Tesla Cybertruck: Survey finds that two-thirds of respondents wouldn’t buy it

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Canaccord analyst George Gianarikas says the 33% who indicated they would buy the Cybertruck was ‘a lot better than we expected.’

A new survey finds most would not buy Tesla’s (TSLA) Cybertruck following its first delivery event where the electric truck’s details were announced, but the results might be better than thought.

According to the Canaccord Genuity team that conducted the survey, 67% of respondents answered “no” as to whether they would buy the Cybertruck after pricing and truck specifications were revealed, whereas 33% answered “yes.” Canaccord would not disclose the total number of people surveyed, but did note that it included a broad group of respondents who were not among the 2 million Cybertruck reservation holders. Currently reservation holders must put down a deposit of $250 for the EV pickup.

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“We had an incredibly robust response to our survey. It was interesting to hear that two-thirds didn’t want it and, frankly, that was a lot better than we expected,” Canaccord analyst George Gianarikas said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “Based on the discussions I’ve had individually, which have been in the hundreds, it’s the look of the vehicle that gets people excited or revolts people.”

11 November 2023, USA, Santa Clara: A vehicle from Tesla's electric pickup
A Tesla Cybertruck parked in front of a garage in Silicon Valley. (Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images) (picture alliance via Getty Images)

The survey was conducted recently after Tesla revealed pricing details for the truck, with the all-wheel drive version starting at $79,990 with 340 mile range and 600 hp, among other specifications. The top-of-the-line Cyberbeast version starts at $99,990 and includes a tri-motor setup capable of 845 hp and 320 miles of range. Tesla claims both of these versions will deliver starting in 2024.

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Interestingly, the cheapest or entry-level version of the Cybertruck is the rear-wheel drive version with a 250 mile range that will start at $60,990. Tesla did not give a horsepower or torque figure, however this version will be “available in 2025.”

It seems pricing of the entry-level version could be one of the factors most disappointing to buyers, considering when the Cybertruck was revealed in 2019 CEO Elon Musk said prices would start at $39,000. While Ford’s F-150 Lightning EV was unveiled with a similar starting price, it can still be had now for $49,995 in entry-level Pro trim, before any tax credits.

Tesla's Cybertruck order page as of 12/5/2023 (Tesla.com)
Tesla’s Cybertruck order page as of Dec. 5, 2023. (Tesla.com) (Tesla.com)

“[The Cybertruck’s] not that cheap, right? The version that’s currently available is $100,000,” Gianarikas said, but added that the “technology is going to get people excited; it’s different. The same way the iPhone was different when it first came out, it’s got incredible stuff underneath the hood so to speak.”

Gianarikas noted that the Cybertruck will be the first vehicle to move away from the auto industry’s conventional 12-volt architecture, which all cars have used since 1955. The traditional 12V system powers all onboard electrical devices like headlights, HVAC system, and windshield wipers, for instance.

Converting to a 48-volt system increases efficiency and allows electrical systems to use more power when needed. Most importantly, the wiring for a 48V system is much cheaper than 12V setup, since the cables used in a 48V system contain 85% less material than before.

In addition, the new 48V architecture allows for Tesla to use steer-by-wire technology in the Cybertruck, the first production car to ever do so. Steer-by-wire uses motors to control the front and rear wheels for steering, without the use of steering column or physical connection to the axle. The system also provides feedback to the driver through the use of the motors and allows for significantly greater ease-of-use and easier turning. The rear-wheel steering also makes the truck more nimble.

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While initial higher-priced Cybertrucks might be a turn-off to value-conscious buyers, the innovative tech and eye-catching (or polarizing) design could boost Tesla’s overall brand positioning in the market, Gianarikas said.

“You’re not going to get significant volume like the Model 3 or the Model Y, but there’s so much interesting technology there that number one, it creates a ‘halo effect,’” he said. “Over time, as the $60,000 version comes up, we think it actually will drive volume and as you can sell it globally.”

Correction: an earlier version of this story listed the all-wheel drive Cybertruck’s range at 250 miles, this has been corrected to 340.

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