Tesla “will probably” build a smaller Cybertruck for Australia

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirms we’ll see all-electric Cybertruck being built at scale in 2023, but a different version is likely for markets outside the US.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that the Tesla Cybertruck will go into “volume production” in 2023. The EV brand confirmed earlier this year that the electric pick-up was delayed and wouldn’t go on sale until 2022 due to various issues, including the global semiconductor shortage.

Comments also suggest that the Cybertruck will be a US-only vehicle due to regulatory requirements, and a different version will be built for markets such as Australia.

At its recent shareholder meeting the American manufacturer also confirmed that production of the Tesla Semi heavy goods vehicle and the Tesla Roadster sports car would also begin in 2023.

Musk also announced that Tesla will move its headquarters from California to Austin, Texas, although the company won’t reduce its presence on the west coast.

Speaking on Cybertruck production, Musk said, “This year has been a constant struggle with parts supply. We’ve been limited by so many supply chain shortages – not just chips. Most likely what we’ll see is Cybertruck start production at the end of next year, then reach volume production in 2023. Hopefully we can also be producing the Semi and the new Roadster in ‘23 as well, so we should be through our severe supply chain shortages by 2023 and I’m optimistic that’ll be the case.”

Speaking during a Q&A session at the company annual Battery Day conference last year, Musk said that while orders for the Cybertruck are “gigantic” at well over half a million, the vehicle may not make it past regulators outside the United States. Despite this, he still predicted a production capacity of “at least 250,000 to 300,000 a year – maybe more.”

“We are designing the Cybertruck to meet the American spec,” Musk said, “because if you try to design a car to meet the superset of all global requirements, basically, you can’t make the Cybertruck. It’s impossible.”

It looks increasingly likely that the full-size Cybertruck will be a US-only model, which may not be a hindrance to its commercial viability as America is the world’s biggest market for large pick-up trucks. However, Musk mentioned that Tesla is also considering building a smaller version of the Cybertruck to suit countries with smaller roads.

“We’ll probably make an international version of Cybertruck that will be kinda smaller, kind of like a tight Wolverine package”, Musk said. However, he provided no further details of what he meant by “Wolverine,” which was a reference to one of the heavy-lifting robots at Tesla’s factory in Fremont California, named after the X-Men character.

Musk promised any international Cybertruck that may emerge will “still be cool,” adding: “But it’ll be smaller, because you just can’t make a giant truck like that for most markets.”

The all-new Tesla Cybertruck is an angular, stainless-steel-bodied utility vehicle with bulletproof glass and a claimed maximum towing capacity in excess of six tonnes. Prices will start from USD$39,900 (AUD$55,000) when it goes on sale in 2022 in the US.

Following the pick-up’s launch, Musk announced on Twitter that more than 250,000 customers had placed orders for the new model. Then he released a video showing the Tesla Cybertruck pulling a Ford F150, America’s best-selling pick-up truck, that’s caused some controversy online.

Despite looking like a prop from a sci-fi movie, Musk says the Cybertruck will do everything the most popular US market pick-ups can do. He claimed that it can carry a payload of up to 1587kg and tow up to 6350kg. It also comes with a lockable, 2832-litre load bed which can carry items up to 1981mm long.

Musk promises the pick-up will be handy off-road, too. It has 406mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 35 degrees and a departure angle of 28 degrees – which is better than the current Ford F-150. A range of new traction control settings, designed to simulate mechanical locking differentials, is also promised.

Luke Wilkinson

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