Tesla Cybertruck production pegged for June with yoke steering wheel and scratch-resistant finish
Tesla's design chief Franz von Holzhausen is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to revealing new tidbits about the upcoming Cybertruck electric pickup design. After informing that the retail Cybertruck will be "slightly smaller" than the prototype, he now gave an update of sorts on the Cybertruck release date, steering wheel, and stainless steel finish.
Yoke Cybertruck steering "makes sense," he said, indicating that what we see on the prototype now might end up in the production vehicle as standard, despite that Tesla started offering the yoke steering wheel as an option for its Model S and Model X. Asked about potential scratches on the Cybertruck's stainless steel body, Tesla's head of design said that the material is very hard and not easy to blemish, yet the design team has developed a way for the owner to fill in any deeper grooves and restore the custom finish from visible scratches with relative ease.
When pressed if the Tesla Cybertruck production is expected to begin less than six months from now indeed, he didn't object, placing the electric pickup's launch between mid-June and mid-July. This is actually the Cybertruck release timeframe that Tesla teased last year when it announced that the pickup will be delayed for mid-2023, so the launch schedule is seemingly going as planned. Moreover, Tesla may have already started assembling the equipment that will be used to press the Cybertruck's stainless steel frame into shape - the 9000-ton IDRA Giga Press - components in its Austin, TX factory.
Tesla was also granted multiple Giga Texas expansion permits, some of which will happen as soon as this year. The new battery-making facilities in Austin could be destined for a dramatic ramp-up of Tesla's 4680 cells which now go into the Model Y with cell-to-pack technology, as they are also made at other Tesla factories.
If the Cybertruck ships with the more affordable 4680 packs that still have similar adjusted energy density to the 2170 units Tesla uses in its performance vehicles, its base price could be closer to what Elon Musk promised several years ago when Tesla announced its electric pickup. A sub-US$45,000 Cybertruck price may have sounded impossible just a few short months ago when Tesla was riding high on insatiable demand and tight supply, but now that the automotive industry is facing a recession and interest rates are still increasing, Tesla was forced to cut the price of its cars dramatically by up to 30% with federal subsidies.
Thus, the Cybertruck may very well launch with a starting price that is not that far off from what Tesla promised when it unveiled the electric pickup, despite that last we heard from Elon Musk on the matter, he was warning that Tesla would have to increase the Cybertruck price just like it did with its other vehicles at the time. Those times have changed, though, and Tesla's production costs may have dropped enough to allow a Cybertruck price that is close to what its early adopters signed up for many moons ago.