Tesla’s new Cybertruck, starting at $60,990, has arrived

Tesla CEO Elon Musk handed the keys to the nation’s first handful of Cybertruck owners on Thursday during a company event in which he described the steel-clad vehicles as the “most unique thing on the road.”

Musk also said the Cybertruck tows more weight than the strongest pickup truck and outperforms sports cars. The special steel used for the vehicle’s exterior doesn’t corrode and the windows on the Cybertruck are bullet-proof, he noted.

“If you have an argument with another car, you will win,” Musk said.

The Cybertruck arrives as automakers like Ford, General Motors and Toyota are trying to drive down the price of their electric vehicles to appeal to a wider audience. To further entice car shoppers, automakers are expanding the number of EV charging stations across the U.S. 

How much will the Cybertruck cost?

The Cybertruck starts at $60,990 for the rear-wheel drive model, which won’t be available until 2025. The all-wheel drive version — sporting 600 horsepower and offering a 340-mile range from one full battery charge — will go for $79,990. The vehicle’s highest-end model is priced at $99,990 and will offer 845 horsepower and 320-mile range from one full charge.

“Launching Cybertruck is important for the broader Tesla growth story over the coming years and also will prove to the doubters that Musk can successfully expand the Tesla halo effect as more consumers head down the [electric vehicle] path over the coming years,” Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, said in a report.

The popularity of EVs has exploded in recent years as more automakers offer a wider variety of models and price points. The federal government is also offering tax credits for Americans who purchase certain EVs. Americans are on track to buy 1 million EVs this year for the first time in the vehicle segment’s history, according to Cox Automotive.  

FILE PHOTO: Tesla store shows new Cybertruck in California
Tesla’s new Cybertruck is shown on display at a Tesla store in San Diego, California, U.S., November 20, 2023.

Mike Blake/Reuters

What makes the Cybertruck different?

Until now, Tesla has made a name for itself by selling sleek sedans, including the Model S and the Model X. The Cybertruck is Tesla’s first pickup truck. In terms of power, the Cybertruck can tow more than 11,000 pounds, Musk said Thursday. The interior seats six passengers and has a 17-inch touchscreen navigation for the driver. 

Yet while the Cybertruck’s capabilities are impressive, “but the one-size-fits-all is not likely to sway dedicated full-size pickup buyers to jump to Tesla,” said Brian Moody, executive editor of Cox Automotive’s Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla store shows new Cybertruck in California
Tesla’s new Cybertruck is shown on display at a Tesla store in San Diego, California, U.S., November 20, 2023.

Mike Blake/Reuters

Where can I buy a Cybertruck?

At least for now, the Cybertruck will only be available online through pre-order. But even through pre-order, it may be tough to get your hands on one in the immediate future. Musk said last month that it will take time to bring the Cybertruck to full-scale production because it’s “one of those special products that comes along only once in a long while.” 

“And special products that come along once in a long while are just incredibly difficult to bring to market to reach volume, to be prosperous,” Musk said during a Q3 earnings call in October.

Tesla will likely produce only between 2,000 and 3,000 Cybertrucks in Q4 of 2023, Wedbush said. Production will probably reach 10,000 units in the first half of 2024.

Why is the Cybertruck critical to Tesla?

The Cybertruck marks Tesla’s entry into a lucrative segment within the electric vehicle market: full-sized pickup trucks. 

Sales and demand for EV pickups has been on the rise since late 2020, according to Cox data. This year, the Ram 1500 Rev is garnering the most attention, followed by Ford’s F-150 Lightning, the Chevrolet Silverado EV, then GMC’s Hummer EV and Rivian’s R1T, according to Cox.

Tesla’s long-term growth depends on the company being able to offer different types of vehicles “as more consumers head down the EV path over the coming years,” Wedbush analysts said.

“While Cybertruck does not significantly move the financial needle for Tesla in fiscal year 2024, it further shows the innovation and mind share lead that Tesla has built with many original equipment manufacturer competitors around the world still on the treadmill stuck in neutral,” Wedbush said in a note to investors.

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