Home » The Tesla Cybertruck Is Going To Be So Hard To Build

The Tesla Cybertruck Is Going To Be So Hard To Build

Tesla Cybertruck Tmd
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It’s hard not to write about the Cybertruck because the Tesla Cybertruck is a wild, audacious vehicle. The 2024 Toyota Tacoma that we just reviewed may be a huge improvement over previous Tacomas, but it looks and acts like a truck, and building it shouldn’t be a challenge for Toyota. The same cannot be said for the Cybertruck.

As with many Tesla projects, the Cybertruck has been omnipresent in our minds without actually being omnipresent in our streets. In fact, it’s rare to see one in person. That may continue as the building of it is gonna be a challenge, as CEO Elon Musk himself has admitted. But just how bad will it be?

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

And speaking of Musk, Tesla may have dodged most of an NRLB complaint over some firings.

Finally, Lotus Tech now has the financing in place to go public and raise more money for its EV dreams whereas Toyota is going to let go of some of DENSO so it can continue to fund electric cars.

A Roundup Of All The Ways The Cybertruck Can Go Wrong

TeslacybertruckIt would be really great if Musk was just an even remotely normal person or, at least, if he was just a weird person who doesn’t amplify stuff so antisemitic he seemingly has to go to a warzone in Israel to try to deflect from just how odious he’s gotten on the platform he himself owns.

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I say that because you can’t entirely divorce the creation from the creator (I will never be able to dance to “Ignition (Remix)” again, for instance), and the same spirit that defines his desire to buck the status quo in the automotive world seems increasingly inseparable from his embracing of the absolute worst trolls online and their weirdo beliefs.

Cognitive dissonance is not, unfortunately, uncommon in successful people, which is why the Bloomberg piece this morning that runs through all the ways the Cybertruck could go wrong is so interesting.

Central to the issue is the fact that it’s very much like the original concept and is therefore made of huge stainless steel panels. Fitting these together neatly and cleanly to the spec that Musk wants is a huge potential challenge as we’ve seen. Musk commented on this in his 3rd Quarter Earnings call, saying:

[T]his difficulty going from a prototype to volume production is like 10,000% harder to get to volume production than to make the prototype in the first place. And then it is even harder than that to reach positive cash flow. That is why there have not been new car start-ups that have been successful for 100 years apart from Tesla. So, I just want to temper expectations for Cybertruck.

It’s a great product, but financially, it will take, I don’t know, a year to 18 months before it is a significant positive cash flow contributor. I wish there was some way for that to be different, but that’s my best guess.

I mean, there have been plenty of successful car startups in the last 100 years, including most of the Japanese car industry, but I get his point. VinFast tried to make fairly straightforward electric cars and had a rough go of it.

But it’s not the details concerning the construction issues, the weird choices, or even the huge battery pack that caught my eye (though, read the piece, they’re important). It’s that the Bloomberg piece is full of Musk basically saying this is going to be super hard and maybe a mistake and includes this great quote from the archives:

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In these respects and others, the Cybertruck will be a big step backward from how Tesla has progressed in its approach to carmaking. The last vehicle Musk spoke about the way he’s described the Cybertruck was the Model X, the sport utility vehicle that’s never reached high volumes because of what its chief executive described on several occasions as hubris.

“Model X became kind of like a technology bandwagon of every cool thing we could imagine all at once,” Musk said of the SUV in May 2017. “That is a terrible strategy. You really want to start off simple and add things over time.”

Emphasis on simplicity and designing for ease of manufacturing served Tesla well with its next product, the Model 3 sedan, and the smash-hit Model Y SUV that followed. The two were the first electric vehicles to break into the mainstream, making Tesla far and away the most valuable automaker and its CEO the world’s wealthiest man.

David saw the production Cybertruck up close and it looked better than the pre-production one we saw, but it does beg the question: Is making something this difficult and polarizing a key to the company’s success or is this just the sign of a person who cannot stop himself and cannot be stopped by anyone else?

NRLB Decides Tesla Didn’t Fire Workers For Trying To Unionize

Tesla Investor Day Gigafactorytexas 02
Photo: Tesla

I’ve already detailed the ongoing Tesla v Organized labor saga and the latest twist is that Tesla, while it did violate some other regulations, isn’t likely to get in trouble for firing workers who recently organized.

From Bloomberg again:

A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board has dismissed a case against Tesla filed by the Workers United union in February, Kayla Blado, a spokesperson for the agency, said by email Monday.

Workers United had said Tesla fired a group of employees in Buffalo, New York, who were working on the carmaker’s Autopilot feature the day after some workers announced a union campaign. The union framed the dismissals as retaliation against organizing efforts.

Tesla did get cited for violating other labor laws, including a ban on making audio recordings at work. An NLRB judge is going to have to sort that one out.

Would You Like To Own A Small Part Of Lotus?

Sh02004 016 Lotus Alpha 34rear Comp09 Rbn Finalart LotusYou may not be able to afford a new Lotus, but Lotus Technology is now ready to go public and it’s quite the mix of companies involved.

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Lemme see if I’m getting this right: Lotus Technology is the sub-brand of Lotus Group, itself backed by Chinese automaker Geely, and it will do a SPAC via blank check company L Catterton Asia Acquisition, which was formed by L Catterton, which itself is an investment firm that is backed by LVMH Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey.

That’s a lot of brands. What’s the point of all of this?

Per Reuters:

The funds will be used to further advance development of “next-generation automobility technologies, promote product innovation, support the company’s expansion of its global distribution network, and for general corporate purposes”, the statement showed.

Sweet.

Would You Like To Own A Small Part Of DENSO?

Denso Wec CarYou may only know DENSO as the brand that often appears on Toyota sports cars around the world, but it’s actually one of the major suppliers of the auto industry and is owned partially by Toyota.

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Toyota’s reportedly planning to sell abut $4.7 billion worth of the company. Why? Again from Reuters, who got the scoop:

At $4.7 billion, it would be the second-biggest such share offering in Japan this year, after the more than $9 billion sale of shares in Japan Post Bank (7182.T) in March, according to LSEG data.

It would also be the biggest share offering in the auto industry in more than a decade, highlighting the stakes involved in the pivot to battery electrics.

This is, as the article points out, part of a larger trend of Japanese companies trying to untangle their multiple joint ventures just a bit and raise some cash.

The Big Question

Let’s take a break from all the Tesla and talk about what’s really important: What is the most important Toyota livery of all time and why is it the Ivan “Ironman” Stewart red-yellow-orange?

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Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
4 months ago

Best Toyota livery: mid-90s Castrol Celica WRC car, hands down.
https://www.amazon.com/Tamiya-Sports-Building-Castrol-24125/dp/B000LFUA2C

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
4 months ago

I’m so tired of hearing how hard building the Cybertruck is going to be, especially from Tesla management. You don’t hear any well-established maker bitching about how hard it is to fabricate their latest model. It’s so Mickey Mouse. Grow up, Tesla.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
4 months ago
Reply to  Boxing Pistons

It is as if “design for manufacturability” isn’t a thing.

I guess it isn’t a thing when you try to make one dope’s napkin sketch a reality like your job depends on it.

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
4 months ago

It would be really great if Musk was just an even remotely normal person or, at least, if he was just a weird person who doesn’t amplify stuff so antisemitic he seemingly has to go to a warzone in Israel to try to deflect from just how odious he’s gotten on the platform he himself owns.”

Musk lived in apartheid South Africa from 1971, when he was born there, to1989, a time when South Africa and Israel were close allies, including sharing nuclear technology.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93South_Africa_relations

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/may/23/israel-south-africa-nuclear-weapons

Some of the harshest critics of the Israeli government are Israelis and Jews, so a clear differentiation has to be made between the Israeli government and Israelis and Jews. Jews and Israelis should not be blamed categorically for the actions of the Israeli government, and criticizing the Israeli government is not inherently antisemitic. Many Jews do it, including a former Mossad chief:

https://apnews.com/article/israel-apartheid-palestinians-occupation-c8137c9e7f33c2cba7b0b5ac7fa8d115

The tweet Musk endorsed was too generic, referring to Jewish communities (and misspelling communities), but it and Musk inarticulately make a valid point that some Jews support affirmative action, critical race theory, and open migration in the US while also supporting Israeli settlers stealing Palestinian land in the occupied territories, supporting clearly apartheid if not genocidal treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and supporting somewhere between Jim Crow and apartheid treatment of the Palestinian “citizens” outside of the occupied territories.

It would be helpful if Musk endorsed either a proper two-state solution or full citizenship for Palestinians, including those in the occupied territories. Musk hanging out with this guy is not helpful:

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2023-10-11/ty-article/.premium/netanyahu-needed-a-strong-hamas/0000018b-1e9f-d47b-a7fb-bfdfd8f30000

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
4 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

All heartily seconded, but perhaps this is a conversation for some other site. I can’t really sleep well for the last seven (eight?) weeks, so I need a safe space.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
4 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

Bond villain cosplay.

Scott
Scott
4 months ago

I had to google both Ivan Stewart’s livery and ‘billionaire doors’ which probably means I’m out of touch.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
4 months ago

Because of the arcade game, obviously. Or was it rhetorical?

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
4 months ago

“Would You Like To Own LOSE MONEY ON A Small Part Of Lotus?”
There… fixed it for accuracy. And for me, the answer is “no”.

You’re better off investing in Lotus BAKERIES rather than Lotus CARS.
https://simplywall.st/stocks/be/food-beverage-tobacco/ebr-lotb/lotus-bakeries-shares/past#:~:text=Lotus%20Bakeries%20has%20been%20growing,has%20net%20margins%20of%2011.6%25.
https://www.lotusbakeries.com/

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
4 months ago

I’m all Musked out. Get back to me when he builds the world’s largest wooden seaplane.

Or maybe if he puts billionaire doors on that truck thing.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago

How about if he just moves into a hotel suite and sits around naked, injecting heroin and watching old movies all night?

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Don’t threaten me with what sounds like my ideal lifestyle.

Black Peter
Black Peter
4 months ago

Sure the difference between the matte black disaster we saw a few weeks ago and these showroom models is stark, but I’m not convinced. Building 5 even 10 excellent quality vehicles isn’t “production”. Once the 1000th, then 10,000th Cybertruck rolls out looking like this will I think they have cracked it.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
4 months ago
Reply to  Black Peter

I’ve been making this comment everywhere, even on David’s piece. Roped off exhibits in showrooms are not production trucks.

Black Peter
Black Peter
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Here’s hoping Musk has learned the difference between requesting and achieving quality. Especially the cost associated with it, I’ll be shocked if he makes money on these.

Turbeaux
Turbeaux
4 months ago

The big question reminded me of the GT-ONE that looked pretty cool in real life, but on Gran Turismo 2 reminded me of a scrotum. Maybe it was just 12 year old me, but I felt uncomfortable driving it.

Last edited 4 months ago by Turbeaux
...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
4 months ago

I’m having trouble understanding why Lotus would go public (in a SPAC, no less) when the parent companies are some of the largest in the world. Without more information, it seems to me that they just wanna fuck around with other people’s money on goofy stuff w/o affecting their own stock price.

What am I missing here?

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
4 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

nothing, I think you nailed it

Sklooner
Sklooner
4 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

They finance the speculative with outside money, isolating themselves from when/if it goes south

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
4 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

My guess is that capital in general has gotten hard to get ahold of the last year or so, and doubly so in China with their economic problems. So, Geely’s probably looking at ways to beef up their capital reserves across subsidiaries. Volvo had a large offering in 2021 and Polestar went public then as well, so they’re probably not good candidates for raising more cash. That leaves Lotus.

Torque
Torque
4 months ago
Reply to  Defenestrator

A recession was predicted for 2022, 2023 and now 2024, I agree with your assessment, i.e. leadership at Lotus wants to raise cash to avoid paying out of their own super deep pockets And possibly to see what kind of ‘brand’ rep. of ‘Lotus’ itself they can rely on to raise cash. Who knows it could be a way to ‘test the waters’ to sell Lotus

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
4 months ago

I was a Tesla bull and investor since 2013. I pulled everything out earlier this year, when he just would NOT stfu about things, and I just watched my investment tank, then tank again, then tank again.

I get that Tesla is not just Musk, but like it or not most people will associate them with each other, and honestly I really like the cars, but there’s no way I’d ever own one anymore. I use to look up to that guy because he loved memes and 42069 and stuff, but … twitter will be his downfall.

https://media.tenor.com/qFgvE9tUHL0AAAAd/letterkenny.gif

Aaron
Aaron
4 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

I get that Tesla is not just Musk

To a large extent, it is. PR and Marketing were slashed and replaced with Musk’s wannabe Tony Stark cult of personality. He retains a larger (and growing) direct influence on operations than most corporate executives. While there’s tons of very smart people designing and running things (the bits that work, at least), Tesla is Elon in an even greater sense than Apple was Steve Jobs post during the iPod/iPhone era.

Elons Backdoor Musk
Elons Backdoor Musk
4 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Tesla is 95% Musk, 5% products.

If he were in a airplane crash tomorrow, Tesla stock would come crashing down.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
4 months ago

Look, I’m with you on Musk/Tesla, but I will never give up the remix to Ignition (toot toot!).

Newcarpetsmell
Newcarpetsmell
4 months ago

The MK3 Supra Group A livery only because they actually rallied a MK3 Supra.

AssMatt
AssMatt
4 months ago

For me, the cognitive dissonance is an alcohol company owning a car company. Maybe that’s the way to have that “spirited drive” I keep hearing about.

Citrus
Citrus
4 months ago

As someone who enjoyed Sega Rally Championship, Castrol Celica.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
4 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

I mean yes, but that’s more of a Castrol livery than a Toyota one, no?

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
4 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

It has “Toyota” clearly visible at least once on each side, so I give it a pass.

(No, it doesn’t have to do with the fact that Carlos Sainz Sr. was a badass… maybe,,,)

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
4 months ago

I have a 1/10th tamiya RC version of the WRC Castrol Celica, I adore that livery.

Citrus
Citrus
4 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

From what I can tell Castrol does fairly different things depending on the car. Toyota seems to be the only brand to go mostly white with green and red swoops.

Even then it’s kind of like the JPS Lotus. It’s still iconic on that car.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
4 months ago

Most important Toyota racing livery? The Repsol WRC livery

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
4 months ago

I hear you, and respect your opinion. However The Castrol/Tom’s Supra is the only answer legally allowed. All other answers will result in being blacklisted from Toyotathon.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
4 months ago

Oh fine, banish us to Happy Honda Days,.. sheesh.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
4 months ago

We’re not trying to be cruel! You’ll just have to go December to Remember.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
4 months ago

Nope, December to Remember is Lexus, which is Toyota–adjacent.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
4 months ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

It’s Toyota Lutheranism. You’re still in God’s House, but the drapes are wrong, and Toyota Hell awaits.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
4 months ago

Get ready. Mr. Opportunity is back…and he’s knocking.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
4 months ago

I can’t believe they let that guy out of prison.

Strangek
Strangek
4 months ago

You can’t blacklist people this close to Truck Month, that’s just cruel.

Data
Data
4 months ago
Reply to  Strangek

I have come to the conclusion that truck month is every month. Not unlike in the future when all restaurants are Taco Bell.

Torque
Torque
4 months ago
Reply to  Strangek

It’s hard to believe ‘Truck-sember part II electric bugaboo’ starts tomorrow

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
4 months ago

Pikes Peak Tacoma

Last edited 4 months ago by Taco Shackleford
Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
4 months ago

When your nerd side overcomes your car side: Imagining a Toyota with Anson Mount’s hair.

Data
Data
4 months ago

It’s Johnny Bravo’s hair.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
4 months ago

The Castrol Supra and Celica are a good fight for the iron man trucks.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
4 months ago

All Tesla had to do was make a 3 or S with a pickup bed “Teslamino” or something. Just a regular truck that happens to be a Tesla, or merely a Tesla with a pickup body. That shit would print money like no other.

Outofstep
Outofstep
4 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Simone Giertz did it. She called it Truckla

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKv_N0IDS2A

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
4 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

I enjoyed that build. It certainly underlined how important it is to install cross bracing before cutting—even when the vehicle is touted as having greater than usual torsional rigidity.

Angel "the Cobra" Martin
Angel "the Cobra" Martin
4 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Agreed. A bench seat small Chevy Bolt/Model 3 pickup would absolutely kill. I have vendors who deliver and they all use small pickups and drive about 60 miles a day. One of them just bought a Maverick Hybrid and I’m sure they would have gone for a EV Camino.

Tbird
Tbird
4 months ago

Ahh yes, why are they all so damn BIG. An 80’s S10/Ranger/Hardbody/Toyota would more than meet all my (non-towing) needs.

Last edited 4 months ago by Tbird
DadBod
DadBod
4 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Try a minivan with all the seats removed. Unless you haul stuff that can’t be loaded laterally, it’s pretty much the perfect small truck. 4×8 sheet goods fit.

Last edited 4 months ago by DadBod
Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

I knew somebody who did that- his Tacoma was getting to hard for him to climb up into, so he traded it for a Caravan. Removed the back seats and put a sheet of plywood on the floor and used it pretty much the same way he used the pickup

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

With the benefit of theft/weather protection!

D-dub
D-dub
4 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

I have an 18 year old Kia Sedona that I use this way. One of its many many dump runs was to throw away its own seats. It’s a hell of a hauler for almost no money.

Last edited 4 months ago by D-dub
DadBod
DadBod
4 months ago
Reply to  D-dub

totally, I hauled the debris from a kitchen and two bathroom remodels in an Odyssey

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
4 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Me too! And got all the materials home from the store in it. I suspect most pickup owners have to get their sheetrock delivered.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Minivans are great! Just the other day I hauled home two passengers, a weekend’s worth of stuff, a cooler and a heavy used clothes washer in my Mazda5.

Had I needed to I could have put three bikes on the folding bikerack and even more stuff on the roof.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
4 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

If you’re not hauling dirty or super heavy things or tall things there’s no question minivans are a great alternative to a pickup. Covered storage and a low load floor are very nice features.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

BuT ThAt’S wHaT MiDdLe AgEd MoMs DrIvE!!

Or something like that.

D-dub
D-dub
4 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

I DO haul dirty and super heavy things in my minivan. That’s its only purpose, it retired from passenger duty a decade ago.

Tbird
Tbird
4 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Roof racks and a small trailer have worked for me so far. Agree minivans are cavernous inside, I have rented a few times for road trips. Dad always had station wagons and they were great.

Last edited 4 months ago by Tbird
Torque
Torque
4 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Once upon a time…
My dad picked up a corvair engine and transported it in the trunk of a 1978 Olds 98 Regency and we were even able to close (latch) the trunk!

Torque
Torque
4 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Have an old Sienna and yes we laughingly refer to it as our ‘truck’.
It’s made many a haul to the dump/recycling center/HD/Lowes/Menards

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
4 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

And a wagon. Literally every model 3 owner I know wishes it was a wagon for their dogs and stuff.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
4 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

That’s exactly why my friend bought the Y.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
4 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

I think that’s basically what the production cybertruck is. An existing platform with a different body slapped on it. See: the gigantic bulge hanging below the rear bumper.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
4 months ago
Drew
Drew
4 months ago

I’d like to take a contrarian position related to the big question, but it’s really too iconic to argue against. It’s recognizable, it’s simple, and it’s great.

I had to look up Toyota liveries to try to find another one that could compete, and nothing else really can. I like some of them, but they just aren’t as important or iconic.

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