neo_englishneo_english ・ Feb. 1, 2024
Tesla's Cybertruck Mania in China
Why can't consumers in China buy the Cybertruck? Despite or because of that, the first day of the exhibition witnessed an influx of 77,000 people into the hall.


Cybertruck finally meets Chinese spectators after its release in 2019

BEIJING, February 1 (TMTPost) -- Crowds gathered outside the Tesla store in Huamao Place, Beijing, curious to see the futuristic Cybertruck. Not allowed to cross the fence, the spectators vied for the best view from all directions outside the fence.

Tesla's off-road adventure vehicle, made its debut in China. Even passersby couldn't help but be drawn to the scene. They would pause, take out their phones to capture the moment, and some even joined the lottery activities, creating a lively atmosphere on the spot.

Spectators included those who drove two or three hundred kilometers from Tianjin or Shijiazhuang and customers who had previously placed orders in North America, according to a Tesla staff member.

With no set price nor release date, a future pickup truck which is currently not available in China, has unexpectedly sparked unprecedented enthusiasm in these recent days.

After Five Years, Cybertruck is Still Trending

"Getting Cybertruck road legal in China would be very difficult, but we could ship some prototypes over for display," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on X, formerly Twitter, in mid-January.

Tesla Cybertruck officially kicked off its eight-city tour in China on Sunday, including Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Xi'an, and Chongqing. According to information obtained by the TMTPost App, this exhibition is expected to last for about six months.

To relieve the pressure of the bustling crowd at the exhibition, Tesla divided the venue into VIP and regular channels. The former had fewer people, but attendees needed to pre-book with Tesla sales to get tickets and they could take a photo with the Cybertruck. The regular channel did not require reservations, and all visitors could participate in the drawing game.

Cybertruck's debut in China

On-site staff mentioned that the first day of the exhibition witnessed the highest attendance, with a foot traffic of 77,000 people in the mall. The exhibition started around ten a.m., but many people had already started queuing before eight a.m.. The queue remained consistently above 100 people throughout the morning.

According to the staff, the majority of the early viewers of the Cybertruck were Tesla's existing car owners or fans.

However, "young fans" also made up a significant proportion of the spectators. Children often gathered around the Cybertruck, asking their parents questions. Many parents mentioned that they had previously purchased the official Cybertruck miniature model.

Through activities like taking photos and drawing game, Tesla successfully made its mark by grabbing the audience's curiosity, and reignited its unprecedented popularity in China.

"Why Can't We Buy the Cybertruck in China?"

"Capable of withstanding apocalyptic disasters," "Able to travel on the surface of planets," "Inspired by the science fiction movie 'Blade Runner.'" Those are comments about the highly anticipated product. The Cybertruck has whetted the consumer's appetite since its release in 2019.

Franz von Holzhausen, the Cybertruck's designer, smashed the windows with a metal ball in 2019 caused a sensation on the internet and the memorable scene is still talked about years later. Through this tour, the Cybertruck,  like a top-tier star in the entertainment industry, brought massive attention to Tesla.

However, not long ago, Musk openly admitted that it would be very difficult to legalize the Cybertruck on Chinese roads. The majority of on-site visitors expressed varying degrees of regret and confusion about this.

So why can't the Cybertruck be road-legal in China?

In fact, China has not completely lifted restrictions on pickup truck models according to its policies. Currently, pickups in China are classified as light-duty trucks, with significant differences in scrapping regulations and road rights compared to regular passenger cars. In China, pickups will be scrapped after 15 years  and they are prohibited from traveling in core areas in many large cities.

In China, the Cybertruck is not referred to subjectively as the "Cybertruck" but rather as the "Cyber Off-Road Adventure Vehicle." Salespeople explained to TMTPost that it is a preparation for future sales in China.

In addition, the Cybertruck is made of stainless steel, which boosts the durability of the body and is touted as “bullet resistant.” However, the problem is that this super-hardened design may not be conducive to pedestrian safety in the event of an accident.

In many countries including China, pedestrian safety is a crucial consideration in car design. The outer body of a car must be able to deform to some extent to absorb the impact force during a collision and protect pedestrians. In comparison, the rigid shell of the Cybertruck may not deform easily in a collision, potentially increasing the risk of injury to pedestrians or other vehicles.

The various sharp edges on the exterior, while cool, may also become a safety hazard on the road. Tesla's chief engineer has mentioned that it is challenging for the Cybertruck to obtain approval in Europe because its external protrusions may not easily comply with EU safety regulations regarding pedestrian protection.attention but inadequate production capacities

Inadequate Production Capacity

In fact, Tesla currently has 2 million Cybertruck orders in hand. In its recently released Q4 2023 earnings report, Tesla said that the annual production capacity for the Cybertruck in the next year would be only 125,000 units, meaning Tesla will struggle to fulfill existing orders.

Tesla's goal is to produce 250,000 Cybertrucks annually by 2025. It took five years for Cyvertruck to achieve delivery since its initial release, but ramping up mass production is the more severe challenge that Tesla now faces.

Even Musk himself has said that it’s hard to manufacture Cybertruck.

"Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb," Musk wrote in an email to employees last August. He demanded that all parts, whether provided by internal or external suppliers, must meet an accuracy of single-digit micrometers.

In addition to the body, the 4680 battery is also dragging down the Cybertruck's production capacity. Tesla has not announced plans for the Cybertruck to use other battery models. According to the goal of producing 250,000 Cybertrucks annually by 2025, these vehicles will require 250 million 4680 batteries each year. Compared to the huge demand, Tesla's current annual battery production capacity of 31.2 million falls far short.

In Tesla's earnings call last October, Musk once again mentioned the challenges that Cybertuck faces, saying, "there will be enormous challenges in reaching volume production with the Cybertruck and in making the Cybertruck cash-flow positive." 

Currently, it is unclear about the specific delivery status of the Cybertruck. However, if Tesla can overcome the massive production challenges caused by the new design and materials of the Cybertuck, it is likely to emerge as a dark horse once again in the electric pickup truck field.

This Cybertruck tour has once again propelled Tesla's popularity to a climax, bringing significant publicity to Tesla in China. However, a question mark over the entry of Cybertruck, which cannot into Chinese and European market, lingers.

(This article was first published on the TMTPost App, Author | Chang Xiao, Editor | Zhang Min)

Related Posts
China's Merchants Trapped in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
China's Merchants Trapped in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
From Big Tech to AI Startups: Chinese Tech Veterans Resign to Hop on the ChatGPT Bandwagon
From Big Tech to AI Startups: Chinese Tech Veterans Resign to Hop on the ChatGPT Bandwagon
A Long Journey Home in Electric Vehicle
A Long Journey Home in Electric Vehicle
Through the Eyes of a Restaurant Equipment “Broker”
Through the Eyes of a Restaurant Equipment “Broker”
Chinese Youth Returning to Home Village in a New Wave
Chinese Youth Returning to Home Village in a New Wave
2022 World Cup: A Good Season for Chinese Suppliers and Sponsors
2022 World Cup: A Good Season for Chinese Suppliers and Sponsors

  • Subscribe To Our News