Tesla opens reservations for Cybertrucks in China

Customers can reserve a vehicle for Dh517, with manufacturing due to start late next year

Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of Tesla, unveiled Cybertruck in November, last year. AFP
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Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla opened up reservations for its all-electric Cybertruck – not expected to go into production until late 2021 – in China for 1,000 Chinese yuan (Dh517.50).

Unveiled in November last year, the unconventional-looking vehicle marks the company's first foray into pick-up trucks, a market dominated by Detroit car makers Ford and General Motors.

“The top three selling vehicles in America are pick-up trucks. To solve sustainable energy, we have to have a pick-up truck," Tesla's billionaire chief executive Elon Musk said while unveiling the vehicle at a media event in Los Angeles last year.

Tesla, whose Model 3 sedan is the world's top-selling electric car, first opened reservations for Cybertrucks in the US in November for $100 (Dh367).

Within a week, Mr Musk tweeted that there were 250,000 reservations for the vehicle.

Tesla said that potential Cybertruck buyers in China can also book the full self-driving (FSD) package, which is currently not available in its vehicles, for $9,000 (Dh33,030). The same package has been advertised in the US for $8,000.

It said that by reserving the FSD package for trucks now, they can protect themselves from potential price increases for the technology when it becomes commercially available.

Tesla is offering three models of Cybertrucks.

The cheapest, a single motor and rear-wheel drive version, will sell from Dh146,433 and production is expected to begin in late 2022, the company said.

The mid-range model, with a dual-motor, all-wheel drive, will be priced at Dh183,133. The top-of-the-range truck, priced at Dh256,533, will have three electric motors and all-wheel drive.

Production for dual- and tri-motor trucks will start late next year, the company said.

Tesla is yet to announce the location where the trucks will be built.

In March, Mr Musk said the company was scouting several possible locations for Cybertruck production and was planning to build them somewhere in the middle of the US.

The market for electric trucks is heating up.

GM is planning to build a family of electric pick-up trucks, due to go on sale in autumn next year. It aims to invest $8 billion by 2023 to develop electric and self-driving vehicles.

Ford is planning to sell electric versions of its popular F-150 pick-up trucks in 2022. In April last year, it invested $500 million in start-up Rivian, which is planning to build its own electric pick-up beginning later this year.

Tesla led the EV market in the third quarter of last year, taking 20 per cent of the global share, according to Hong Kong's Counterpoint. It was followed by Chinese car makers BAIC Group and BYD Auto, who held 10 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

The company’s shares have more than doubled since January 15, when they were trading at $518.50. They closed last week at $1,208.66, making it the most valuable car company in the world, valued at over $224bn.

The California-based company said it delivered nearly 88,400 vehicles in the first quarter of this year to March 31, beating expectations.

Analysts had expected about 79,900 deliveries during the period, according to a poll by FactSet, a Connecticut-based financial data and software company.

Tesla is also planning to offer an option to add solar panels to the roof of Cybertrucks that would provide a charge for about 24km per day.