Starting at $60,990, the Tesla Cybertruck is priced 50% higher than its initial estimate

Nov 30 (Reuters) – Tesla (TSLA.O)’s long-awaited Cybertruck will be priced starting at $60,990, 50% more than CEO Elon Musk touted in 2019, and cost analysts said it would attract… Selected and wealthy buyers.

The truck, made of shiny stainless steel and shaped like flat planes, was partly inspired by a car that turned into a submarine in the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me,” Musk said.

Its new body material and unconventional, futuristic design has added complexity and costs to production, and threatens to alienate traditional, utility-focused pickup truck buyers, experts say.

But Musk, who has priced the three variants of the vehicle between $60,990 and $99,990, said Thursday that the Cybertruck has “more utility than a truck” and is “faster than a sports car.”

He drove the Cybertruck on stage to cheers from the audience and later delivered the vehicles to about a dozen customers at an event in Austin, Texas.

“Finally, the future will look like the future,” he said of the truck’s design, as a video showed the Cybertruck towing a Porsche 911 and beating another gasoline-powered 911 in a short race.

Tesla shares fell 2% in extended trading after closing up 1.6% at $240.08.

Musk did not announce car prices at the event, but Tesla’s website listed the prices. The highest-performance version, “Cyberbeast,” will be available next year, as will an all-wheel-drive model that starts at an estimated $80,000.

The cheapest rear-wheel drive version, starting at about $61,000, will be available in 2025.

“This will…certainly appeal to more affluent customers who can afford the price point and want something unique and quirky,” said Jessica Caldwell, head of insights at Edmunds Automotive Research.

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“This is not a large segment of the population that can afford that especially when the interest rates are where they are.”

After Musk estimated in 2019 that the Cybertruck would sell for $40,000, the vehicle attracted more than a million reservation holders who put down a $100 deposit. It did not provide an updated price before Monday, despite rising raw material costs for electric vehicles.

Musk said Thursday that the new deposits amount to $250.

Paul Wattie, an analyst at consulting firm AutoPacific, said the price is not a surprise to many. Watty told Reuters before the event that Cybertruck would work well with a smaller audience.

Huge offer

The Cybertruck, two years behind schedule, is entering the hot pickup market to compete with the likes of Ford (FN) F150 Lightning, Rivian Automotive (RIVN.O) R1T, and General Motors (GM.N)’s Hummer EV.

Rivian’s R1T starts at $73,000, while the F-150 Lightning starts at around $50,000. The larger, more powerful Hummer EV pickup costs more than $96,000.

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The Cybertruck, Tesla’s first new model in nearly four years, is crucial to its reputation as a manufacturer of innovative vehicles. As the company battles declining demand for electric vehicles (EV) and increased competition, the Cybertruck is also key to generating sales, but not to the extent of the company’s full-size Model 3 and Y.

Musk tempered investor expectations for the product last month, citing problems in ramping up production and warning that it would take a year to 18 months to make it a significant contributor to cash flow.

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Ahead of the launch, Musk captured media attention on a different topic, giving a profanity-laced interview with The New York Times on Wednesday. He has cursed advertisers who left his social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, over anti-Semitic comments.

“It’s basically an incredibly useful truck,” he said Thursday of the truck. “It’s not just a cool piece of art like me.”

Unimpressive range

The longer-range version of the Cybertruck can drive an estimated 340 miles (547 km), and comes with a “range extender” or additional battery pack that extends its range to 470 miles.

In 2019, Musk said the truck would be able to travel 500 miles or more on a single charge.

“As a truck, the Ford and Chevy are more useful and certainly easier to see,” said Sam Abu Al-Samid, principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights.

“Given that Teslas almost always underestimate real-world driving (range) estimates by anywhere from 10% to 20%, I wouldn’t expect the longer-range version of the Cybertruck to achieve more than 300 miles on the road.” he said, noting that the Chevrolet Silverado EV is capable of exceeding its rated range of 450 miles.

Musk said Tesla would likely reach a production rate of about 250,000 Turkish Cyber ​​trucks per year in 2025. He did not update that on Thursday.

During its 2019 reveal, Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, took a metal ball to show off the truck’s unbreakable “armored glass” window, but smashed it.

On Thursday, Holzhausen threw a baseball into the window of the Cybertruck, which bounced off.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin and Abhiroob Roy in San Francisco; Preparing by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin) Writing by Sayantani Ghosh. Edited by Bill Berkrot, Peter Henderson and Debba Babington

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Akash reports on US technology companies, electric vehicle companies, and the space industry. His reports typically appear in the Automotive, Transportation, and Technology sections. He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Conflict, Development and Security from the University of Leeds. Akash’s interests include music, football and Formula 1.

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