First Tesla Cybertruck pre-production prototype comes off the line

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Following vehicle development from announcement to production is getting to be like airplane flights — long, unpredictable, turbulent, and delayed. The Tesla Cybertruck might finally have stuck its landing. Elon Musk announced the battery-electric starship trooper on November 21, 2019. Many deadlines have been blown since then. But on July 15, Tesla’s official Twitter page announced, “First Cybertruck built at Giga Texas!” The accompanying photo showed what we’re guessing is a pre-production prototype surrounded by the men and women who built it. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Wish we could see more of their work, but that’s being saved for an official debut and handover event. For now, we can make out the “gigawiper,” a single long blade lined up the driver’s side A-pillar. It’s impossible to be certain about the shape of the steering wheel, but it doesn’t look like a yoke. If anything, if the front wheels are turned, it looks like the steering wheel could have a flat top. And it could just be our eyes, but that bed looks smaller than we expected. 

Take note of the hand signal some of the workers are throwing — two fingertips forming an angle like the Cybertruck’s roof. Not as easy to perform as a Jeep wave, but we have a feeling we’ll be seeing it for a minute.

The last official word we got on proper production is that limited assembly starts this year with “very slow” output, volume assembly starts next with an ultimate goal of around 375,000 units per year. The handover event slated for around the end of September is likely only delivering keys to Tesla employees and other insiders. The price is likely to stay secret until around then as well. The first and only MSRP figures we got are from 2019, when the pickup was going to start at just under $40,000 and top out around $70,000 for the tri-motor version. With Musk having said in May that “This was a tough product to design and even tougher to build,” and the ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless steel known to be hard on equipment, we suspect that entire MSRP scale has shifted. Also, considering manufacturer’s like to book profits by delivering more expensive trims first, a six-figure Cybertruck leading the way wouldn’t surprise us.

Tesla had around 1.6 million reservations for the truck as of last November. Even if just 20% of those reservation holders stick around — an exodus we don’t expect to happen — the waiting line for this one is going to be long.

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