For Tesla and its fans, this has been a week of reality checks, as the company shuffled back two of its most noteworthy electric vehicles—the Roadster and the Cybertruck—by roughly a year in each case.
On Thursday, according to the Tesla fan site Electrek, citing sources inside the company, Tesla held a company-wide call, with an update from CEO Elon Musk on Cybertruck production confirming that the start of production for the electric pickup won't happen until the end of 2022.
Musk reportedly noted that ramp-up of the truck will be very difficult, as there's so much new technology in the electric truck.
Musk had already hinted in a July update call that the Model Y “obviously does take priority over the Cybertruck”—referring to the ramp at the company's Texas plant, where Model Y production will follow a new cast-body process. Shortly after that, Tesla's order page and customer communications indicated that first Cybertruck deliveries will happen in early 2022, not late 2021; if you count that, this will mark the second significant delay for the model.
That wasn't the only big delay announced this week, though. On Wednesday Musk confirmed delays for one of the company's most-anticipated new vehicles. The second-generation Tesla Roadster has been delayed to 2023, Musk confirmed via Twitter.
Chip shortages were the problem, he said, claiming they were holding up the launch of new products.
The Roadster was originally revealed in November 2017 and due by 2020. At the time, Musk quoted impressive specifications, including 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, a 250-mph top speed, and 620 miles of range from a 250-kwh battery pack.
2021 has been the year of super crazy supply chain shortages, so it wouldn’t matter if we had 17 new products, as none would ship.
Assuming 2022 is not mega drama, new Roadster should ship in 2023.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 1, 2021
Tesla almost immediately began accepting $50,000 reservations for the standard Roadster, which has a $200,000 price tag. To get one of the first Founders Series models, customers have to put up that version's full $250,000 price.
However, Tesla's battery claims for both the Roadster and Semi (which was unveiled alongside the Roadster) puzzled analysts. As the Roadster's planned 2020 launch drew closer, Musk also admitted that engineering work wouldn't be finished in time, but doubled down on bold claims. Earlier this year he teased rocket tech for the Roadster and said that Tesla was "finishing engineeing" in 2021, followed by production in 2022.
2020 Tesla Roadster acceleration and Plaid Mode
At least the Roadster, Semi, and Cybertruck are still ostensibly in the queue for production. Earlier this year, Tesla abruptly cancelled the Model S Plaid+ ahead of its launch event. This range-topping model was supposed to combine the performance of the Model S Plaid with a 520-mile range.
Perhaps to feed the hype cycle from the other side, the CEO reportedly claimed, in the same meeting delaying Cybertruck production, that it's planning to produce its $25,000 Tesla model starting in 2023. Although it's a pattern we've seen before from Musk and the company, a widely produced, more affordable Tesla could indeed do a lot of good.
This is a significantly updated version of a piece originally published on 9/2/2021, adding information about reports of the Cybertruck delay.