Tesla's Cybertruck Unlikely to Win Over Traditional Buyers: The Kiplinger Letter

Despite the buzz over Tesla's foray into the electric truck market, its Cybertruck suffers from shortcomings that will put off many buyers.

A Tesla Cybertruck at a Tesla store in San Jose, California, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. The first Cybertruck customers will receive the vehicles during a launch event at Tesla's Austin headquarters this week. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
(Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Despite the buzz surrounding the reveal of Tesla’s polarizing pickup truck, don’t expect huge sales of the edgy, stainless-steel Cybertruck. Tesla fans are likely to drive a surge of initial orders, but winning over traditional truck buyers is going to be a tall order. 

Electric trucks generally suffer from limited driving range, especially when towing, a shortcoming Tesla does not appear to have solved. Plus, its truck’s unconventional design, made of stainless steel, will put off many buyers. Its design and construction also pose major manufacturing challenges for Tesla. Per one analyst, the Cybertruck is arguably the riskiest vehicle Tesla has attempted.

Even so, the electric truck market is already getting crowded. Ford, General Motors and Rivian have models on sale now, making Tesla something of a latecomer to the segment. 

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One coming electrified truck that might have a better shot of catching on is Ram’s plug-in hybrid Ramcharger, due in 2025. Ram is targeting a range of 145 miles on battery power before a gas engine kicks in to generate electricity. Its towing capacity is said to be up to 14,000 pounds, besting the Cybertruck’s 11,000.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Jim Patterson
Managing Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Jim joined Kiplinger in December 2010, covering energy and commodities markets, autos, environment and sports business for The Kiplinger Letter. He is now the managing editor of The Kiplinger Letter and The Kiplinger Tax Letter. He also frequently appears on radio and podcasts to discuss the outlook for gasoline prices and new car technologies. Prior to joining Kiplinger, he covered federal grant funding and congressional appropriations for Thompson Publishing Group, writing for a range of print and online publications. He holds a BA in history from the University of Rochester.