Tesla Cybertruck production will pose “enormous challenges,” warns Elon Musk

Tesla announced today that Cybertruck deliveries will finally begin on November 30 at Giga Texas. The announcement came after the publication of the Q3 2023 shareholder deck, but during the earnings call that followed, CEO Elon Musk tried to ‘temper expectations’ on how quickly production of the Cybertruck will ramp and when you might expect to take delivery of yours.

When Tesla first unveiled the Cybertruck in 2019, it had a radical design that was a major departure from what the average person imagines when thinking of a pickup truck. With that unconventional design, Tesla also intended to manufacture it unlike any other pickup truck, or any vehicle for that matter, with an exoskeleton made from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel.

Based on images of the Cybertruck frame seen at Giga Texas it appears Tesla has abandoned the idea of using an exoskeleton, despite comments to the contrary from CEO Elon Musk during the shareholders meeting earlier this year. Whether it has an exoskeleton or not, production of the Cybertruck will be difficult and could be reminiscent of the “production hell” Tesla went through with the ramp of the Model 3 in 2017 and 2018.

During the earnings call Musk warned that even though the Cybertruck is an “amazing product” and “the best product” they have ever made, production would come with “enormous challenges.”

According to Tesla’s shareholder deck, Giga Texas currently has an installed capacity to build 125,000 Cybertrucks per year. That doesn’t mean that is the volume currently coming off the line, but that if it were running at full capacity, that is what it is capable of producing. When asked during the call how many Cybertrucks he think will be built in 2024, Musk declined to provide an estimate, instead saying they will likely reach 250,000 units per year in 2025.

“I think we’ll end up with a quarter-million Cybertrucks per year. I don’t think we’ll reach that rate next year. I think we’ll probably reach it sometime in 2025,” Musk explained.

Along with a difficult production ramp, Musk also explained that it will take nearly as long for it to become cash flow positive, estimating it will take 12 to 18 months before it is a “significant cash flow positive producer.” But Musk also added that this should be expected with any new vehicle program, and especially one as different as the Cybertruck.

“This is simply normal for when you’ve got a product with a lot of new technology, or any brand new vehicle program, but especially one that is as different and advanced as the Cybertruck, you will have problems proportionate to how many new things you’re trying to solve at scale.”

While the production road ahead looks like it will be difficult, Tesla will have no problem selling every single Cybertruck they make. Musk revealed during the call there are over 1 million reservations, the first time the company has given an update on the number of reservations since 2019.

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