Since Tesla first unveiled the Cybertruck back in 2019, there have been thousands upon thousands of pre-orders placed to be delivered in 2021. However, it now appears that this date is going to be pushed back by at least a year. With so much money on the line, you would think Tesla would get the truck into the hands of consumers earlier. However, it is not that simple.
Delays are plaguing the Cybertruck because of the unique manufacturing methods that are required to produce it. Since it is unlike any vehicle ever made, the factory itself literally has to be built from the ground up. That is taking longer than Tesla ever could have anticipated.
If you are looking for the Cybertruck that you reserved years ago to arrive in your garage any time soon, you may well be disappointed. However, anything this new and innovative is likely going to be well worth the wait. Continue reading to discover why the truck has been so delayed and what this means for you.
How Long Has it Been?
Tesla first unveiled the prototype for its upcoming Cybertruck. That was done at one of the most highly anticipated press conferences that the company has ever held. While not everything went as planned during the unveiling, it was still a milestone in the history of the company. The Cybertruck has since captivated the hearts and minds of millions around the world.
At the time of its unveiling, Tesla announced that the Cybertruck would enter its production phase in 2021. This would be accomplished by two separate factories that would actually be dedicated to building the truck. As of right now, those factories are not completed. That means that the truck is not really anywhere close to being produced.
What Does This Mean?
The bottom line is that the Cybertruck cannot be produced with a factory. The parts on the truck are unique. This means that machinery equipment that is currently available cannot be retrofitted to build the components that are incorporated into the design of the Cybertruck. The process of creating the machinery from scratch has taken longer than anticipated.
Since the factories are not ready, Tesla has had to disappoint many consumers by announcing a delay in the production of the Cybertruck. It is now anticipated that the truck will officially enter the marketplace in 2022. However, even this date depends on many variables, most of which are outside of Tesla’s control.
Where Does the Cybertruck Stand Today?
The public needs to be reminded that the Cybertruck they saw in 2019 was only a prototype. It was not even road-tested at that point. Since that point, Tesla has encountered several design flaws that had to be fixed. Some of the delays result from those needed modifications because the factory could not be built until the design of the Cybertruck was solidified.
Just recently, Elon Musk made the statement that they have now fixed all of the design issues with the Cybertruck. This means that Tesla has a working model that they can now bring to production. Finally, the focus can be on getting the equipment that they need to ensure that the Cybertruck can be massed produced.
In order to get that truck produced, Tesla has to create bigger machines on the whole than they have needed for any of their previous vehicle models to date. This is also the first truck that Tesla has produced, so that is something that must be taken into consideration as well. Just to cast the rear body, for example, requires an 8,000-ton casting press.
It Has an Exoskeleton Chassis
One of the many reasons behind the production delay is that the Cybertruck will be the first mass produced vehicle ever to have an exoskeleton chassis along with a body made almost entirely of stainless steel. This is requiring two new production plants to be built in Germany and Texas. Both of these require a new manufacturing process, and both are still under construction.
Building the exoskeleton itself requires a shift in approach. It is something that has never been created before. While the Cybertruck design might be complete, getting the actual equipment in place to make the vehicle has proven to be a bigger challenge than Tesla must have initially anticipated. Until these items get sorted, the production date will continue to be pushed back.
Just About Everything is the First of its Kind
If you are looking for more reasons behind the Cybertruck delays, it can be summarized as everything being the first of its kind. This is literally a vehicle that the world has never seen before. That includes everything from its design right down to its dimensions. A perfect example of this is the bed of the Cybertruck.
Tesla is not actually referring to this part as a bed. Instead, it is a cargo bay. It has a unique design that is not seen on other trucks. Whereas the design of most truck beds in production today are the same, differing only in terms of size, the Cybertruck’s version is much more complex.
To produce the cargo bay has required that Tesla develop its own Giga Press that will be the largest ever before manufactured in the entire world. When ready, it will produce an incredible 8,000 tons of force. This is what will give the Cybertruck its unique cargo bay and open up the exterior to include an astounding 100 cubic feet of storage.
No More Rounded Corners
Many people around the world have already likened the Cybertruck to something that you would see in a science fiction movie. It is often difficult to envision it actually being driven on city and country roads. However, that is exactly what the intent is. Part of this sentiment comes from the fact that the truck looks unlike anything ever produced before.
This can be reflected by the fact that there are no more rounded corners. In exchange, the entire exterior of the Cybertruck is designed with sharp edges in mind. Different angles must be taken into account as well. This means that the traditional equipment used to make certain body parts are not applicable for the Cybertruck.
While all of this might look easy to replicate in mock drawings and via the prototype, producing a vehicle of this type on a massive scale is not that easy. Getting the angles right requires a certain human element that is going to add to the production time. Add to that the reality that the equipment necessary to make this design a reality has not even been built yet and delays are inevitable.
The Design Has Changed
Another reason behind the delay is the fact that the Cybertruck has undergone quite a few design changes since its prototype was first introduced to the world in 2019. We actually do not know how much the design has changed, but we have been given some clues by Tesla over the past few years.
These changes mean that production is further delayed as the equipment required to make those particular components is newly retrofitted. Here are three areas of design that have perhaps undergone the most significant change:
- Reduction in size – If you look at the original prototype of the Cybertruck, you will notice a massive vehicle that looks way too big. In fact, the concern was that it would not even fit in the average garage. Tesla has taken these concerns to heart by reducing the size of that original prototype by roughly three percent. That requires a different approach in production as well.
- Leveling of the Centerline – Many felt that the design of the original prototype was a bit too space age for the average consumer. It was too high to be comfortable. To accommodate this, a design change has been implemented that effectively makes the centerline of the Cybertruck more level. It also gives it a more aesthetic look.
- Bringing the windows down to a more manageable height – Because the original Cybertruck sat so high, the windows were not level with the average passenger. This would make it uncomfortable from many perspectives. That has since changed as the windows have been noticeably lowered.
Since Tesla has never actually produced the Cybertruck, these are all areas that must be taken into consideration before the vehicle goes into mass production. If no changes were made from the original prototype in 2019, perhaps the 2021 production schedule could have been met. We now know that this was far from the case.
What Makes the Cybertruck Unique?
As if what has been mentioned to this point is not enough, other factors have to be taken into consideration before the Cybertruck enters mass production. Until Tesla finalizes its design, the factory cannot possibly be prepared to create the components necessary for the truck. This has evidently just recently taken place.
Here are six main design areas that have now been resolved to the point that the factories in Texas and Germany can begin to get ready to produce the Cybertruck.
- Height of the Cybertruck – After much back and forth, it now appears that the Cybertruck to entire production will be 75 inches high.
- Width of the Cybertruck – This is another change from the prototype, but the width of the Cybertruck now appears to be set at 80 inches.
- Length of the Cybertruck – As discussed, the length of the Cybertruck has changed several times, but now appears to be set at a bit under 232 inches.
- Cybertruck Approach Angle – This is extremely important in terms of retrofitting the factory. The approach angle for the Cybertruck is 35 degrees, which is rather unique when it comes to passenger trucks.
- Cybertruck Departure Angle – The latest design has the departure angle for the Cybertruck set at 28 degrees.
- Cybertruck Ground Clearance – This is extremely important as well. The ground clearance has come down somewhat since the prototype but is still at a most respectable 16 inches.
Again, these design areas had to be solidified before the Cybertruck could ever hope to enter into mass production. Once the truck starts to be produced, future models should be much easier to produce as long as the design does not significantly change.
Even the Battery Requires a Different Approach
Tesla is no stranger to producing electric vehicles, as that is the only type of ground based transportation that they make. However, this is the first all-electric that Tesla is going to enter into mass production. As such, many of the panels and design features already present on their cars and SUVs simply do not apply.
One area that has to be taken into consideration is the battery. This one component alone costs several thousand dollars to make and requires a different approach than other Tesla vehicles. The battery for the Cybertruck will be based on a tabless design that has 4680 unique cells built into it. This battery is also made from nickel cathode and anode.
As if that were not enough, the design of the Cybertruck allows for a structural battery pack. This is, you guessed it, unique to any other vehicle currently in production. Tesla needs time to get the batteries developed and ready to enter into a mass manufacturing mode.
The Cybertruck’s Three Motor Design
You already know that the Cybertruck has no engine. This alone creates design challenges. There is little under the hood to worry about, so Tesla had to get creative with the dash and the front of the cab’s interior. These will have to be taken into account as the truck is made.
Beyond that, the Cybertruck is designed to work with one, two, or three motors. Each version creates unique challenges during the manufacturing process. To begin with, the one motor Cybertruck will be rear-drive only. The two and three motor models will turn into an all wheel drive Cybertruck. Each version requires a slightly different approach during production.
For its part, Tesla actually envisioned a Cybertruck that did not have many different trim levels like its competitors do. This is designed to cut down on production time because the two factories that they are building should be able to produce whatever version of the Cybertruck is being sold easily.
We do not know how much retrofitting is necessary to go from the one to three motor Cybertruck, but the assumption is that this will not require much change. As soon as Tesla has the factories online, they should be able to ramp up production and start filling some of the many thousands of Cybertruck reservations that have already been made.
The Front and Rear Panels
Another area of interest when it comes to the Cybertruck is the front and rear panels. If you look at the prototype, you will quickly notice the absence of traditional headlamps. These have been replaced with an LED lighting strip that runs the length of both the front and the rear of the truck. Naturally, nobody has ever seen this before.
As soon as Tesla unveiled the design feature, many questioned whether the design would pass industry standards and nationwide driving regulations. We do not know the outcome of that argument, but we have no indication that this design feature has been altered. That being the case, we can assume that production has been delayed as Tesla grapples with that issue and prepares to install yet another new component on the Cybertruck.
Elon Musk Confirms the Delays
Elon Musk himself has been a bit quiet about the perceived production delays. Initially, deliveries were expected to start being made in 2021. While we cannot say for certain that this is not going to happen, Musk has tweeted that there will be limited production this year. However, he has pledged that the company will produce high volumes of the Cybertruck next year.
As Tesla tries to create an all-electric futuristic looking truck that will be the envy of the world, it also has to grapple with European and North American regulations. Unfortunately, these do not always intersect. That is perhaps why they are building one factory in Germany and one in America. Since the original design seems to have a few components that will not pass regulations, we can also assume that this has party attributed to the delay.
The Pandemic Has Not Helped
Let us not forget that there was not a global pandemic taking place when Tesla first unveiled the Cybertruck in 2019 and pledge a mid-2021 production schedule. As soon as the calendar year switched over to 2020, it became apparent that many schedules would have to be altered in the short and long term. Tesla has inevitably fallen victim to this as well.
Delays are a part of life. While Tesla may have overpromised on the Cybertruck, that has not dampened the enthusiasm level. There are still thousands of people ready to take delivery of their own all-electric truck with a unique and innovative design as soon as Tesla tackles the production issues that have been plaguing it. The aim now is early 2022. We shall see.