Tesla hits 550,000 Cybertruck preorders despite COVID-19 impact

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Tesla introduces Cybertruck for $39,900 with a 250 mile range.
Image: Tesla

Although COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the world, the public is still very interested in Tesla’s Cybertruck. Electrek reports the automaker received around 550,000 reservations for the battery-powered light pickup, which is an increase of 50,000 from early March.

In addition, the city of Joplin, Missouri offered the manufacturer a $1 billion incentive package to build a new Gigafactory within its borders.

Cybertruck Mania

When Tesla unveiled its highly anticipated Cybertruck last November, the vehicle received a mixed reception. The electric pickup’s technical specifications impressed, but its unconventional angular design prompted a raft of online criticism. However, the public showed considerable interest in the transport as it racked up more than 200,000 preorders within days of its debut.

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Notably, the “Blade Runner” inspired vehicle has appealed to more than just everyday consumers. The Dubai Police announced plans to add a battery-powered pickup to their patrol fleet, and the Mexican city of Ciudad Valles reserved 15 Cybertrucks for use in its operations.

On March 2, Electrek reported Tesla had received around 500,000 preorders for its first truck offering. Despite the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the global economy, consumers have made an additional 50,000 or so reservations recently.

Although the deposits are fully refundable, they bolstered the firm’s cash flow and reportedly drew more people to its dealerships. If just 10 percent of the people that placed Cybertruck reservations go through with their orders, the firm will generate $2.194 billion in revenue.

Joplin Wants a Tesla Gigafactory

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Tesla said it intended to begin production on the Cybertruck in 2021. CEO Elon Musk said his firm would open a new Gigafactory to manufacture it and the Model Y, and had scouted locations in the central United States. Joplin, Missouri recently made a compelling offer to the carmaker in hopes of housing its next plant.

The city’s government launched a website hosting its pitch, which includes 50 percent off a 1,042-acre site, 12 years of 100 percent tax abatement, and a host of other state and local tax breaks and incentives.

The municipality also noted it is home to hundreds of qualified engineers and four of America’s largest trucking fleets. Moreover, officials mentioned Tesla would save $75 million on payroll if it based a Gigafactory in Joplin as opposed to Nashville, Tennessee or Austin, Texas.

Tesla Robotaxi Update

In April 2019, Musk announced Tesla would deploy a fleet of self-driving taxis as part of a ride-sharing initiative. Earlier this week, the executive put out some updates on his firm’s robotaxi project in response to some Twitter questions.

Asked when the firm’s autonomous fleet would see deployment, Musk said his cars would likely have the necessary functionality this year but regulatory approval is “the big unknown.”

The billionaire also explained his cars feature built-in cabin cameras to let owners monitor their vehicles when serving as robotaxis.

Like many manufacturers, Tesla shuttered most of its U.S. facilities in accordance with regional shelter in place orders. However, continued consumer interest in the Cybertruck, Joplin’s very attractive pitch for the next Gigafactory, and the potential of a near-term robotaxi launch suggest the company’s future is secure.

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