Starting at $60,990, Tesla's Cybertruck is priced 50% higher than initial estimate

Tesla's (TSLA.O) long-delayed Cybertruck will be priced starting at $60,990, over 50% more than what CEO Elon Musk had touted in 2019 and a cost analysts have said will draw select, affluent buyers.

The truck, made of shiny stainless steel and shaped into flat planes, is partly inspired by a car-turned-submarine in the 1977 James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me," Musk has said.

Its new body material and unconventional, futuristic styling has added complexity and costs to production, and threatens to alienate traditional pickup truck buyers who focus on utility, experts say.

But Musk, who has priced the vehicle's three variants between $60,990 and $99,990, said on Thursday the Cybertruck has "more utility than a truck" and is "faster than a sports car."

He drove a Cybertruck onto a stage to cheers from the crowd and later handed over vehicles to about a dozen customers at an event in Austin, Texas.

"Finally, the future will look like the future," he said about the truck's design, showing a video of the Cybertruck towing a Porsche 911 and beating another gasoline-powered 911 in a short race.

Tesla shares fell 2% in extended trading after closing off 1.6% at $240.08.

Musk did not announce the vehicle's prices at the event, but Tesla's website listed the prices. Its highest performance variant, the 'Cyberbeast' will be available next year, as will the all-wheel drive trim that starts at an estimated $80,000.

The cheapest rear-wheel drive version with an estimated starting price of about $61,000 will be available in 2025.

"This is going to appeal to ... definitely a wealthier clientele that can afford the price point and they want something that is unique and quirky," said Jessica Caldwell, head of insights at auto research firm Edmunds.

"That just isn't a large segment of the population that can afford that especially where interest rates are."

After Musk estimated in 2019 that the Cybertruck would sell for $40,000, the vehicle drew more than a million reservation holders who put down $100 deposits. He had not offered an updated price before Monday, despite rising raw material costs for EVs.

New deposits are $250, Musk said on Thursday.

The price is not a surprise to many, said Paul Waatti, an analyst at consultancy AutoPacific. Waatti told Reuters before the event that the Cybertruck would do well with a smaller audience.


Cybertruck, two years behind schedule, enters a hot pickup truck market to compete with the likes of Ford's (F.N) F150 Lightning, Rivian Automotive's (RIVN.O) R1T and General Motors (GM.N) Hummer EV.

Rivian's R1T has a starting price of $73,000, while the F-150 Lightning starts at about $50,000. The larger and more powerful Hummer EV pickup costs more than $96,000.

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The Cybertruck, Tesla's first new model in nearly four years, is critical to its reputation as a maker of innovative vehicles. At a time when the company is battling softening electric vehicle (EV) demand and rising competition, Cybertruck is also key for generating sales, though not to the extent of the company's high-volume Models 3 and Y.

Musk tempered investor expectations about the product last month citing problems in ramping production and warning that it would take a year to 18 months to make it a significant cash flow contributor.

Ahead of the launch, Musk captured media attention on a different subject, giving a profanity-laced interview to the New York Times on Wednesday. He cursed advertisers who left his social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, because of antisemitic comments.

On Thursday, he said about the truck: "It's basically an incredibly useful truck. It's not just some grandstanding showpiece like me."


The Cybertruck's longest-range version can drive an estimated 340 miles (547 km), and comes with a "range extender" or extra battery pack that extends its range to 470 miles.

In 2019, Musk had said the truck would be able to travel 500 miles or more on a single charge.

"As a truck, the Ford and Chevy are more useful and certainly easier to see out of," said Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights.

"Given that Teslas almost always fall short of (range) estimates in real world driving by anywhere from 10%-20%, I wouldn't expect the longest range version of the Cybertruck to achieve more than 300 miles on the road," he said, noting that the Chevrolet Silverado EV is capable of exceeding its 450-mile rated range.

Musk has said Tesla was likely to reach a production rate of roughly 250,000 Cybertrucks a year in 2025. He did not update that on Thursday.

During its 2019 reveal, Tesla's chief designer Franz von Holzhausen took a metal ball to demonstrate the truck's unbreakable "armor glass" window, only to shatter it.

Holzhausen on Thursday lobbed a baseball at the Cybertruck window that bounced off.

During an attempt to show off the strength of the vehicle’s “Armor Glass,” Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, lobbed a metal ball at a window said to be “unbreakable,” but shattered it. Trying the test on a different window at Musk’s encouragement, he broke that one too. Memes have haunted the tortured production cycle of the truck ever since.

Of course, the awkward demo didn’t do much to dampen enthusiasm from Tesla’s adoring fans, and the company is estimated to have racked up as many as 2 million preorders since then, with buyers putting down refundable deposits of $100 each to reserve their theoretical Cybertruck. Initially, they expected the vehicle to enter production in 2021. But, like Tesla’s continually postponed autonomous self-driving cars, that date has been pushed back several times: first to 2022, then to early 2023, and then to November. Finally, on Thursday afternoon, Tesla’s Gigafactory in Texas will host a “Cybertruck Delivery Event” to celebrate the first owners getting behind the wheel at last.

It’s still anyone’s guess what the actual event will entail. All the same, customers dreaming of a shiny Cybertruck in their driveway come Christmas are likely to be disappointed by an essentially meaningless PR spectacle. Having gritted their teeth and endured long years without a single update from Tesla (others, fed up with the lack of communication, took the deposit refund), they may even find out that the truck costs much more than originally announced: Tesla removed the $40,000 to $70,000 prices for three different configurations from its website back in 2021, without explanation, and some buyers who have been contacted about finalizing their orders have claimed that the cheapest model wasn’t available — while the higher-end one is now priced at close to $100,000 (before other fees and add-ons). Moreover, the truck has landed in a less welcoming market than the one it stirred up in 2019, as a number of direct competitors have emerged since then.

Other indications of looming disappointment come from Musk himself, who in an October earnings call for Tesla reportedly said, “We dug our own grave with the Cybertruck.” He was referring to the challenges of scaling up production, which could prevent the company from reaching its desired manufacturing efficiency until 2025 (another loose estimate you can take with a grain of salt). “The ramp is going to be extremely difficult, and there’s no way around that,” Musk told investors. It won’t help that Tesla is also behind on producing the battery cells the truck uses. As if to confirm that it can’t meet demand for the vehicle, the company has also removed the preorder page from its website — after briefly raising the deposit amount to $250.

As for delivery of trucks that Tesla has made so far, well, the Mexican newspaper Milenio reported earlier this month that during a conference speech in Monterrey, product design director Javier Verdura said the Nov. 30 event would see them “deliver the first 10” Cybertrucks. That’s not much of a dent in the queue, and what’s more, these units would probably go to Tesla employees — as with the launch of previous models. It appears there are a few additional trucks on the factory grounds, though it’s possible these may just be for guests to test-drive.

Then there’s the truck itself. Thursday should see the release of specs on the finished models, but perhaps more importantly, as more Cybertrucks are released into the wild, the public will get a better sense of their practicality: how much actually fits in the truck bed, how far it can drive on a full charge, and how quickly its sleek reflective body is coated in fingerprints. There will also be more opportunities to examine the assembly up-close, and the choice of that steel exterior has led to serious problems with gaps and misalignments of panels — which lends an air of shoddiness. And it’s only after these things get on the road that we can have some understanding of how safe they are.

Musk has preferred to build Cybertruck hype, as he did in the infamous 2019 presentation, by testing its supposedly impervious exterior, in one case claiming to have riddled a model with bullets from a Thompson submachine gun, and on another occasion inviting podcaster pal Joe Rogan to fire a bow and arrow at the truck. Motorists not planning for some kind of Mad Max dystopia, however, are bound to be more interested in the basics, and going by a leaked Tesla report on basic design flaws in earlier Cybertrucks, any number of issues threaten to arise, from faulty braking or steering to excessive noise while driving. The unique, one-piece windshield wiper apparently leaves something to be desired. Photos of a truck being towed off a San Francisco street days ago for blocking a driveway, meanwhile, prompted discussion on whether it’s difficult to park.

Regardless, Tesla loyalists are duty-bound to see nothing but upside in Musk’s follies (including when he repeatedly yells “Go fuck yourself” at a New York Times business summit, as he did on Wednesday, regarding brands that have abandoned his increasingly toxic social media platform). The official Cybertruck debut turning out to be a dud — or a fiasco on par with the broken windows incident — won’t keep them from posting triumphantly and pledging further patience as they await the arrival of an ill-conceived machine they might never own.

With everyone else, the reviews won’t be quite so forgiving.

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