Tesla announces first Cybertruck build ahead of Q2 earnings

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Tesla over the weekend said its first much anticipated Cybertruck came off the electric vehicle maker's production line in Texas. The debut of the long-delayed, futuristic-looking pickup truck comes in the lead up to Tesla's second-quarter 2023 earnings call.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk first introduced the Cybertruck in 2019, but vehicle production has repeatedly been delayed. The truck was initially scheduled for production and delivery in 2021, but Tesla has pushed back the timing since then, citing shortages in sourcing components.

In July 2022, Musk set a new production schedule for summer 2023. During Tesla's first-quarter 2023 earnings call, the executive also promised to host a delivery event for the Cybertruck toward the end of Q3.

Musk said at Tesla's 2023 annual shareholder's meeting in May that the automaker could deliver between 250,000 to 500,000 units per year once production begins. Mass production is scheduled for the end of this year.

Analysts will be on the lookout Wednesday during the automaker's Q2 earnings call for firmer details on production, delivery and specs.

While Tesla has attributed Cybertruck delays to standard supply chain issues, leaked documents have revealed other fundamental flaws in the vehicle's basic design and engineering. In January 2022, a whistleblower leaked 100GB of files to German outlet Handelsblatt that showed preproduction prototypes had serious braking, powertrain, suspension, sealing and structural issues. The report, which detailed unfulfilled promises from Tesla, reminded many of the first Cybertruck reveal event, when the vehicle's designer cracked the supposedly unbreakable armor glass windows.

As of November 2022, the Cybertruck had more than 1.5 million reservations, according to a report from Electrek. Tesla customers have been able to put down a $100 refundable deposit to preorder since 2019.

Tesla originally estimated the truck would start at $39,900 for the single-motor and rear-wheel drive model, which would have a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds and more than 250 miles of range. That model is now expected to start at about $50,000, according to Kelley Blue Book. The dual-motor, all-wheel drive version could start at around $60,000, and it should have a towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds and over 300 miles of range. The priciest version, starting at around $70,000, will have three electric motors and all-wheel drive, a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds and battery range of over 500 miles.

Tesla usually changes prices in the middle of a model year, so these prices may shift again before the end of 2023. Cybertruck buyers may be eligible for the U.S.'s $7,500 federal EV tax incentives.

Tesla's pickup truck launch will bring the automaker into another profitable EV segment in the U.S. The Cybertruck will have to compete with electric pickups like Ford's F-150 Lightning, which is available now with a starting price of around $60,000. Other upcoming pickups include the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the Rivian R1T. The Silverado EV Work Truck starts at $77,905 and can go 450 miles on a charge. Delivery is expected in the fall of 2023. The Rivian starts at $74,000, with deliveries for certain trims starting this summer.