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Tesla’s Cyber Rodeo Gives a Look at the Cybertruck
Tesla hosts Cyber Rodeo to mark launch of Giga Texas plant in Austin, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in attendance.The Cyber Rodeo gave Tesla fans a closer look at the company’s delayed Cybertruck, now scheduled to enter production sometime in 2023.The launch of Giga Texas follows the formal opening of Giga Berlin in Germany last month, with both plants focusing on Model Y production early on.Those lucky enough to attend Tesla’s Cyber Rodeo in Austin, Texas, last Thursday, held for the formal launch of the automaker’s Giga Texas plant, got a chance to see the latest prototype of the Cybertruck, among other things. The battery-electric pickup, first seen as a concept in 2019, has endured a few changes between its first appearance and the present day, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk promising a 2023 production start during the Cyber Rodeo. Attendees were invited to take a close look at the Cybertruck, which featured a number of prominent differences between the concept first seen in 2019, including a more complete interior with yoke-style steering, a more conventional wheel design and other small differences, like the presence of a single, long wiper blade. The truck also featured a number of other items that suggested a production intent, including fairly ordinary side mirrors, as well as exterior cameras for the Autopilot system. The latest prototype suggests Tesla is close to finalizing the look of the electric pickup, and that it may not change all that much between now and the planned start of production, even though specific month or time of year was not mentioned during the event. The most immediate goal of the Giga Texas plant, however, is Model Y production with the tabless 4680 cells. Along with the Model 3, the automaker’s two newer vehicles now collectively make up 97% of Tesla’s output, accounting for 911,208 out of 936,172 vehicles delivered in 2021. This level of demand for the two smaller vehicles made them a priority for Giga Texas as Tesla works to increase capacity around the globe.These proportions are expected to extend into 2022 and beyond, as the Model S and the Model X continue to take a back seat role in the automaker’s model mix, absent a complete redesign that does not appear to be in the cards. This also means the Model S and Model X are expected to stay in production in Fremont and no other Tesla plant, as Giga Shanghai and Giga Berlin focus on Tesla’s two volume models. If Tesla sticks to the planned 2023 production start for the Cybertruck, the model will arrive in a markedly different EV consumer landscape than the one during which it was unveiled. First of all, the Cybertruck has already been beaten to market by Rivian, GMC, and Ford, with an EV truck from Chevrolet due in 2023 as well. Second, the Cybertruck could face a much higher starting price than the $39,900 sticker originally promised, due to rising battery and raw materials costs. Once again, Tesla is expected to start production of the better optioned versions first, with the base model promised to arrive at a later date. Third, the Cybertruck is still not seen by a number of industry observers as something aimed at truck buyers, but rather EV buyers and current Tesla owners. So its place in the consumer vehicle market could turn out to be somewhat different from the Ford F-150 Lightning, for instance, deliveries of which are just weeks away.The Cybertruck, therefore, faces a few headwinds as 2023 approaches, with Tesla prioritizing production of other models at Giga Texas and Giga Berlin.
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