Tesla Provides Cybertruck Update, Hints at Surprises

By Kevin Armstrong
Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen talks about Tesla's upcoming Cybertruck
Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen talks about Tesla's upcoming Cybertruck
Tesla

Tesla's Cybertruck is ready to go into production, said the company's Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen during an interview on the Ride the Lightning podcast. However, the designer admits it's always a work in progress on all of Tesla's vehicles as the team continuously looks for ways to refine and improve the process.

The 55-minute interview covered several topics, but much of the conversation focused on the highly anticipated, Cybertruck. Listeners were teased with what could be in the final product and reminded of how we go to this point.

More Unknown Extras

Despite all the eyes on Tesla at all times, von Holzhausen says some brand-new features are coming with Cybertruck. "I'm not going to talk about them, but I think they'll be pleasant surprises, and I think they are the right things for the product, and they're the right kind of competitive things for the product as well.

When asked about including vehicle-to-grid charging, the function that allows energy to go back to the grid from the battery, or vehicle to home, von Holzhausen said, "I won't comment." Cybertruck being able to act as a boat was not discussed.

Different Logo on Cybertruck

There are no logos on the Cybertruck except inside the charge port. Tesla owners are familiar with the "T" logo that lights up when charging. The prototype Cybertruck has an 8-bit logo in that spot, "in those development days when we were designing the truck, it was such a like a low-resolution, low-bit idea in its kind of simplicity as a form we thought this 8-bit concept. So we did an 8-bit version of the T."

While von Holzhausen says we will have to wait to see if it appears on the production vehicle, he did agree that the 8-bit logo design should be added to shirts in the Tesla store.

More Details on the Unique Exterior

There are so many rare aspects of the Cybertruck, from the design to the stainless steel exterior shell, "We spent a lot of time developing a finish… the stainless is incredibly hard." But how will it hold up against scratches? "In the event that there is a scratch, we do have a process that you could basically buff it or remove the scratch and return to the basic finish."

It appears there won't be any color options available for Cybertruck. It will be stainless steel, "we experimented with some finishes. There is always the opportunity to wrap. The thing we wanted to do is preserve the hardness, and anytime you put something softer like a clear coat or a painted finish on the material, it just then... basically takes away from the idea of putting the hardest thing on the outer surface," said von Holzhausen.

Steering Wheel and Door Handles

Tesla recently made some changes when ordering a Model S or Model X. Buyers can now choose a conventional steering wheel or the yoke. But von Holzhausen is confident about what the Cybertruck will use, "the yoke makes a lot of sense. You know once you experience it, it's a great driving experience combined with Autopilot. It makes the whole kind of user experience in the interior cockpit simpler and cleaner." Last year there were rumors that Tesla may implement steer-by-wire in some of their vehicles, so it'll be interesting to see if the Cybertruck comes with this new feature.

The door handles will also be the same as what is on the Model X with the "chauffer" auto-present doors. However, when asked if that would be the same for both front and back doors, von Holzhausen said, "possibly on the back, there are also buttons."

Cybertruck was Almost Normal

It's been in the works for over half a decade, but von Holzhausen acknowledges that Tesla was considering something more mainstream, even working off silhouettes of what's on the road. "we have an opportunity to do something different, an opportunity that nobody else would have the balls to do, and Elon's like yeah, we've got to do it," said Von Holzhausen.

The designer confessed he wasn't sure about Cybertruck, "I didn't 100 percent know what to expect… It's so different it needs a moment to grow on you. It's like the first time you hear a song. Sometimes it can be grading, or like you're not sure if you like it, you listen to it three or four or five times, and suddenly it's your favorite song. You just need to... because it's so new and fresh you need to get comfortable with it, and I think this like it just is so radically different than expectations."

Finally, von Holzhausen says it's great that other manufacturers have produced electric trucks. He believes Tesla has "moved the needle" and will continue to do so.

Franz on Ride the Lightning

Elon to Switch to the Cybertruck; Volume Production in 2024

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck mass production to start in 2024
Cybertruck mass production to start in 2024
Kim Java

Tesla's fourth quarter and 2022 earnings call with investors was mostly good news unless you were planning to drive a Cybertruck soon. While company executives eagerly jumped on every question asked by investors, there was a noticeable pause when a point-blank question was asked about Cybertruck's mid-year production date.

Elon Musk responded "um, we do expect production to start, I don't know, maybe sometime this summer. But I always like to try to downplay the start of production because the start of production is always very slow. It increases exponentially, but it's always very slow at first. So I wouldn't put too much thought in start of production."

Volume Production Next Year

If the millions of people with Cybertruck reservations were in attendance, you might have felt the air leave the room. The previous belief was mass production would start by the end of 2023. There may be some stainless-steel beauties on the road by then, but only a few. "It's kind of when does volume production actually happen, and that's next year," said Musk.

Perhaps sensing some disappointed buyers, Lars Moravy, Tesla's Vice President of Vehicle Engineering added, "(I'd) like just to emphasize on that, we've started installation of all the production equipment here in Giga Texas, castings, general assembly, body shops. We built all our beta vehicles, some more coming still in the next month, but as you said, the ramp will really come 2024."

The Cybertruck Will be Elon's Next Car

Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019 at the memorable event that included the unbreakable armor glass smashing. Musk was wearing the smashed glass Cybertruck t-shirt while taking questions from investors. While the wait continues, he is adamant that it will be worth it, "So it's an incredible product. I can't wait to drive it personally. It will be the car that I drive every day… it's just one of those products that only comes along once in a while, and it's really special."

The original release deadline was set for 2021. However, the production date has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, like a global pandemic. Nevertheless, it is a positive sign that beta vehicles have been produced. Images of what appears to be a Cybertruck were leaked a few months ago.

Recently, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen did confirm that the Cybertruck was ready for production, but it's a work in progress. Every Tesla beta product gets thoroughly examined and meticulously reviewed before the next step. But at least it's a step in the right direction.

A Look at Tesla's 2022 Numbers and Record Quarter

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Statista

Tesla published their Q4 2022 and full-year financial results, setting new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations. Tesla’s annual profit rose to $12.6 billion in 2022, from $5.5 billion in 2021. Annual revenue rose to $81.5 billion, from $53.8 billion the year prior. Tesla reported fourth-quarter revenue of $24.32 billion beating analysts' $24.07 billion estimate. The automaker also reported earnings per share of $1.19 beating analysts' $1.12 estimate.

Tesla’s stock rose more than 5% in after-hours trading following the earnings release and surged more than 10% the next day.

Tesla's Q4 2022 revenue set a new record for the company, up 59% from a year earlier. In addition to automotive revenue of $21.3 billion, Tesla recognized $324 million of deferred revenue from the company’s driver assistance systems.

FSD Beta Numbers

Tesla reported that 90 million miles have now been driven with FSD Beta, up from 58 million miles in the previous quarter. The company also confirmed that they have about 400,000 FSD Beta users in North America, a sizeable increase since the last report. With such a steep increase in miles driven and FSD Beta becoming widely available in North America, Tesla is making significant progress with its autonomous driving software.

In late 2022 and into this year, Tesla began cutting prices on its cars globally. Elon spoke about how recent price cuts have fueled a surge in demand for Tesla: “Thus far in January we’ve seen the strongest orders year-to-date than ever in our history. We’re currently seeing orders of almost twice the rate of production.” He added: “These price changes really make a difference for the average consumer.” Tesla acknowledges that average sales prices have to decrease over time because affordability is part of Tesla's mission to grow into a company that sells multiple millions of cars annually.

Price cuts will impact profitability, but margins should remain healthy, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn affirmed. Tesla has wider operating margins than the industry average, which allows them to make such price cuts.

Elon issued an uncertain forecast for 2023, saying Tesla planned on 1.8 million vehicles for the year without specifying whether that was a target for production or deliveries. If the company were to deliver 1.8 million vehicles in 2023, that would result in 37% annual growth.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2023.2.0.5.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

Subscribe

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