Hybrids & Electrics

The Cheapest Tesla Cybertruck is Getting Delayed

The Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup isn’t out yet, but it’s already generated a lot of media coverage and excitement. Mostly centered around its design, which, despite the windows and stainless steel shock factors, has had some careful engineering put into it. But arguably the most important info is the Cybertruck’s release date. Initially, all three versions of the Tesla pickup were set to debut in late 2021. However, some of the alleged 200,000 people who reserved a Cybertruck may have to wait a bit longer. The cheapest, single-motor Tesla Cybertruck is being delayed.

How long is the cheapest, single-motor Tesla Cybertruck being delayed?

Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck | Tesla

The news comes courtesy of The Drive, as well as members of the Tesla Cybertruck Owners Club forum. The forum administrator posted that the Cybertruck’s pre-order website had been updated with new information. Where the site describes the $100 deposit, the single-motor RWD model had a different production date than the dual- or tri-motor AWD ones.

Tesla Cybertruck pre-order screen
Tesla Cybertruck pre-order screen | Tesla

Before, the single-motor shared the “late 2021” production date as the other two. Now, the production date is “late 2022.” A whole year of delay. Prices, however, have not changed. The single-motor RWD Cybertruck is still listed at $39,900. The dual- and tri-motor AWD models’ pricing, $49,900 and $69,900 respectively, has also not changed.

Is this kind of delay unusual?

Bollinger B2
Bollinger B2 | Bollinger

Production delays are not new to the automotive world. Supplier issues, problems with assembly-line machinery, design hiccups—these and more problems add time. It’s also worth noting that this doesn’t delay the Tesla Cybertruck as a whole compared to its rivals. Bollinger won’t begin B2 deliveries until 2021, anyway. However, it does put Tesla at a considerable disadvantage with the Rivian R1T.

2019 Rivian Seattle Event-Rivian
2019 Rivian Seattle Event | Rivian

Rivian, it’s important to note, is doing something similar to Tesla. The R1T will launch in 2020 with two battery packs, but the cheapest version won’t come until late 2021. So, Tesla’s move isn’t unusual even in the electric pickup truck world. But that does mean the cheapest R1T will launch a full year before Tesla’s cheapest Cybertruck. And even the 105-kWh R1T will have 4 motors and AWD.

But that still leaves several people with single-motor deposits with a delayed product. Why?

Reasons why the cheapest Tesla Cybertruck may be getting delayed: finances and regulations

Apple iPhone 5c
Apple iPhone 5c | Apple

From a financial standpoint, one of Elon Musk’s latest tweets may provide an explanation. Musk claims only 17% of deposits were for single-motor RWD Cybertrucks. And, purely from a monetary position, delaying the cheapest, least-profitable, mildly de-contented version of the product is a sound business practice. Remember the iPhone 5c? Same basic innards as the 5s, just a cheaper case, and some cheaper components. Several Cybertruck Owners Club forum members brought up similar points and explanations.

It’s also possible Tesla requires more time to finalize the road-legal version of the Cybertruck. Currently, the truck has no side or rear-view mirrors. Perhaps that’s why Musk smacked into that sign leaving the Nobu parking lot recently. Cybertrucks have also been spotted on California roads, likely performing on-road testing.

However, if road legality were that big of an issue, why is only the cheapest Tesla Cybertruck being delayed? Matt Farah, talking with Joe Rogan on Rogan’s podcast, may have an answer to that. Warning: it does involve some swearing.

Essentially, Farah makes the point that Musk and Tesla want to raise capital using the $100 deposits. However, this isn’t purely to build and secure Cybertrucks, but to serve as proof to other lenders that Tesla is financially-viable. Much like people who have pre-ordered a Roadster 2.0—which, as both Farah and InsideEVs point out, has had a worrying lack of updates—the deposits serve as a zero-interest loan for Tesla.

It’s entirely possible, as Farah says, that the Cybertruck may be further away from production than anyone outside of Tesla realizes. Or that what we see today is just a concept, not an actual production prototype.

What should I do if I’ve reserved the single-motor Cybertruck?

Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla Cybertruck | Tesla

If you still want a single-motor RWD Cybertruck, as many Owners Club forum members clearly do, there are two options. The first is, naturally, wait a year longer. This may inconvenience some, who have been banking on that new truck, but it’s the simplest and cheapest way. The other option is to cancel your single-motor deposit and put it towards a dual- or tri-motor Cybertruck, instead.

Tesla Cybertruck rear
Tesla Cybertruck rear | Tesla

Which, come to think of it, may also be a part of Tesla’s plan. People clearly want the truck, so delay the cheapest version and bank on people wanting it enough to up-charge towards a more expensive version. It costs Tesla nothing, doesn’t delay the truck overall, and means Tesla will generate more profit down the line. It’s not terribly dissimilar from what happened with the Model 3.

2019 SEMA Chevy E-10 Concept 1962 Chevy Pickup
2019 SEMA Chevy E-10 Concept 1962 Chevy Pickup | GM

If any of the points just discussed worry you, as a consumer you are always free to cancel your deposit. While it is true that the Cybertruck may end up being one of the cheaper electric pickups on the market, there are other non-electric pickups on the market. Or, if you still want a stylish electric truck that doesn’t dent, consider a classic pickup electric conversion.