After analysing a barrage of spy videos and close-up snapshots of near-production Tesla Cybertruck prototypes and release candidates, it was pretty clear that its build quality was awful.

Even the late-stage prototypes had glaring panel gaps, ill-fitting wing/fender flares, and misaligned elements all around. But Tesla showcased on Friday, 10 November 2023, what appeared to be a production-ready Cybertruck in New York City during the Annual Barron Conference. And it looked a whole lot better.

The Cybertruck popped up at the Lincoln Center in the Upper West Side neighbourhood of Manhattan. Why was it there? Well, billionaire investor Ron Baron owns about 17.5 million Tesla shares, according to some reports – so no shocker that the snazzy EV was on display outside his event venue. 

However, the quality of the model showcased seemed to have caught fans and attendees off-guard, as far as Twitter reactions are concerned.

 

Just last week, we reported the flaws observed on a late-stage matt-black prototype in Southern California. Panel gaps on that truck were large enough for a finger to stick through, the seam where the A-pillar met the nose had a visible overlap, the wing/fender flares were misaligned, and sections of the rear light bar were uneven. It was a laundry list of inconsistencies. Most of these flaws were absent in the version showcased in New York City.

After taking a closer look at the recent pictures, you can spot a gap where the panel under the DRL merges onto the side. But it's more of a nitpicky detail, and probably not a big deal like the mess we saw before.

After CEO Elon Musk drove a production candidate with panel gap issues early this year, he noted down quality goals in an email to his employees. “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,” Musk told his employees, as per the leaked email. “All parts for this vehicle, whether internal or from suppliers, need to be designed and built to sub-10-micron accuracy,” he urged.

So, is the recent sighting a sign of getting close to that sub-10-micron accuracy? Well, probably not, and that’s a tough one to call. However, it indicates that Tesla is able to improve the quality to near perfection and tackle the challenges emerging from putting together an EV with stainless steel body panels and complex manufacturing techniques.

And that begs another question, will the hundreds of thousands of Cybertrucks that the brand intends to produce look as sharp as the model showcased in New York City? Only time will tell.