Tesla’s Earnings Call for Q4 and Full Year 2021 was its most impressive in history from a financial standpoint. After accomplishing its second profitable year of operations with a healthy automotive gross margin and above-consensus reports of production and delivery figures, Tesla activated bullish commentary across the board from many analysts and firms. However, the most anticipated portion of the call for some was Musk’s promise to update Tesla’s “Product Roadmap,” which revealed that “Cybertruck, Semi, Roadster, [and] Optimus” will not come until 2023 at the earliest.
“So, we will not be introducing new vehicle models this year,” Musk said on the call. “It would not make any sense because we’ll still be parts constrained.” Global supply chain issues have plagued much of the automotive industry. Tesla, interestingly, has been the one company that has seemingly defied all odds and avoided increasing wait times for even the most standard of parts. However, the company is not immune to the shortages, and 2022 will not be a year where Tesla introduces any new vehicles, including the Cybertruck, which was recently rumored to be pushed back to 2023.
It seems that reports were correct, and Tesla will not enter any explicit production phases of the Cybertruck, nor any of the other models Musk mentioned this year. The Roadster, Semi, and $25,000 rumored vehicle will not enter production any time during 2022. This does not mean that Tesla will not be developing them, however.
“We will, however, do a lot of engineering and tooling, whatnot to create those vehicles: Cybertruck, Semi, Roadster, Optimus, and be ready to bring those to production hopefully next year. That is most likely,” Musk added. He also indicated that the Tesla Bot, which is inching toward the name “Optimum Sub-Prime,” will be Tesla’s “most important product development” of 2022. “This, I think, has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time.”
While some (including myself) are frustrated with timeline delays, it is important to remember Tesla cannot control global supply constraints. While the company is super vertically-integrated, it cannot build its entire vehicles itself and has to receive some of its parts from third-party suppliers. This has limited Tesla’s ability to offer certain powertrains and has pushed back delivery dates on some currently offered models.
What about models that have been in Tesla’s pipeline for several years? The Cybertruck had an initial production date of late 2021 for the Tri-Motor powertrain. Now, the Tri-Motor will not even be the premier trim, according to Musk himself, who said a Quad-Motor variant would be the first Cybertruck model produced at Gigafactory Texas.
Tesla’s uber-affordable $25,000 model will also not be coming anytime soon, although he confirmed it. “Well, we’re not currently working on the — on a $25,000 car. We — you know, at some point, we will, but we have enough on our plate right now, too much on our plate, frankly. So, you know, at some point, there will be.”
The Q4 2021 Earnings Call really told us all one thing: the good stuff is coming next year. This year will be a year of surviving the supply chain shortage, which Musk also stated would last through this year. “So — in 2022, supply chain will continue to be the fundamental limiter of output across all factories. So the chip shortage, while better than last year, is still an issue.” After Tesla works through short-term issues with the supply chain bottlenecks, the company’s longer-term projects can move forward, bringing more groundbreaking and innovative electric vehicles to the market.
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