Production of the Tesla Cybertruck has been pushed back until at least 2023 even as competition in the half-ton electric pickup truck segment heats up. According to sources close to the matter, Tesla will be making changes to the features and functions of the truck in response to products from Ford and General Motors. Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned on Twitter over the past couple of months what those updates may look like, as well, with more disclosure coming during the company’s Q4 2021 earnings call on January 26.
This is the third time that the Tesla Cybertruck has been officially delayed, with its original launch planned to be last year. It has several hundred thousand pre-orders.
According to Reuters, production was scheduled to begin later this year, instead, initial production won’t spool up until the end of the first quarter in 2023. The report indicates Tesla will produce the Cybertruck in limited quantities initially before ramping up later in the year. Tesla hasn’t confirmed the report, nor has the all-electric automaker denied it.
While Tesla has managed to capture early EV adopters with the midsize Model S and compact Model 3 in the sedan segments, the Model X and Model Y have carried the torch in the SUV space. The company also has plans for a low-volume follow-up to its initial product, the Tesla Roadster. But that vehicle has been shuffled to the bottom of the deck.
The angular Tesla Cybertruck, which is really more of an SUV than an out-and-out pickup truck, first broke light in 2019, long before the Ford F-150 Lightning or Chevrolet Silverado EV had been announced. Before this latest delay production of Cybertruck Job 1 was previously pushed back from late 2021, to late 2022.
Following the standout debuts of Detroit’s first electric trucks that saw demand far outstrip supply, Tesla now finds itself in a scenario where it must follow the lead of legacy automakers. The large scale production capacity of both Ford and GM will prove problematic for Tesla when it comes to competing in America’s most lucrative vehicle segment.
Ford has already announced plans to double the annual production capacity of the F-150 Lightning to 150,000 units ahead of its arrival in dealers this spring. GM hasn’t announced production figures for the recently unveiled Silverado EV, but the company’s new Factory Zero is expected to produce upwards of 250,000 trucks split between several Ultium-based products like the GMC Hummer EV, GMC Sierra EV, and Silverado EV.
Tesla plans to produce the Cybertruck at its newest factory in Texas, which should start producing Model Y SUVs in the first half of 2022. Cumulatively, Tesla produced 930,422 vehicles in 2021. For some perspective, GM’s combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra totaled 768,689.