to throttle back some orders to take care of the easier deliveries to fulfill. It is fully aware that Ford and Rivian have already begun production of their EV trucks, with GM and Ram not far behind. So competition is starting to crowd the EV pickup segment. That could also hurt many Cybertruck sales.

Update: A prominent tech site in Australia, TechAU, says that the Cybertruck is not canceled. It alleges that the news of its cancelation is misleading and that anyone anywhere that requests a refund of their deposit will receive it. As the link we originally provided to Tesla’s Australian site shows the Cybertruck still listed, we can only assume that it is still available for pre-order in Australia. We’ll update if anything changes

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