After a wait of almost four years, development of the Tesla Cybertruck seems to have reached the finish line, with only weeks remaining until the start of initial deliveries – assuming Tesla sticks to the late Q3 timeline announced earlier this year.
Yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted a photo of a "production candidate" Cybertruck after driving it, labelling the vehicle as the company's "best product ever."
However, that doesn't mean Tesla can rest on its laurels – quite the contrary. The Cybertruck Owners Club caught wind of an internal email from Elon Musk to Tesla employees in which the executive demands the manufacturing team to pay extra attention to the Cybertruck's fit and finish and ensure high standards of quality.
The CEO mentioned panel gaps in particular, noting that tolerances "need be specified in single digit microns." Here's the email in full.
"Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb.
All parts for this vehicle, whether internal or from suppliers, need to be designed and built to sub 10 micron accuracy.
That means all part dimensions need to be to the third decimal place in millimeters and tolerances need be specified in single digit microns. If LEGO and soda cans, which are very low cost, can do this, so can we.
Precision predicates perfectionism.
Many people from Tesla's Giga Texas team will probably lose sleep over this email, as the EV maker is known for the issues it has with panel gaps and panel alignment on its vehicles.
The manufacturing team and suppliers' jobs will likely not be made easier by the Cybertruck's unique body shape with mostly straight edges, stainless steel finish, and origami-like structure.
Even the Tesla Cybertruck "production candidate" vehicle Musk drove seemed to have some panel gap issues. Look closely at the gap between the driver's door and the wing/fender in the above image, as well as the misalignment of the front panel with the headlight above it.
What's particularly interesting about Musk's email is the comparison with LEGO products and soda cans, which have very low tolerances despite being very cheap products. But can you actually compare plastic-moulded bricks with giga casting machines and other complex manufacturing methods required by the Tesla Cybertruck?