In a move that really shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who’s been paying attention, it now appears that production of Tesla’s Cybertruck has been officially delayed until 2022 at the earliest. This seemed pretty clear late last month, but now there’s actual confirmation on Tesla’s website.
It’s also worth noting that the 2022 date mentioned actually comes with a bit of a hedge, as the site says “as production nears in 2022,” which is decidedly not the same thing as saying “starts in 2022.” So, really, it could be 2023 or later that production and deliveries actually get going.
One of the big reasons for the delay seems to be that the Tesla Gigafactory being built in Austin, Texas will be used for Model Y production before any Cybertruck production, which makes sense, as the Model Y is an already-developed, mass-market vehicle that Tesla can sell right away.
Here’s what the company said about that in late July (emphasis mine):
To better focus on these factories, and due to the limited availability of battery cells and global supply chain challenges, we have shifted the launch of the Semi truck program to 2022. We are also making progress on the industrialization of Cybertruck, which is currently planned for Austin production subsequent to Model Y.
Also, it doesn’t appear that Tesla is completely finished engineering the Cybertruck for mass production, as in their recent Q2 earnings call, they said this:
“Cybertruck is at a stage where we finished basic engineering of the architecture; We’re moving into the beta phases later this year.”
I’m not entirely certain what “beta phases” means in the context of preparing a vehicle for mass production, but I do know that it doesn’t mean “all ready to go.”
There are also the issues of the fundamental design and construction of the Cybertruck, which is novel in not just its Nintendo 64 low-polygon looks, but because it’s designed in ways different than most mass-produced vehicles.
The Cybertruck’s unibody uses 3mm/0.12-inch stainless steel panels, which is much thicker than the 20 gauge/0.812mm/0.032-inch thick steel that most modern cars are made from, and this will likely necessitate unique manufacturing solutions.
And while there were suggestions (from Elon Musk himself) that the truck would be re-engineered to be about three percent smaller, Musk later backpedaled that:
...so, I suppose Tesla engineers had to finally decide how big the thing should be, as well. Smaller probably would be a pretty good idea, since it doesn’t appear that the 2019 prototype Cybertruck size would fit in an average garage:
I guess the good news about the delay is that if you are one of the, holy shit, million pre-orders, and you have a garage, you have at least a year to figure out how to make it bigger.