Earlier this week, during its Q4 2021 earnings call, Tesla confirmed rumors that the Tesla Cybertruck will not be arriving this year. In fact there won’t be a single new Tesla going on sale in 2022, because of supply chain issues and the fact Musk is really into building robots right now.
Musk also confirmed that this is not good news for the $25K Tesla hatchback. Originally announced for a 2023 launch, and designed to compete in the low-cost EV market, the car now appears to be on hold.
"We're not currently working on the $25,000 car,” Musk said. “We have enough on our plate — too much, really."
While Musk has a reputation of exaggerating Tesla's progress, he probably isn’t wrong on that front. Among the projects Tesla is working on right now are the Cybertruck, the second generation Roadster, the Tesla Semi truck, ongoing upgrades to its Full Self Driving Autopilot, and Musk’s freaky-looking robot (opens in new tab). You know, the one that looks exactly like a human in a morphsuit.
Musk boldly claimed that it's probably the most important product Tesla has in development, stating that it has “the potential to be even more significant than the vehicle business.” We’re a bit skeptical that Tesla can produce a robot that important any time soon, considering how poor humanoid robots have been so far, but we'll see what happens.
From the outside it also looks like Tesla has been struggling to meet demand for some months, with some pretty high delivery estimates. Depending on the model, and the specific configuration, you could be looking at delivery dates any time between March 2022 and January 2023.
March isn’t so bad, but waiting a whole year for your car? That’s a pretty raw deal, and must be quite frustrating for would-be Model X owners.
Tesla’s goal for this year is to focus on boosting its own production capacity. According to Musk, the supply chain issue is so severe that this wouldn’t be possible, had Tesla gone ahead with a 2022 Cybertruck launch. It certainly seems sensible to make sure customers are able to get hold of your existing products before focusing on anything new.
Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel that putting the $25K hatchback on hold is a serious loss. After all, EVs are more expensive than gasoline-powered counterparts, and the arrival of a budget Tesla could have easily spurred other automakers into offering something similar. It would certainly be a lot more immediately-useful than a robot.