Innovation

Tesla Cybertruck is outpacing the Model 3 on pre-orders, tracker suggests

Elon Musk's uniquely-shaped truck is soaring.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

The Tesla Cybertruck, the electric vehicle with a striking angular design, may be outpacing the more conventional Tesla Model 3 in terms of pre-release orders.

A tracker created by the Cybertruck Owners Club forum shared an update Tuesday, indicating that the figures suggested Tesla has raked in over 535,000 reservations since its unveiling three months ago on November 21, 2019. The tracker calculates its figures using fan-submitted reservations numbers that run sequentially. The last time Musk shared reservation stats was six days after the reveal, when he declared the company had received over 250,000 pre-orders.

The figures chime with Musk's previous indications, as he said in the company's fourth-quarter 2019 earnings call the company had "never seen this level of demand." The Cybertruck has become a regular feature in memes, and Musk's trips around California in a prototype have circulated on social media.

If the tracker is accurate, it would mean the truck is currently outpacing the Tesla Model 3 sedan in the race for pre-orders. The vehicle was designed to bring Tesla to a mass-market audience, with a starting price of $35,000 far lower than any other vehicle. The vehicle was first unveiled in April 2016, raking up over 232,000 pre-orders in its first week.

Tesla Model 3 on display.Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images News/Getty Images

But while the Model 3 had a strong start on pre-orders, the Cybertruck appears to have outpaced its more mainstream sibling. By August 2017, the month after Model 3 production started, the company had 518,000 total reservations. After cancellations were factored in, that figure had dropped to 455,000 net reservations. Both figures fall below the Cybertruck's potential 535,000 orders.

It's important to note that, while the higher rate may be due to higher demand, there's also a lower upfront financial commitment to reserve the Cybertruck. The Model 3 required a refundable deposit of $1,000, while the Cybertruck lowers that figure to just $100.

The Cybertruck was listed alongside the Model 3 sedan and Model Y compact SUV in the 2016 master plan, described as three vehicles that could bring Tesla to a broader market. A pickup truck makes sense, as Statista shows it's the second most popular vehicle class in the United States. The Ford F-series has also ranked as the country's best-selling vehicle for the past 42 years. But its striking design is a clear break from the likes of the F-series, and Musk declared ahead of the reveal that "I don't care" if it sells in small quantities.

The Cybertruck at the launch.FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

A successful Cybertruck could bring Tesla to more consumers than ever. When the Model 3 entered production in July 2017, Tesla had only delivered around 250,000 cars in its nine years of selling vehicles. The figure now stands at over 900,000. The Model Y is set to enter production in March and the Cybertruck in late 2021, two milestones that will complete Musk's three-part strategy to release mass market vehicles.

High levels of demand would fit with previous comments from Musk. During the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, Musk praised the vehicle's design and highlighted its high demand:

"What's the most bad ass futuristic armored personnel carrier? We wanted it to look like it came out of a sci-fi movie from the future. We've never seen this level of demand. I think we will sell as many as we can make for many years. It's going to be pretty nuts. I think actually the product is better than people realize even. They don't even have enough information to realize the awesomeness of it. It's just great."

Two days after launch, Musk gave some indication about where these pre-orders are going:

  • 17 percent of buyers had ordered the $39,900 model. This is a single-motor rear-wheel drive with over 250 miles of range, over 7,500 pounds of towing capacity, and 0 to 60 mph in less than 6.5 seconds.
  • 42 percent of buyers went for the $49,900 model. This is a dual-motor all-wheel-drive with over 300 miles of range, over 10,000 pounds of towing capacity, and 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds.
  • 41 percent of buyers opted for the $69,900 model. This is a tri-motor all-wheel drive with over 500 miles of range, over 14,000 pounds of towing capacity, and 0 to 60 mph in less than 2.9 seconds.

While the two most popular models will start production in late 2021, the single-motor model is set to hit production in late 2022.

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