Tesla’s long-awaited and ambitious electric pickup truck, the Cybertruck, has suffered from various technical issues throughout its development, according to leaked documents obtained by Wired.
Tesla first announced the Cybertruck in 2019, and it was scheduled to enter production in late 2021. The super-hyped truck faced delays supposedly due to battery shortages. Subsequently, in August 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk delayed the vehicle to sometime in 2022 before pushing it to January during a Q4 earnings call.
According to a report from July 2022, deliveries for the vehicle were expected to start in mid-2023, but this did not occur. Tesla then promised that the Cybertruck would enter mass production at the end of 2023, but this also turned out to be an empty promise. During a conference call with financial analysts in October, Musk mentioned that Tesla is preparing its Austin, Texas plant for the Cybertruck’s production, with “early production” planned for mid-2023.
Then, during Tesla’s Q4 2022 earnings call, Musk said that mass production of the truck won’t begin until 2024. He did say that production of the vehicle will begin in some capacity this summer, though Tesla would only be able to initiate mass production in 2024.
Now, thanks to Wired obtaining leaked Tesla documents, we know better why the Cybertruck is taking so long to enter production and hit the streets. The documents reveal that a prototype version of the truck tested in January 2022 experienced problems with its braking, body sealing, and suspension systems. According to an unnamed veteran automotive engineer, the problems do not mean the Cybertruck is dead. Tesla has substantial cash reserves, and it’ll work out the kinks one way or the another. However, “These are classic mechanical automotive engineering challenges that you have in pretty much any vehicle. I’m blown away that they would be struggling so much with the basics,” said the unnamed engineer.
The prototype truck had issues with its braking performance, such as excessive pedal travel, inconsistent stopping, and excessive pitch during friction braking. It also had difficulties with sealing the vehicle from external noise and weather conditions.
Musk has himself stated that the Cybertruck is “hard to make,” considering its unique design and build materials. It’s made of stainless steel, which is heavier, more expensive, and harder to shape and weld than conventional steel.
If the electric truck enters mass production in 2024 or not completely depends on the world’s biggest electric car manufacturer working out the kinks.
It’s worth noting that when the truck was first revealed in 2019, Tesla quoted a $39,900 USD (roughly $54,400 CAD at the time) price tag for the vehicle. During a Tesla shareholder’s meeting last August, Musk said that “a lot has changed” since then, and the Cybertruck’s price and specifications will shift.
Image credit: Tesla