During the announcement of the fourth-quarter results for Tesla, Elon Musk said that the company won’t be launching any new models this year due to the semiconductor shortage, which means there will be no Cybertruck before 2023. He also revealed that the $25,000 Tesla project is not something they are working on at the moment and that he expects full self-driving capability in Teslas to be offered in 2022.
No New Teslas In 2022
More specifically, as reported by CNBC, Musk said that even if they had introduced a new car last year, the total vehicle output would have been the same because of the constraints caused by the chip shortage, concluding that “We will not be introducing new vehicles this year. It would not make any sense”.
Musk confirmed that Tesla is continuing the development of the Cybertruck, the Semi, and the Roadster, but before any debuts, they are focused on increasing capacity at their current factories (California, US / Shanghai, China) while starting production in new their new premises (Texas, US / Berlin, Germany). They will also optimize the use of semiconductors since there is a limited supply of chips that operate basic vehicle functions (like electric seats and electric windows) while continuing the development of the Tesla robot that will be called the “Optimus”.
The Cybertruck was introduced in concept form back in November 2019 with production initially planned for 2021 and a targeted starting price of $39,900. The latest reports are suggesting a delayed market launch in the first quarter of 2023 which sounds more in line with Tesla’s new strategy. While Musk didn’t go into specifics, he said that a new product launch is dependent on when Tesla will be able to produce more vehicles.
Speaking about the upcoming electric pickup, Musk said that they are struggling to make it affordable with all the technology it incorporates: “There’s a lot of new technology in the Cybertruck that will take some time to work through. And there’s the question of what’s the average cost of Cybertruck and to what degree that is affordable.”
Rivals of the Cybertruck including the Ford F-150 Lightning and the GMC Hummer EV are already available for sale, while the Chevrolet Silverado EV is coming next year. Tesla hopes to be able to achieve a production volume of 250,000 Cybertrucks per year eventually.
Compact EV Project On Hold
As for the much anticipated $25,000 Tesla that was officially announced back in 2020, Musk revealed that this project is currently on hold: “We’re not currently working on the $25,000 car. At some point, we will. We have enough on our plate right now. Too much on our plate, frankly.”
This means that the compact EV won’t be arriving by 2023 as it was estimated by Tesla’s CEO in his initial – and quite optimistic – statement two years ago. The “baby Tesla” would make a direct rival to the Nissan Leaf and the VW ID.3, reportedly offering more range at a lower entry price.
Autonomous Tech Comes Into Focus
While Tesla won’t be launching new products soon, Musk suggested that the autonomous driving technology that is still under development will help increase sales and meet the optimistic volume targets with the existing range. Musk suggested that Tesla vehicles will have full self-driving capability in 2022: “I would be shocked if we do not achieve full self-driving, safer-than-human this year”. In this context, he said that robotaxis will reduce transportation costs in a better way than a cheaper electric car.
As reported by Automotive News, there are currently nearly 60,000 Tesla owners in the US who use the Full Self-Driving Beta feature. However, the system is still in a testing phase and requires a human driver to sit behind the wheel at all times. While Tesla has been toying with the idea of Level 5 autonomy since 2020, the most advanced system that is currently available in production vehicles is offering Level 3 autonomy and comes from Mercedes-Benz.