Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that his company would begin deliveries of the long-delayed Tesla Cybertruck next year. Musk added that the production of the futuristic electric pickup truck would soon be underway.
Musk originally unveiled the Tesla Cybertruck in 2019, during which one of its designers famously threw a metal ball at one of the windows. Instead of showing how tough the windows were, the glass immediately cracked following the stunt. Musk said they would be throwing metal balls at the truck's windows again. Musk said during his company's "Cyber Rodeo" event in Austin, Texas, that customers should expect to receive their orders by next year.
The event was meant to commemorate the completion of Tesla's new factory in the Texan capital. Around 15,000 people were invited to the lavish party, which Musk had billed as the "biggest party on earth." Musk boasted that Tesla's new facility in Austin is as big as three Pentagons combined.
Schools and businesses near the facility closed early so that commuters could avoid traffic congestion created by the event. Among the attendees was actor Harrison Ford. Tesla arranged red, white, and blue cars in a pattern that resembled the Texas flag.
The manufacturing facility is part of Tesla's global development, which also includes a new facility near Berlin. The additional production lines, in combination with an existing facility in Shanghai, are aimed at replicating the company's boom from 2021, when it nearly quadrupled sales to over one million vehicles, significantly surpassing other major automakers.
Tesla's CEO has a track record of promising things that either are significantly delayed or don't come at all, but his timeframe for the Cybertruck is more concrete than the one he told investors in January when he predicted delivery in 2023 was "very probable."
Due to delays in the production of the Cybertruck, competitors have been able to bring fully-electric pickup trucks to market faster, which is one of the most popular types of vehicle in the United States. The Lightning, a battery-powered version of Ford's F-150, is set to start shipping this summer. Rivian's electric truck debuted late last year to acclaim, but the company has struggled to scale up manufacturing, which is a frequent issue for startup auto companies.
Apart from releasing the Cybertruck in 2023, Tesla also aims to release a roadster, a semi-truck, and the first iteration of Optimus, a humanoid robot that Musk claims will be able to do everything humans don't want to do. Musk also claims that Tesla will be releasing an improved version of its self-driving software later in the year.