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Tesla Cybertruck preorders 'well over half a million,' Elon Musk says

Musk says Tesla has so many Cybertruck preorders he stopped counting. He also hints at a smaller derivative that may be "kinda like a tight Wolverine package."

Tesla Cybertruck reveal on stage
Tesla's Cybertruck is expected to hit streets in late 2021.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Since the window crack heard 'round the world on the evening the Tesla Cybertruck was revealed on Nov. 24, we haven't heard much about the company's forthcoming rule-breaking electric pickup truck. At Tesla Battery Day on Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk didn't delve into the current state of the truck's development or its production timeline deeply, but he did reveal some interesting tidbits about the forthcoming model, including ballparking customer demand and discussing potential future model derivatives and technologies.

In particular, Musk touched on how many reservations for the angular, iconoclastic full-size truck are on the books at Tesla. When an audience member asked Musk about estimated annual production volume, he replied, "It's hard to say what the volume exactly would be for the Tesla Cybertruck. The orders are gigantic, so, we have like, I don't know, well over half a million orders. I think maybe six-hundred thou -- it's a lot, basically. We stopped counting." The Cybertruck is slated to be built at the company's forthcoming Austin Gigafactory, a decision that was announced in June.

The figure that Musk started to utter -- 600,000 preorders -- echoes that of an unofficial, third-party estimate floated back in March that was based on little more than a crowdsourced list. On Nov. 29, 2019, Musk hinted on Twitter that the Cybertruck already had 250,000 reservations.

Musk went on to say that he thinks there could be a market for 250,000 to 300,000 Cybertruck units per year. Given Musk's penchant for outlandish proclamations, that figure seems like a remarkably restrained answer, particularly in the context of industry leader Ford selling nearly 900,000 F-Series pickups in 2019 alone.

It's important to note that that Musk's half-million-plus estimate is for preorders -- essentially the number of hand-raisers who have paid a $100 fully refundable deposit for a place in line. The're not firm orders.

Musk also reiterated that the Cybertruck is designed explicitly for US consumers, which jibes with what we've seen so far -- the Cybertruck is simply too big a vehicle to appeal in most other countries. In fact, Elon said the Cybertruck as it stands couldn't be designed to meet global requirements. "You basically can't make the Cybertruck [for other markets]. It's impossible," he said. 

Musk went on to say, "I think we will probably make an international version of the Cybertruck that will be kinda smaller, kinda like a tight Wolverine package." He did not offer any production timeline for this potential smaller model, or other details like a price or performance estimates. Musk's statement echoes earlier reports about a potential smaller pickup.

When another audience member asked if Tesla might find a way to deliver HVAC to the rear area of the Cybertruck for camping purposes, Musk said, "We'll try to do that, yeah." 

The Tesla Cybertruck is due to enter production in late 2021.

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