By Akash Sriram and Hyunjoo Jin
(Reuters) -Tesla Inc has delayed production of its much-awaited Cybertruck, aiming to start in 2023, chief executive Elon Musk said on Wednesday, at a time when rivals are doubling down on efforts to capture the lucrative market.
The announcement confirms a Reuters report from earlier this month and comes as the electric-vehicle maker reported record quarterly revenue and 2022 deliveries growing more than 50%, despite supply chain issues.
Musk, who unveiled the futuristic vehicle in 2019, had already delayed its production from late 2021 until late 2022.
Tesla will prepare to launch Cybertruck, Semi and Roadster as well as its humanoid robot next year, he said.
He said additional products “would then require a bunch of attention and resources on that increased complexity of the additional product, resulting in fewer vehicles actually being delivered this year.”
Musk said he hopes to produce a quarter million Cybertrucks annually but achieving this will take time because of a lot of new technology to be introduced.
“Batteries will probably not be the limiting factor in Cybertruck production,” he said.
“I worry more about like how do we make the Cybertruck affordable despite having awesome technology,” he said.
Earlier in January, Reuters reported Tesla delayed its Cybertruck production as it changes features and functions in the face of rising competition in the electric pickup market.
Tesla, which began making electric vehicles with the premium sedan, Model S, and later introduced a more affordable car, the Model 3, has yet to launch in the highly profitable pickup truck segment currently dominated by fuel-guzzling vehicles from U.S. automakers.
Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1486143850368360448?s=20 on Tuesday he has been driving the latest Cybertruck prototype around the new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, adding: “It’s awesome”.
Ford Motor Co and Rivian Automotive have raced ahead of Tesla in launching electric pickups. Rivian has started deliveries of its R1T pickup truck, while Ford is set to start deliveries of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup in spring this year.
General Motors’ Silverado electric pickup, unveiled earlier this year, will begin production in 2023.
(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Lincoln Feast.)