If recent reports are accurate, the Tesla Cybertruck is eyeing another delay – one that wouldn’t see it hit the streets until early 2023. Originally slated to start arriving in late 2021, Tesla delayed the Cybertruck by a year in last August.
Obviously, supply chain issues, among other things, meant it was impossible to reach the original release window. Unfortunately, this is a situation people will experience if they’ve been following Tesla long enough. And it’s a problem Tesla will have to get to grips with as the rest of the auto industry takes electrification seriously.
Tesla has a long history of delays
Delays are common right now, and not just in the automotive industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on supply chains and played a key role in issues with the production and transportation of chips and other key components.
Tesla isn’t the only automaker to delay a vehicle due to the ongoing mess with chip and component supplies. Nissan is a prime example of this, having delayed the launch of its new flagship Ariya by months due to ongoing chip shortages. The car was due to arrive in Japan in mid-2021, then delayed to “this winter”.
However, Tesla is no stranger to delays and has a long history of missing deadlines. Initial production of the Model 3 was plagued with delays and production issues, while models like the Tesla Semi and second-generation roadster are still awaiting an official launch.
The Model X was delayed for over a year, with the automaker promising that deliveries would begin in early 2014, only to delay the SUV’s delivery window until September 2015.
Now, history seems to be repeating itself with the Cybertruck, and that’s a problem for Tesla.
In years past, it didn’t matter whether Tesla delayed its cars or not. Very few automakers were interested in mass electrification, and those that did rarely had much variety in their portfolios. This allowed Tesla to dominate the electric vehicle market, which it arguably still does.
According to Car and driver, by the end of October, the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 had sold more than 300,000 units in the United States. Meanwhile, the next best-selling electric car, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, had only sold 27,140 cars.
But so far, Tesla only sells two types of cars. Two sedans/hatchbacks: the Model S and Model 3, the Model X SUV, and the Model Y crossover SUV. The Cybertruck opened up a whole new avenue for Tesla, and had it stuck to its original launch date, it would have been the first large-scale electric truck to hit the market.
Electric trucks are already here, but where is the Cybertruck?
Being first would have been a huge advantage for Tesla. Not only would it offer an electric option to even the most loyal truck owners, but it would also beat the competition right off the bat.
Considering the number of electric trucks being announced, it looks like this is going to be the next big rush in the automotive industry – or at least in the United States, the biggest market for pickup trucks.
Instead, however, Rivian beat Tesla to the launch, delivering the first R1T trucks last fall and notifying customers of their delivery windows. Likewise, Hummer began delivering the first GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 in late December 2021. And Ford is still (as far as we know) on schedule to begin delivering F-150 Lightnings in the first half of this year.
Meanwhile, Tesla quietly deleted the 2022 launch estimate from Cybertruck’s order page and offered no explanation for it. That’s when rumors started swirling that a delay was in the works, followed by a report from Reuters that we had to wait at least a year for the first Cybertrucks to roll off the production line.
Apparently the delay stems from Tesla making sweeping changes to the Cybertruck’s feature set – in an effort to make it more competitive in the face of growing competition.
It’s noble, even if it risks bringing the Tesla Cybertruck to market a little too late. The truck already has an uphill battle to take seriously, given its truly bonkers design, which Elon Musk has already talked about. However, the Cybertruck had a number of factors in its favor.
Tesla has the advantage, but he’s wasting it
The Cybertruck’s most obvious advantage is brand recognition, since Tesla has built a reputation for offering EVs that don’t suck. The Cybertruck also has all the usual Tesla bells and whistles like autopilot, supercharger access, long range, and more.
But the longer Tesla waits, the more time it gives the competition to come up with their own comparable features.
Although a Rivian R1T can’t (yet) plug into a Tesla Supercharger, the automaker has already started developing its own network of EV chargers. Chargers that offer speeds of 300 kW compared to Tesla’s 250 kW.
Ford is doing something similar, and all non-Tesla cars will be able to take advantage of the growing number of third-party EV charging stations on Tesla’s proprietary charging port in the United States, and the fact that it does not sell a Tesla-to-CCS adapter to United States, means Tesla owners can’t do this and puts them at a disadvantage.
The Supercharger network may have a digital advantage right now, but it’s only a matter of time before other EV manufacturers and charging providers start to catch up. All the more reason to put the Cybertruck on the streets ASAP.
There’s no better publicity than talking to an enthusiastic owner or seeing a vehicle on the road. And the Cybertruck’s design means you can’t miss it, even if you try.
It’s not just about the Cybertruck. Other incoming Tesla cars will suffer if the automaker continues to delay their rollout. After all, why wait for a Tesla Roadster, when you could buy a high-performance, long-range Lucid Air for a lot less money?
The last thing anyone wants is a car that rushes to market and doesn’t perform as expected. Even less Tesla and its shareholders. Still, the fact is, we’re past the days when Tesla could afford to sit back and let the delays fade away.
In the past, EV enthusiasts had to sit around and wait for Tesla to figure it out because the EV market was so small. What were people going to do, cancel their Model S pre-order and buy a Nissan Leaf? Not likely.
But this is no longer the case. The internal combustion engine has an expiration date, and automakers have realized that electric cars are the obvious successor. Not only are there more cars on the way, automakers are creating a wide variety of electric options for people who don’t necessarily want to choose between a hatchback and a sedan without the middleman. That’s why there are so many electric SUVs and trucks on the way.
Tesla enjoys extraordinary brand recognition, customer loyalty and a reputation built on hype. But the longer it fails to adapt to the changing electric car market, the less likely these things will be enough.
- Rivian R1T vs Tesla Cybertruck : quel camion électrique est fait pour vous ?
- Rivian R1S: Everything we know so far
- Rivian R1T unlocking window, price, interior, range, towing capacity and more
- Nissan Ariya release date, price, range, interior and more
- Mini Electric vs Nissan Leaf : quel VE économique est fait pour vous ?