The Tesla Cybertruck during a tour of the Elkhorn Battery energy storage system in Moss Landing, California, June 6, 2022.
Nik Coury | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been promoting the company’s long-delayed, sci-fi inspired Cybertruck on social media this week. However, the electric vehicle maker still hasn’t issued final pricing and specs for the trapezoidal pickup, which it first unveiled in November 2019, and a company-wide email sent by Elon Musk implies he’s worried about “precision” in manufacturing the truck because its “straight edges” mean variations show up “like a sore thumb.”
In its second-quarter financial filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said its factory in Austin, Texas, was working on “tooling” for the Cybertruck, and production status was not yet active. The company also said in a shareholder deck that it was “working on equipment installation for Cybertruck production, which remains on track for initial deliveries this year.”
The company has not said when it expects to be able to mass produce the vehicle.
On Wednesday, Musk shared a post on X, formerly Twitter, with an image of the Cybertruck, saying, “Just drove the production candidate Cybertruck at Tesla Giga Texas!” In automotive manufacturing, a “candidate” is an early model of a vehicle that the manufacturer uses to gauge the quality of its production systems and vehicle assembly lines.
A Tesla promoter and fan pressed Musk for more details on the social platform Wednesday, writing in a post, “Enough with the hype, let’s get down to business. Please announce the specs, pricing and new estimated delivery event date.”
The Tesla CEO, who also owns and runs X after a $44 billion buyout last year, replied: “When we are ready to do so, we will. While I think it is our best product ever, it is an extremely difficult product to build. We are in uncharted territory, because it is not like anything else.”
Musk also sent an email to “everybody” at Tesla on Wednesday about the Cybertruck and the challenges of producing the vehicle. Tesla employees shared a copy of the email with CNBC and asked to remain unnamed since they were not authorized to speak with press about internal matters. News of the memo was previously published by Electrek.
What Musk said in the email implies that Tesla is still struggling with Cybertruck quality. Shares of Tesla were dipping slightly early Thursday following Musk’s Cybertruck comments and the email.
Here’s what the email said, as transcribed by CNBC.
From: Elon Musk
Date: August 23, 2023 [time stamp removed]
Subj. Cybertruck Precision
Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb.
All parts for this vehicle, whether internal or from suppliers, need to be designed and built to sub 10 micron accuracy.
That means all part dimensions need to be to the third decimal place in millimeters and tolerances need be specified in single digit microns.
If LEGO and soda cans, which are very low cost, can do this, so can we.
Precision predicates perfectionism.