Skip to main content

The Tesla Cybertruck is still a complete mess, not production-ready (and won’t be any time soon) says Musk

The long wait for the Tesla Cybertruck continues

Tesla Cybertruck parked indoors in front of a black wall with headlights and taillights on.
Tesla / Tesla

When it was announced back in 2019, the Tesla Cybertruck promised an awful lot. It was going to have more towing capacity than anything a 7-liter diesel engine could hope to produce. Its windows were bulletproof. Its 0-60 times would put most historic supercars to shame. And it would be all yours for less than $40,000.

Now, four years on and over two years past the original intended production date, many people are wondering what happened. One of those people seems to be Tesla CEO and self-professed Twit Elon Musk.

The initial cracks started to show, quite literally, shortly after the truck was unveiled to the world. Two of the vehicle’s supposedly armored windows shattered when a steel ball was lobbed at them. That was the first promise to fall through, and others would tumble as time went on. The initially competitive price was significantly hiked as production reality set in, and a global semiconductor drove up costs across the board. And then there are the delays.

The initial 2021 production date was shoved back to “late 2022,” which then became “late 2023.” Now, as we enter “late 2023,” history seems to be repeating itself, and the truck’s production date has once again been pushed back a year. Some enthusiasts slapped down a pre-order on the polygonal vehicle way back in 2019, and many of those who stuck by their pre-orders may now be feeling the frustration. That frustration is shared by Cybertruck’s biggest backer and a man who usually doesn’t respond well to criticism of his ideas.

tesla cybertruck
Tesla / Tesla

Elon Musk is not a fan of the Cybertruck

Elon Musk — a man who once reacted so badly to a suggestion a submarine he commissioned couldn’t fit through a cave that was too narrow for divers wearing oxygen tanks that it ended in a lawsuit — thinks the truck he has spent four years hyping up is awful. Or its current prototype is anyway.

According to an internal email first seen on the enthusiastically named “Cybertruck Owners Club” forum, Tesla’s CEO has serious concerns about the heavily promoted vehicle’s build quality. The email, which was addressed to “everybody,” opens with Musk saying, “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.”

The billionaire goes on to demand that all parts for the vehicle be “designed and built with a sub 10 micron accuracy,” before highlighting that both LEGO and soda can manufacturers have achieved such a feat with their respective products. He then signs the email off with “precision predicates perfection.”

For the sake of fairness, it’s important to point out that this is an anonymous leak on an internet forum and has not been confirmed by either Musk himself or Tesla. However, Musk did confirm on X (formerly Twitter) that he was testing a “production candidate” for the Cybertruck back in August 2023. Both leaked and official photos of the electric truck also seem to show the inconsistent paneling Musk alluded to in the email — which adds further credibility to the leak.

None of this is new

While it’s possible to spin this as a hands-on CEO ensuring the non-existent product his company is most closely associated with is perfect before it lands in the hands of his customers — there’s a little more to it than that.

Cybertruck delays are pretty much expected at this point. As soon as the production date nears, everyone is suddenly waiting for “late next year.” It’s become the automotive equivalent of the Spanish term mañana. Technically it’s a promise that it will happen tomorrow, but tomorrow ultimately never comes.

The build quality issues aren’t a shock either, especially when they relate to the vehicle’s bodywork. In recent years, Tesla has faced many accusations of shoddy workmanship. While you may argue that all modern vehicles should be of decent quality, it is fair to expect precision from a company like Tesla. If the company positions itself as a supplier of cutting-edge luxury vehicles that sometimes retail for six figures, that’s what customers should receive.

But multiple sources, with video evidence, demonstrate that is not the case. Model Ys have been sold with objectively shoddy bodywork. Panels don’t line up, and in some cases, the color of the panels doesn’t match. Which is somewhat of an achievement when the car in question is white.

While it’s understandable that Musk may want a vehicle he has spent the last four years enthusiastically promoting to be as perfect as possible before its eventual release, you would think Tesla would take the time to ensure vehicles that are currently arriving on customers’ driveways at least get the basics right.

Given the delays, the Cybertruck may be an improvement and may indeed be a class leader. But since its announcement, plenty of competition has emerged in the EV truck market, so there’s an equal chance it won’t be anything special if it’s ever anything at all.

Editors' Recommendations

Dave McQuilling
Dave has spent pretty much his entire career as a journalist; this has included jobs at newspapers, TV stations, on the…
Porsche, TAG Heuer team up for Carrera Chronograph honoring the 911, a timeless classic
A gorgeous timepiece in honor of a true classic
TAG Heuer Porsche watches on wheel

There are fewer sports cars as iconic and persistent as the Porsche 911. Performance has improved, and some features like natural aspiration and air cooling have gone the way of the dinosaurs -- but at its core (and in its styling), the 911 is pretty much the same rear engine beauty that Porsche unveiled back in September 1963. It is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, as is a much-loved piece of chronography -- the TAG Heuer Carrera.

So it’s only fitting that TAG Heuer, an equally iconic Swiss watchmaker with strong racing links, has partnered up with Porsche to commemorate the German company’s flagship motor. The “Carrera Chronosprint x Porsche” is a beautiful chronograph and a fantastic bit of engineering. Its styling manages to cram in more references to the 911’s 60-year history than we can count without looking garish or overstated.

Read more
BMW, Mercedes Benz offer competing visions of our EV future
BMW is aiming high while Mercedes Benz is becoming more approachable
BMW Neue Klasse driving

Mercedes and BMW seem to have an awful lot in common. They’re both German automotive manufacturers, both companies have traditionally produced luxury vehicles, and like many manufacturers, they both believe the future is electric. But if you dig into that last point, things start to diverge.

It’s fair to say that BMW and Mercedes have different viewpoints on where exactly electric vehicles are, or at least should be, heading. Despite its long-standing luxury status, Mercedes is taking the accessibility route when it comes to EV production. The Stuttgart-based company believes that producing affordable electric cars and the increased uptake that comes with a lower price point is the secret to success when it comes to BEVs.

Read more
Get far, far off the beaten path with the best off-road vehicles on sale
Tackle your adventurous bucket list with a seriously capable off-roader
Land Rover Defender 2 driving

When spring rolls around, countless people welcome the warmer weather by planning some outdoor off-road adventures. Or, if you're the type of person who loves the cold, then you're probably waiting for the leaves to turn and the temperatures to drop so you can plan fall or winter wilderness trips, as nothing's prettier than trees covered with a fresh blanket of snow. In addition to helping you reconnect with nature — via your favorite day hikes or camping in the best U.S. national parks — off-roading is a great way to unwind.

No matter which season is your favorite, off-roading continues to be remarkably popular, and automakers have responded by offering a range of capable off-roaders. Whether it’s a luxurious SUV or a compact pickup truck, there are tons of good off-roading vehicles to choose from today. If you want to explore far, far off the beaten path, these are the best off-road vehicles worth taking a look at before your next adventure.

Read more