Tesla CEO Elon Musk pits his brand new Cybertruck against a Porsche 911

After years of missed deadlines, production challenges and steadily mounting anticipation, Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report finally completed the very first deliveries of its alien-looking Cybertruck in a launch event livestreamed exclusively on X Thursday afternoon. 

“Once in a long while, a product comes along that is rare,” Musk, speaking half in shadow from the trunk of a Cybertruck, said. “Once every five to 10 years, something really special, a really unusual product comes along. We all remember those special moments. But these things are rare.”

Experts, Musk said, had called the product “impossible.” 

“It’s the most unique thing on the road,” he said. “Finally, the future will look like the future.”

Related: Key Tesla investor says latest launch could be a big boon for the brand

The truck, Musk said, has 11,000 pounds of towing capacity. The Ford F-150 Lightning, in comparison, has a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. And the combustion version of the F-150 has a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds.

“What we’re aiming for here is something that’s a better truck than a truck and a better sports car than a sports car,” Musk said. 

The truck is entirely bulletproof, something Musk evidenced by showing a video of a Cybertruck on the receiving end of a variety of gunfire. Musk said that the metal that makes up the truck “did not exist before.” 

It’s a smooth and quiet ride, he said. Because of the truck’s low center of gravity, it doesn’t “roll over,” Musk said. 

“If you’re ever in an argument with another car, you will win.”

Before officially delivering the vehicle, Musk demonstrated the “sports car” aspect of the truck, showing a video of the truck in a quarter-mile race against a Porsche 911. 

In the video, the Cybertruck — which was towing another Porsche 911 — won. 

The truck, Tesla said, goes 0-60 in 2.6 seconds. 

Musk, however, did not mention the pricing of the truck, something that customers and investors have long been awaiting more information on. 

After the event concluded, Tesla’s website was updated to show starting prices of $$49,890 for the rear-wheel drive, $68,890 for the all-wheel drive and $96,390 for the “Cyberbeast.”  

The truck first debuted with a price tag of $40,000, though analysts were expecting the truck to start within a range of $50,000 and $80,000. 

Related: Tesla bulls and bears agree on one important point

Investor expectations headed into the launch event: ‘Trophy case moment’

Shares of Tesla fell close to 2% in the hour before the Cybertruck launch event began, with a mix of investors noting cautious optimism about the impact Cybertruck might have on the company. 

Gary Black, managing partner at The Future Fund, said Monday that he expects the launch of Cybertruck to create a “halo effect” that will drive sales across Tesla’s suite of vehicles. 

“History doesn’t repeat but it often rhymes,” he said, noting the way that Tesla’s 2020 launch of the Model Y stimulated sales of its Model 3 vehicle. 

Earlier Thursday, Black called the launch “probably the biggest event in Tesla history.” 

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives echoed Black’s sentiments in calling the event a “historical day for Musk and Tesla.”

With an estimated two million reservations for the vehicle, Ives said that even at a 40% conversation rate, the truck should take a fair chunk of the light truck market away from its current legacy auto leaders. 

“I think it’s going to be another trophy case moment,” Ives said. 

But not everyone is feeling all that positive about the vehicle. 

Hey… @elonmusk… so the Cybertruck had 2mn orders, yet there are only ~108K people watching this event? Hmmm… seems the numbers don’t add up?

— Gordon Johnson (@GordonJohnson19) November 30, 2023

During Tesla’s third-quarter earnings call, Musk himself said that it will likely take between 12 and 18 months for the vehicle to become profitable, warning investors of issues with production and scalability. 

“We dug our own grave with Cybertruck,” he said during the call. “The ramp is going to be extremely difficult. There’s no way around that.”

Cathie Wood, one of Tesla’s most prominent bulls, said recently that in light of those expected profitability and scalability issues, the company is likely headed for a “volatile period.”

The Cybertruck, according to Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, is “likely a niche product; it’s not a make-or-break car for the company.” 

Musk first announced the Cybertruck in 2019. 

Bloomberg/Getty Images

Sacconaghi told CNBC Thursday that he expects gross margins on the vehicle will be around zero, meaning that on an operating basis, Tesla will be losing money on every Cybertruck they sell. 

“I think it really depends on where demand is and where Tesla settles on price,” he said. 

Deepwater’s Gene Munster, who warned in mid-November that the production ramp for Cybertruck will likely be “pretty bad,” noted two main pressure points behind the potential success of the vehicle: price and its utility function as a work truck. 

“I think the product is going to be a smashing success,” he said at the time. “I think this is really going to capture people’s attention.”

Contact Ian with tips via email, ian.krietzberg@thearenagroup.net, or Signal 732-804-1223.

Related: Investors have finally had enough of Tesla CEO Elon Musk

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