Tesla will begin production of its much-delayed electric pickup truck, the Cybertruck, next year, along with numerous other new products, Elon Musk, the automaker’s chief executive officer, said late Thursday.
The truck, with its angular design and stainless steel skin that sets it apart from traditional pickups, was delayed after an unfortunate revelation in 2019 when a designer threw a metal ball at a window in what was supposed to be a demonstration of the vehicle’s resilience.
Instead, the window shattered.
“We’re going to break the window again,” Mr. Musk joked as a cybertruck rolled onto the stage at a lavish “cyber rodeo” organized by Tesla in Austin, Texas, to celebrate its newly built factory nearby to present to the state capital.
“We can’t wait to build this,” Mr. Musk said of the truck, wearing a black cowboy hat. “Sorry for the delay. But you’ll have that next year, and it’s going to be really great.”
The Tesla CEO has a long history of promising products that materialize later or not at all than he announced, but his timeline for the Cybertruck is clearer than what he gave investors in January when he said the Delivery in 2023 ” Most likely.”
Delays in the production of the Cybertruck have allowed competitors to bring pickup trucks, one of the most popular vehicle types in the United States, to market sooner. Ford is expected to begin deliveries of the Lightning, a battery-powered version of its F-150, this summer. Rivian’s electric pickup went on sale late last year and received rave reviews, but the company has struggled to ramp up production, a common problem for new-car makers.
Tesla invited about 15,000 people to the Cyber Rodeo, which Mr. Musk, with his usual exaggeration, described as the “biggest party on earth.” The factory is the size of three pentagons, he said.
Local schools closed early to allow parents to avoid traffic jams caused by the crowds, TV station KXAN reported. Among the guests was actor Harrison Ford. Tesla parked red, white, and blue cars in formation to resemble the Texas state flag.
The factory is part of Tesla’s global expansion that includes a newly opened plant near Berlin. Along with an existing factory in Shanghai, the new assembly lines could help the company repeat its growth in 2021, when it nearly doubled sales to nearly a million vehicles, far outperforming other major automakers.
“This year is all about scale,” Musk said. “Next year there will be a massive wave of new products.”
In 2023, Tesla will also produce a roadster, a semi-truck, and “hopefully” the first version of a humanoid robot called Optimus, which Musk says will “do everything humans don’t want to do.” He added that a beta version of the fully self-driving software will be available to North American customers later this year.