New evidence points to Tesla’s intention to not launch a more-affordable, single-motor, rear-wheel-drive variant of the Tesla Cybertruck, at least for the introductory 2024 model year.
The single-motor Tesla Cybertruck was originally announced as a lower-cost option priced at $39,990 back in 2019, but as with many affordable EV plans across the industry, it appears to have been dropped at least temporarily and perhaps permanently.
Now, Cybertruck Owner’s Club has ferreted out Tesla Cybertruck VIN decoder information indicating that the cheaper, single-motor pickup will not be included in the 2024 model year lineup. The eighth digit in the VINs for the year, which indicates motor, drive unit, and braking system, has letter codes only for “Dual Motor – Standard” and “Triple Motor – Performance” variants of the Cybertruck (D and E codes).
While unconfirmed, moderators of the forum page also drew attention to the two weight classes indicated by the 2024 VIN codes. The sixth digit of the VIN can be G, indicating a Class G truck weighing 8,001 to 9,000 pounds, or H for a Class H a truck weighing in at 9,001 to 10,000 pounds. Speculatively, these weight classes were associated with the dual-motor Standard and triple-motor Performance trims respectively.
Confirmation that the under-$40,000, single-motor Tesla Cybertruck is vaporware, at least for 2024, is unsurprising in light of known EV market dynamics. Elon Musk already strongly hinted the low-end Cybertruck would probably not see the light of day back in a 2022 interview. At that time, Musk said “specs and pricing will be different” for the truck on release and that he hated “to sort of give a little bit of bad news.”
GM followed a rather similar path of dropping initial promises for an affordable EV pickup with the Chevy Silverado EV. Initially it claimed a $39,900 Work Truck (WT) trim was in the works. However, The General later changed its position to say the cheapest available Chevy Silverado EV would cost somewhere in the $50,000 range, at least $10,000 more than the original price estimate.
The pattern repeated with a third automaker when Ford announced a $39,974 base trim level for its Ford F-150 Lightning battery-electric pickup. Like the rest of the lineup, the base Lightning was to have the four-door Super Crew body configuration only with a 5.5-foot standard length bed. The next cheapest variant, the XLT, would start at $52,974.
In the event, the base Pro trim quickly saw its price climb to $55,974, while the XLT’s base MSRP rose to $63,474. The Pro’s price soon increased again, rising $4,000 at the end of March 2023 to reach $59,974. In July, Ford dropped the base price of the F-150 Lightning Pro to $49,995 as the automaker cut production and battery material costs, but the price remained well above the sub-$40,000 mark originally touted.
Tesla Cybertruck production is currently under way, having kicked off in July after several delays. The first trucks are expected to be delivered starting on November 30th, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.