Elon Musk appeared at Tesla‘s Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, on Thursday to unveil the long-awaited Cybertruck, first teased in a disastrous 2019 demo that left the prototype with two shattered windows. And while nothing broke during this launch, which was broadcast live on X (formerly Twitter), it nonetheless drew mixed reviews from Tesla customers, with some disappointed by higher prices and diminished capabilities compared to the vehicle’s target specs.
The sharp-angled, stainless steel Cybertruck has been a production nightmare for Tesla, bedeviled by design flaws and repeated delays, and few have been finished to date. Musk drove one onto a stage about 25 minutes after the scheduled start time of the hyped event, which saw him hand off several of the vehicles to a select few owners — most of whom had to be shown how to open the passenger door using a button inside the vehicle.
Before the deliveries, Musk gave a brief presentation while standing in the bed of a Cybertruck, awkwardly out of the spotlight and cloaked in darkness. He also had Tesla chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, repeat the armored glass test that went wrong four years ago, except this time Holzhausen weakly tossed a baseball at the windows instead of a metal ball. “I think you could probably have a pro pitcher lob it and it would still work,” Musk claimed, though viewers in a Tesla chat on Discord were unimpressed. “Lame,” wrote one. Musk added that the glass is “is basically rock-proof,” a claim that one Discord user predicted “won’t age well.”
Footage screened at the event included clips of Cybertruck beds getting loaded up heavy equipment and racing a Porsche 911 while towing another. One clip showed the truck’s steel doors pelted with bullets from a Thompson submachine gun. (The windows of the car, rolled down for this demonstration, were apparently not tested in similar fashion.) “If Al Capone showed up with a Tommy gun and emptied the entire magazine into the car door, you would still be alive,” Musk claimed. “I mean, sometimes you get these like, late civilization vibes. You never know, the apocalypse could come along at any moment.”
But Musk, who seemed to be on his best behavior following a profane public outburst over troubles at X on Wednesday, didn’t mention the ranges of the various Cybertruck models or their new prices — which did appear simultaneously on Tesla’s website. The cheapest configuration, previously priced around $40,000, is now almost $61,000, with an estimated range of 250 miles, and won’t be delivered until 2025. The two other models, an all-wheel drive vehicle and the 845-horsepower “Cyberbeast,” will run you about $80,000 and $100,000, respectively, with estimated ranges of 340 and 320 miles, with deliveries supposedly coming next year. (In 2019, the highest-end option was advertised roughly $30,000 cheaper than it is now.)
Tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee was among those to observe that these numbers markedly differed from those given by Musk in earlier phases of development, tweeting that it was “notably the first time that Tesla is straight up not delivering on some of the key specs they promised.” He also commented that “there is a LOT that wasn’t covered in that keynote.”
After several buyers claimed their trucks (it wasn’t clear how many, if any, were Tesla employees, though Musk did appear to know a few of them), the event concluded with no additional fanfare — on the whole, a short and undramatic presentation compared to past Tesla product debuts. In his remarks, Musk stressed that “experts” had called the Cybertruck “impossible,” adding, “I think it’s the most unique thing on the road. And finally, the future will look like the future.”
The rollout seemed to have little immediate effect on Tesla’s stock, which was slightly down as of market close afterward.
“It’s gonna be amazing to see all these cars driving around,” Musk said as the first batch of deliveries concluded. “This is really going to change the look of the roads.” But frustration was palpable on the Discord for Tesla customers. “Gotta love a delivery event where potential customers have more questions than answers,” one complained. “I feel like this event was just an updated version of the reveal event,” another commented, with a third bluntly declaring, “It was shit, and that’s coming from someone who has three on order.”