Much has been written about the Tesla Cybertruck since it was first unveiled as a prototype in December 2019. Last week was the launch of the production version and, as expected, media coverage has been soaring.

This truck is definitely a big change in many respects. Its bold design, features, solutions and positioning make it one of this year's most important revelations.

But what is its real impact on Tesla's sales volumes and global markets?

A 'crazy' vehicle

The Cybertruck is probably Tesla's most capable vehicle. The specifications of this pick-up truck are crazy in every respect. It is another example of what Elon Musk's company can do. Thanks to the brilliant performance of its cars' batteries and software, Tesla has managed to shake up not only the most important electric vehicle markets, but also the industry in general. The Cybertruck is confirmation of this trend.

Tesla Cybertruck competitiveness - graphic

With an entry price of $61,000, we are talking about a high-end vehicle. The price is a far cry from the $40,000 promised by Musk four years ago and is the result of inflation and real production challenges. Nevertheless, it is a competitive base price for a vehicle with these characteristics. The volume-weighted average retail price of electric pick-up trucks sold in the US between January and September 2023 was $82,835.

US competition

On the other hand, the cheapest Cybertruck, called Rear-Wheel Drive and to be available in 2025, costs almost $21,000 more than the more affordable Ford F-150 Lightning, the electric version of this popular pick-up.

The more expensive Cybertruck, properly called the Cyberbeast, has 845 bhp and can travel up to 320 miles (515 km) on a single charge. Its price: $100,000. In this case, it is cheaper than its nearest rival, the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, with 1,000 bhp and a range of 381 miles (613 km) at $108,700.

Electric vehicle market struggles in the USA - graphic

Therefore, the new Tesla seems quite competitive with its rivals in the US. It is expected that it will only succeed in grabbing a major slice of the popular pick-up truck market if consumer reluctance to drive electric ends.

Between January and October 2023, a total of 959,000 new light electric vehicles were sold in the US. Although this is a solid 60% increase over the same period in 2022, these vehicles only accounted for 7.4% of the total market. BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) collected 15% of the European total and about 20% in China.

America cold on electric

The electric pick-up truck segment is still rather unpopular. Their sales accounted for less than 3% of the BEV total until October. The F-150 Lightning sold only 16,200 units in the first 10 months, according to JATO Dynamics. While electric vehicles accounted for almost 9% of total SUV sales, electric pick-ups accounted for 1.2% of the segment's total.

Will the Cybertruck turn the focus towards electric 'trucks'? I am sure it will. However, the pick-up culture in America is as strong as its link to petrol. Changing this will require a different approach. Moreover, consumers may prove more difficult to convince than in other segments.

Average retail price of pickup trucks sold in USA H1 2023 - graphic

Tesla's intentions may be further challenged by the fact that the Cybertruck does not have the global potential of its siblings. Huge pick-ups are only popular in the United States and Canada.

Will the Cybertruck revolutionise this state of affairs as well?

The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.