Tesla quietly delays Cybertruck to 2022

It's a setback you might have seen coming.

REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

You'll have to temper your expectations if you were hoping to drive a Cybertruck before 2021 was over. Electrek notes that Tesla has quietly pushed the release of the electric pickup to next year on its configuration page, telling you that you'll get to customize your truck when "production nears in 2022." This applies regardless of model — Tesla had already warned that single-motor trucks would arrive later, but that now applies to the dual- and tri-motor machines.

Tesla had already hinted the 2021 target might not be realistic. Elon Musk said in January that there would only be a "few deliveries" of Cybertrucks in 2021, and that volume production was set for 2022. While the company stuck to that claim in its July quarterly report, the company only recently finished the engineering design for the EV — it would have just a few months to finish development and ship those initial trucks.

That could pose a competitive challenge for Tesla. GMC's Hummer EV is now poised to beat the Cybertruck to market barring delays. Even with setbacks, Rivian is still due to release its R1T truck in September. And while Ford's F-150 Lightning isn't due until spring 2022, the Cybertruck may have lost its first-mover advantage.

The delay wouldn't be surprising, though. The Cybertruck's cold-rolled steel body requires unique manufacturing techniques, and that's not including broader technical hurdles like the tri-motor system. Tesla is also known for optimistic timetables that clash with the realities of production. The automaker can at least count on pent-up demand, though. With over 1 million Cybertruck reservations, Tesla could have plenty of demand even if many of those would-be buyers have second thoughts.