Electric car maker racks up orders for Cybertruck vehicle only three days after launch, in spite of embarrassing launch gaffe
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said on Sunday that the company’s newly launched Cybertruck electric vehicle had received 200,000 orders, in spite of a mixed reception and an embarrassing launch gaffe.
Cybertruck’s launch late on Thursday made headlines after the vehicle’s windows shattered during an attempt to demonstate their durability.
The vehicle’s unusual appearance also received negative marks from some industry watchers, with more than one noting its similarity to the angular, stainless steel DeLorean sports car of the early 1980s.
Cybertruck is Tesla’s take on the pickup truck, one of the US’ most popular types of vehicle, with vehicle marketplace Edmunds saying that large trucks accounted for 14.4 percent of new US vehicle sales this year up to October, up from 12.6 percent in 2015.
It also gives the company an opportunity to make use of improved battery technology, which makes it more practical to haul heavier loads over long distances.
Tesla has also developed a semi-trailer truck, which it demonstrated in 2017 and plans to begin manufacturing next year.
On Saturday, less than two days after Cybertruck’s launch, Musk said on Twitter that the vehicle had received 146,000 pre-orders, with 42 percent choosing the dual-motor version, 41 percent tri-motor and 17 percent single-motor.
He followed up with a tweet on Sunday sayind “200K”, apparently an update to order numbers.
The orders came in spite of “no advertising and no paid endorsement” for the truck, Musk said.
Buyers are required to make an immediate payment of $100 (£78) for the vehicle, whose selling price starts at $39,900.
Tesla hasn’t indicated when it plans to begin selling the truck, but analysts say manufacture could not begin until the end of 2021 at the earliest.
During the Cybertruck launch, Musk had boasted the vehicle could out-haul a Ford F-150 and out-accelerate a Porsche 911, and said its stainless steel alloy body could fend off bullets and sledgehammers.
But when head of design Franz von Holzhausen threw a metal ball at the truck’s windows, they shattered under the impact.
Musk laughed the gaffe off, saying “We’ll fix it in post”, before being forced to complete his presentation in front of the damaged truck.
He later posted a slow-motion video on Twitter showing von Holzhausen throwing the metal ball at the truck’s windows immediately before the event, with the ball bouncing harmlessly off them.
On Friday Tesla’s share price slumped by 6 percent, reducing Musk’s personal fortune by $768m, according to Forbes.
But the strong Cybertruck pre-orders helped boost Tesla’s shares back up by 4 percent in early trading on Monday.