Federal document reveals Tesla Cybertruck won't be cheap, but it will be heavy

The Tesla Cybertruck, at least in its first model year, will likely not be available in an inexpensive two-wheel-drive version, a document submitted to government regulators by the company said.

Federal document reveals Tesla Cybertruck won't be cheap, but it will be heavy

A document submitted by the company to regulators said that, for at least its first model, there will not be an affordable two-wheel drive version of the Tesla Cybertruck.

Document also shows that Cybertruck will be heavy, just like other electric vehicles.

This document was discovered recently on the Cybertruck message board. It is a decoder for Vehicle Identification Numbers, or VINs. Each passenger car sold in America must have a VIN. This is a string consisting of 14 letters and digits that identifies the vehicle. It is not a plate and it is attached permanently to the car. However, it can be difficult to see unless you get up close. The number appears on several parts of the vehicle. It is visible on the stamped metal plate that can be seen through the lower part of the windshield, and also on the inside frame of the driver-side door.

The VIN's last portion is a random string of numbers that identify a specific vehicle, such as a car, truck, or SUV. This allows it to be distinguished from other vehicles that look similar. The first part of the VIN contains information on the manufacturer, model, location and other details. A VIN decoder is a way for automakers to tell regulators and other parties what the letters and digits in the first two thirds of the VIN mean.

VIN decoders can tell you a lot about the plans of an automaker for a particular model by what's listed and what's not. Tesla(TSLA), in the VIN decoder for its 2024 models, reveals that it does not plan to offer a Cybertruck with two-wheel drive, at least, not during its first model year. Two-wheel drive Cybertrucks would presumably be cheaper than the four-wheel drive versions. Tesla(TSLA), in the past, has said that one will be offered as an affordable model.

Tesla states in the VIN decoder that the eight digits of a Tesla truck's VIN are a letter designating the type drive system. The letters indicate two- or three-motor versions that would be all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is achieved in Tesla vehicles and most electric cars by using one or more motors to drive the front wheels, while another one or two are used to drive the rear wheels.

No letter is listed for a Cybertruck with a single-motor, which means that this option will not be available in the 2024 model. Letters indicating the single-motor version of the Model 3 or Model Y appear in another section of the document because this option was offered and is likely to continue to be available.

The sixth number in the VIN represents the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle. The GVWR is the maximum weight that a vehicle can weigh when fully loaded, including its own weight, occupants, and cargo. The lowest listed weight range is 8001 to 9,000 lbs.

This is about 2,000 pounds more than the lowest GVWR of a Ford F-150. It's comparable to other electric pickups, like the Ford F-150 Lightning or the Rivian R1T. Electric trucks are heavier than gas-powered ones due to the heavy battery packs. This can add up to 2,000 pounds.

Tesla is not the only company that does not offer a two wheel drive electric truck. Ford and Rivian do not offer a two wheel drive version of their trucks. Tesla hasn't yet announced the price of the Cybertruck, but in the past it has stated that the least expensive version would cost $40,000 If this is the case, it would be around $10,000 less expensive than the F-150 Lightning's least expensive model and much cheaper than the Rivian R1T.

Tesla was the only automaker to offer electric trucks in the market when it first introduced the Cybertruck late 2019. Ford, General Motors, and Rivian, a start-up automaker, are now selling electric trucks. In about a years time, an electric Ram pickup will be available.

Tesla has not responded to questions emailed about the Cybertruck.

Various automakers have recently had to offer discounts on their electric vehicles in order to clear the backlog of unsold EVs at dealer lots.

Tesla CEO Elon Mohs recently acknowledged that it is difficult to profitably manufacture the Cybertruck with its flat-sided, bare metal body. It makes sense, then, that the company will not be offering the lowest priced versions at this time.

Musk stated on a recent call that it would be difficult to reach volume production of the Cybertruck, and even more challenging to make a Cybertruck cashflow positive.

Chris Isidore has contributed to this article.