Tesla Pickup Truck: Cybertruck Production Volume, Launch Expectations

If it is a success, how many will Tesla be able to deliver?

People are very curious about how the new Tesla pickup truck will look. That has deserved dozens of renderings and a lot of speculation. Anyway, there is a more critical aspect that has been almost forgotten. It is even more mysterious than the looks: When will the Cybertruck production start? When will deliveries begin?

Gallery: Check Out This Amazing Look Inside The Tesla Fremont Factory

Check Out This Amazing Look Inside The Tesla Fremont Factory

Check Out This Amazing Look Inside The Tesla Fremont Factory

It would not make sense to produce the electric pickup truck in any other country other than the US. It is the biggest market for this sort of vehicle. Apart from that, the Chicken Tax would also make it even harder for the Cybertruck to compete with gasoline and diesel vehicles.

All this makes Fremont the factory that will have to handle its production. But is it up to the task? How much investment will it need to be able to do that?

Tesla intends to reach a 400,000-vehicle production in Fremont in 2019, but Elon Musk said in 2016 that it would be feasible to produce one million cars there, even if it was up to discussion whether that was wise. That would imply more than doubling the aimed production for 2019.

At that point, the Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai was just a distant dream. Now, it is starting to pump out its first Model 3 units in a factory that was not adapted to produce electric cars, as NUMMI was until it became Fremont.

It is worth remembering the Shanghai plant will be able to produce 250,000 at this first stage and that the plans are for it to deliver 500,000 EVs in its second stage of development. That could help to expand Tesla sales to markets in which it is still not present, such as Brazil. It could also help rearrange production for it to make more sense.

The production of the Model Y will happen in the US and China. If it were not for the trade war between these countries, it would make sense to have it made in only one of them. From a financial perspective, the cheapest Tesla vehicles should come from the country that is able to deliver it at the most competitive costs. That would free capacity for the pickup truck. The US did not restrict car imports before the Trump administration apart from the Chicken Tax.

In the US, the Model Y assembly is slated to begin in late 2020. In China, that will probably start earlier than that, but we cannot tell for sure. What we can say is that the only vehicle Tesla really needs to produce in the US, for strategic and tax reasons, is the pickup truck.

Will we see the Model 3 and Model Y production move entirely to China? Will Tesla invest in making 1 million units in Fremont? Does it make sense to have such a massive car factory in California with Gigafactory 3 already producing and Gigafactory 4 in a few years in Berlin?

The pickup truck unveiling may be able to answer those questions. If the Model Y production will only start by the end of 2020, the Cybertruck made in Fremont would only arrive in 2021 in the best-case scenario. Perhaps too late against competitors such as the Rivian R1T.

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