Tesla explains its Cybertruck exoskeleton supply strategy

(Credit: Albert C. Lee/Twitter)

Tesla has been vocal about the supply chain challenges this year due to the COVID pandemic. At the recent earnings call, Wall Street analyst Trip Chowdhry from Global Equities Research asked about the Cybertruck’s stainless steel exoskeleton supplier. 

“Who is the supplier looking at if you look at the exoskeleton steel? Is the supply for that material sufficient for immediate ramp-up, say, in ’23, ’24 time for Cybertruck?” asked Chowdhry. 

Lars Moravy, Tesla Vice President of Vehicle Engineering, answered Chowdhry’s question. He also provided some information about the Cybertruck’s development in terms of supply chain and production. 

“Yeah. Sure. So obviously, as we’ve noted in the past, we developed our own stainless-steel grade for the exterior of Cybertruck to meet both the durability and corrosion requirements required for an automotive world. With this raw material and others, as Drew mentioned, we continue to look at multiple sources,” Moravy replied. 

Previously, Teslarati reported about one Tesla steel supplier for the Cybertruck, named Steel Dynamics. The Tesla steel supplier has a facility in Texas with an estimated worth of $1.7 billion. It is located only 167 miles away from Tesla’s Gigafactory in the Lone Star State. Steel Dynamics plans to start operations at its Texas facility by the end of this year.

However, based on Moravy’s reply to Chowdhry, Tesla aims to receive steel supply from multiple vendors. 

“We have made some early sourcing decisions in that, but I think we’ll keep that one internal, and we’ve already begun the first casting-ins of that. Rolling stainless isn’t so different from pulling any other material. It’s just about how hard the rollers are to get to that hardness level. And, you know, just like every manufacturing process we put in for every new vehicle, we’ll work with our suppliers and vendors to make sure those timelines and supplies meet the need and demand of our customers,” he stated. 

Given global supply chain challenges, Tesla’s move to source supply from multiple vendors may be a good move. It is unclear when the supply chain will stabilize, even as another year passes after the height of the COVID pandemic. 

Tesla plans to start Cybertruck production once Giga Texas reaches total Model Y production capacity. Kirkhorn told investors at the earnings call that Tesla still aims to start Model Y production at Giga Texas and Giga Berlin by the end of the year. Although he tempered expectations, saying that Model Y deliveries from Tesla’s Austin and Berlin factories will not occur in 2021. 

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Tesla explains its Cybertruck exoskeleton supply strategy
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