Tesla Inc will delay production of its much-awaited Cybertruck, aiming to start in 2023, the company said on Wednesday, at a time when legacy automakers and startups are doubling down on efforts to capture the lucrative market.
The announcement confirms a Reuters report from earlier this month and comes as the electric-vehicle maker reported record quarterly revenue and 2022 deliveries growing more than 50%, despite supply chain issues.
Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who unveiled the futuristic vehicle in 2019, had already delayed its production from late 2021 to late 2022. The web page for the pickup had recently stopped referring to the production schedule.
“We will not be introducing new vehicle models this year. It would not make any sense because we’ll still be parts constrained,” Musk said on a call with analysts.
“We will, however, do a lot of engineering and tooling and whatnot to create those vehicles, Cybertruck, Semi, Roadster, Optimus (robot), and could be ready to bring those to production hopefully next year. That is most likely,” he added.
Tesla, which began making electric vehicles with the premium sedan, Model S, and later introduced a more affordable car, the Model 3, missed out on the highly profitable pickup truck segment currently dominated by fuel-guzzling vehicles from legacy automakers.
Ahead of the earnings, Musk tweeted on Tuesday that he has been driving the latest Cybertruck prototype around the new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, adding “It’s awesome.”
Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co and Rivian Automotive have raced ahead of Tesla in launching electric pickups. Rivian has started deliveries of its R1T pickup truck, while Ford is set to start deliveries of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup in spring this year.
General Motors’ Silverado electric pickup, unveilled earlier this year, will begin production in 2023.
The delay comes as Tesla is changing features and functions of the electric pickup to make a compelling product, according to the Reuters report.
(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)