Tesla Cybertruck makes production difficult

Tesla Cybertruck makes production difficult

Tesla Cybertruck Starlink Mobility

  • Tesla recently announced a November 30 delivery date for its much-anticipated Cybertruck.
  • However, Elon Musk said to “temper expectations” of the launch.
  • One issue is the Cybertruck’s design, which experts have said will pose manufacturing challenges.

Nearly four years after it was first unveiled, the Tesla Cybertruck finally got a release date on Wednesday: delivery launch is set for November 30.

And yet, after hundreds of thousands of customers have been stuck in pre-order limbo since the truck’s reveal, Tesla CEO Elon Musk still warned, in a recent earnings call with investors, that he wanted to “temper expectations” and “enormous challenges” lie ahead for production.

Musk pointed to the unique design of the vehicle, which he said is packed with “a lot of new technology,” that makes manufacturing the Cybertruck at high volumes an immense challenge.

“It does require effort to design a prototype. But the difficulty of 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,” Musk said in the call. “And then it is even harder than that to reach positive cash flow.”

“I mean we dug our own grave with Cybertruck,” he said in the earnings call.

What makes the truck unique — its angular design and stainless steel body — is a large part of the problem, Musk and experts have said.

In a leaked company email dated August and published by CNBC, Musk wrote that the Cybertruck’s design with “bright metal with mostly straight edges” makes “any dimensional variation” appear “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,” he wrote. “That means all part dimensions need to be to the third decimal place in millimeters and tolerances need be specified in single-digit microns.

Adrian Clarke, a car designer and writer for The Autopian, told Fast Company that Musk’s expectation may be “infeasible for production” considering how car manufacturers typically have a whole millimeter to allow for variances in body panels.

Clarke also added that Musk needs to consider the thermal expansion and contraction of the truck during the manufacturing process and use of the vehicle, according to the report.

The truck’s stainless steel body presents another challenge for manufacturing.

Raj Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, told Wired that the material does not provide as much flexibility, which is critical for vehicles during an accident and will require special welding techniques.

Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

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